Busting Common Myths About Estate Planning

You may be following the news on the artist Prince's estate or you may wonder how to put your own affairs in order. Whatever captures your attention at this time related to estate planning, it is helpful to be aware of — and steer clear of — common myths about estates and estate planning.

Knowledge is power, as they say. Understanding what will happen to your assets in the future is part of building a legacy. The estate planning law firm of Wayne P. Marsh, PLC, in Sun City, helps Arizonans recognize and correct wrong notions such as:

Estate planning is for the elderly. Not only for them! Adults of all ages should acknowledge the value of estate planning. If we consult age-of-death statistics provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services for 2014, we can see substantial numbers of deaths listed for people in all age groups. The most common ages of death that year were between 70 and 90 (as we might expect): almost 9,000 people died in their 70s, and more than 11,000 people died in their 80s. However, large numbers also die in younger age brackets every year. More than 1,000 Arizonans died in their 30s in 2014. More than 2,000 died in their 40s, and almost 5,000 died in their 50s. It may be uncomfortable to consider the possibility of an early death, but this is many people's reality.

Estate planning is for the wealthy. It is true that people with complex asset portfolios have more details to consider in their estate plans. However, it is just as important for people of more modest means to prepare for the inevitable. Middle-class people are often concerned about health care choices in old age or in case of a terminal illness. They typically hope to pass on unused funds from retirement accounts to their children and/or preferred charities. A will (and one or more trusts, if appropriate) can make the decedent's wishes legally binding.

You can't take it with you, so you don't need to worry about estate planning. Keep in mind that the state of Arizona has a plan for distribution of your assets if you do not leave a will or establish a trust. You may not agree with the standard intestate inheritance plan according to state laws.

A do-it-yourself will from the internet will do just fine. Trying to create your own will may be one of the worst ideas. It is too easy for amateurs to make mistakes that can nullify fill-in-the-blank wills or handwritten instructions. Talk to an estate planning lawyer about sensible, affordable options that can prevent legal and practical troubles for your family after your death.

No one in your family would possibly bring a will contest against another family member. Many people find it hard to imagine that their children — or children and a second spouse — or brothers and sisters — or designated nonprofit beneficiary and family members — would actually take each other to court to fight over assets after their death. Yet this happens every day somewhere in Arizona. Remove burdens from the next generation by putting a solid estate plan in place.

Request A Consultation With An Attorney To Replace Myths With Truth

Take advantage of a free initial consultation at Wayne P. Marsh, PLC, to learn about cost-effective ways to protect your assets for the next generation according to your wishes. He can meet with you in a satellite office near your Valley location. Call 623-688-5128 or 888-251-5153 (toll free) or email us to inquire.