I often hear some of the below reasons when broaching the subject of estate planning.
- “I can just use a form from the internet to do a simple will, I don’t need an attorney”
- “I don’t really care what happens to my stuff when I die”
- “My [kids, grandkids, parents, siblings, spouse, etc.] will never fight over my stuff”
- “It’s too complicated getting attorneys involved”
- “My family knows what I want to do with my assets”
- “I have beneficiary accounts, I don’t need to worry about an estate”
- “Estate planning is only for the super wealthy”
- “I’m too young, I’ve got plenty of time to decide later”
The truth is, that all of the above are not accurate. I will take to debunk all the myths above.
“I can just use a form from the internet to do a simple will, I don’t need an attorney”
This is a recipe for disaster. First, a Will is only one of many documents than an estate plan requires. And while not each person needs every single document, only an estate planning attorney can assess which documents are needed in each individual case. Second, estate documents (including Wills) are very intimate documents. They dictate a persons last wishes, an incredibly vulnerable time of a persons life. These wishes are specific to each person, and are not boiler-plate. If not properly written and executed according to Florida law, estate plans become highly contested resulting in multiple people deciphering what the drafted intended. Estate plans are routinely litigated for years as to their meaning and effect, specifically when they are poorly drafted and/or improperly executed.
Too often people think they can cut corners when it comes to their estate documents. But in reality, you will save yourself and your family tons of money, emotional distress, and heartache in the long-run, if you hire an attorney to ensure that your estate plan is executed properly and effectively.
“I don’t really care what happens to my stuff when I die”
The deceased generally don’t care, because they are deceased and they no longer have a need for their material possessions. The estate plan is not only for the benefit of the drafter, the estate plan is in large part for the benefit of their family, friends, loved ones, charities, pets, and any other living creature who is left to deal with the aftermath of death. An estate plan can ensure that your loved ones do not have to deal with any intimate decisions while they grieve their loss. An estate plan can ensure that your young children have proper care with the persons of your choosing. An estate plan can ensure that your favorite religious leader conducts your funeral. An estate plan can ensure that anything you left behind gets discarded. An estate plan can give a sliver of peace to the people you leave behind.
“My [kids, grandkids, parents, siblings, spouse, friends, etc.] will never fight over my stuff”
They will. Don’t put them in a position where their grief over their loss creates anger which results in losing each other. Allow your legacy and your memory to continue living through them.
“It’s too complicated getting attorneys involved”
Sometimes it is. An attorney might tell you that you need more than you initially thought. An attorney will comb through all of your things to ensure that every angle is covered. An attorney will ask a lot of questions, that might make you uncomfortable. But that all means you have a great attorney who is ensuring that all of your needs are met, that your wishes will be carried out, that your family and friends will be taken care of properly, and that your documents are effective and tailored to your needs.
“My family knows what I want to do with my assets”
They don’t. It is simply impossible to communicate with each and every family member and friend so effectively that they will all understand your wishes in the same exact way. It is also impossible for grieving family and friends to be expected to remember your intimate wishes, when they are distraught with loss.
“I have beneficiary accounts, I don’t need to worry about an estate”
The simple fact of naming a beneficiary to an account, does not in and of itself mean that the account will distribute to the beneficiary without requiring a probate administration. Without a thorough review by an attorney of the type of accounts a person holds, it is impossible to determine which estate planning documents will be required.
“Estate planning is only for the super wealthy”
This is simply not true. Unfortunately, everyone dies. And everyone dies owning “things”. And everyone dies leaving people behind. An estate plan is not only for the distribution of wealth, it is a series of documents to ensure that your end of life wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are left with some closure. It is also a plan to ensure that your legacy lives on, through the people, pets and organizations that you leave behind.
“I’m too young, I’ve got plenty of time to decide later”
Even more unfortunate than the fact that we all die, is the sad truth that sometimes people die unexpectedly and prematurely. Often estate planning is associated with elder law, but the reality is that estate planning is essential for young people as well. Whether you are single and at the beginning of your adulthood, or if you are a young married couple with children – an estate plan is just another form of insurance.
Call me today to discuss your options at (561) 600-8843; or book an appointment right from this website.