Many Florida residents hesitate to engage in estate planning because they believe in certain myths associated with the process. Anyone who is at least 18 years old18 years can benefit from planning their estate. The estate planning process is customized, meaning that documents may be added or omitted according to individual goals.
Dispelling several common myths about estate planning may help to understand its importance. Laws vary from state to state. It’s important to understand applicable laws in Florida before executing an estate plan.
Busting 4 of the most common estate planning myths
There are several myths about estate planning:
Myth # 1: Married people do not need an estate plan because spouses inherit all assets when their partner dies.
Facts: One spouse might die before the other, which would then cause an estate to become intestate, meaning state intestacy laws would control how that spouse’s assets will be distributed.
Myth #2: If someone informs family members of his or her estate plan wishes, there’s no need for an estate plan.
Facts: If an adult child steps in to make financial or medical decisions on a parent’s behalf due to incapacity, such authority will not necessarily be recognized if there is no power of attorney in place. Regarding inheritance, family disputes often arise when a parent dies without having executed a last will and testament.
Myth #3: Estate planning is only for senior citizens.
Facts: Anyone 18 or older is entitled to execute an estate plan, regardless of net worth. An individual need not be retirement age nor must he or she be married or own a home, etc., to initiate an estate plan.
Myth #4: Once estate planning documents are signed, they cannot be changed.
Facts: On the contrary, it’s best to periodically review an estate plan to check whether updates are needed. Most estate planning documents can be changed, provided the estate owner is of sound mind and not under duress.
The estate planning process isn’t only for the wealthy either. In fact, someone might have assets that are primarily sentimental in value but still want to specify who should inherit them. An estate plan can help accomplish those goals.