Many people in Washington fail to understand the importance of estate planning. This is partly due to common estate planning myths that have been circulating for the past few decades. Here are some of the most common myths that you might have encountered already.
What are some common estate planning myths?
Writing your will is commonly seen as a task for adults nearing retirement age. However, any adult should think about writing their will, whether they’re 21 or 60. In fact, writing a will can be even more important when you’re a young adult, particularly if you have children. Your will can dictate how to divide your assets and who will be the guardian of your underage children. Without a will, a judge will ultimately decide their fate.
Some people realize the importance of estate planning, but they don’t realize that it doesn’t end when you write your will. You’ll also need to choose someone for power of attorney, select a health care proxy, write a living will and complete other tasks. Without these components, you’ll have little control over your own finances and medical care if you’re ever incapacitated.
You should also realize that you don’t have total control over all your assets, even if they’re mentioned in your will. You can only divide up assets that are in your name. If you have a joint bank account with your spouse, you don’t have the power to give that asset to another person after your death. Additionally, named beneficiaries will override anything in your will. For example, if you name your spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, the policy will go to them even if your will says something different.
When should you think about hiring an attorney?
It’s best to hire an attorney as soon as you start thinking about planning your estate. If you try to do it on your own at first, you could end up making mistakes that could cause legal issues for your family members. It’s better to work with an attorney from the beginning so that you can write a legally binding will.