Unfortunately, people often harbor misconceptions about certain aspects of the estate planning process. This can often yield very negative outcomes, and family members are forced to deal with the fallout.
In this post, we will look at some inheritance planning myths in an effort to help you steer clear of these mistakes.
DIY estate planning is the way that it’s done these days.
It is true that there are websites out there that sell legal documents, including last wills. They guide you through a fill in the blanks process, and that’s all there is to it–or so the story goes.
There is no law against doing this, and it is possible that the document that you produce would be legally binding. Whether or not is going to effectively facilitate the asset transfers in accordance with your true wishes is anybody’s guess.
Several years ago, Consumer Reports conducted an interesting study. They engaged three prominent legal professors to examine last wills that were created by staffers using tools that were sold by three major legal document purveyors.
The veteran attorneys found flaws, and they stated that unintended consequences could come about when laypeople use these boilerplate notions. After weighing all of the input, the long-trusted consumer publication advised against DIY estate planning.
Your family will get inheritances really quickly if you use a will rather than a trust.
This is totally false. A will must be admitted to probate, which is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of a court. It will typically take at least eight months to a year, and this is if there are no complications.
With a living trust, probate is not a factor, so the inheritors can easily receive their inheritances in a much more timely fashion.
You can wait until you are a senior citizen to plan your estate.
It is true that you will have a more thorough understanding of exactly where you stand when you reach your senior years. But the truth is, estate planning is important for all responsible adults.
If you step back and think about it objectively, it could be argued that estate planning is more important for younger adults than it is for their older counterparts.
How could this be so?
The children of people who are in their 60s and older are adults in their own right. They can take care of themselves, but this cannot be said about the children of people who are younger.
Estate planning is an ongoing process, and it starts when people start to depend on you. As time goes on, the initial plan that you put in place to protect your young family is going to require adjustments.
The state takes care of everything if you die without a will or a trust.
If you die without any estate planning documents, the condition of intestacy would exist. The state would indeed sort everything out, but this is an outcome that you really want to avoid at all costs.
Under the laws of the state of Kansas, the probate court would take control. A personal representative would be appointed to act as the estate administrator, and the process would get underway in earnest.
After final debts are paid and any contests that arise are ironed out, the court would instruct the personal representative to distribute your assets under the intestate succession rules. People who you would never have left out could be disinherited at this stage.
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