7 Damaging Misconceptions About Florida Estate Planning

In Florida Estate planning is an incredibly misunderstood process. Some of the misconceptions about this area of the law would even be considered comedic if they did not have the potential to be so damaging.

Unfortunately, estate planning misconceptions pervade our society, and they are detrimental to your wealth, your wishes, and your loved ones. Below we have outlined seven particularly damaging misconceptions about estate planning:

Misconception #1 – Estate planning is only for the elderly

Many people believe that you only need to draft a will or plan your estate if you are elderly. However, take one look at auto accident statistics in the US and then decide how confident you feel that you won’t have to worry about an estate plan until you are older. Accidents happen every day, and young people have assets and loved ones just as seniors do. Additionally, proper estate planning goes far beyond simply distributing your assets. Which brings us to the next misconception…

Misconception #2 – Estate planning is only for the rich

“I don’t have enough assets to worry about estate planning,” you might say. This could not be further from the truth. Estate planning is not just about your assets, though, chances are you probably have more assets that must be administered than you realize. There are vital aspects of the estate planning process, such as creating a durable power of attorney that designates an agent to handle your financial or medical affairs in case you are ever incapacitated. There is also the Living Will which allows you to designate your wishes with regard to end of life treatment. Estate planning is vital and beneficial for people in every tax bracket.

Misconception #3 – Estate planning’s only purpose is to avoid probate

See the misconception we just discussed above. Estate planning covers much more than just your assets. While you can use estate planning tools to help keep certain assets out of the probate process, some aspects of your estate may need to be administered through probate. Estate planning is much more complex than a simple probate-avoidance tool.

Misconception #4 – You can set it and forget it

Just about every document in your estate plan should be a living document. In other words, you cannot simply create your will and never think about it again. Our lives can change in an instant, and your estate plan should be constantly updated to reflect your current circumstances.

Misconception #5 – You can trust your family to figure things out when you die

This is not only untrue, it is unfair to your loved ones. By neglecting to create a thorough estate plan, you are putting your family in the sensitive and difficult position of deciding for themselves who gets what, or who acts in what role. This can lead to conflicts that have the potential to tear loved ones apart for good. It is much better to have a plan in place so that even if your loved ones are angry about your wishes, their anger is directed at someone who is no longer around rather than loved ones who are still living.

Misconception #6 – If you have a surviving spouse, he or she will get everything when you die

While your surviving spouse may be entitled to any joint marital assets, all of your assets are probably not considered joint. You likely have some separate assets, whether obtained prior to marriage or otherwise, that your spouse technically does not own. He or she will not automatically be entitled to inherit these assets when you die.  And if you either you or your spouse have descendants from a prior relationship, the entire equation can change drastically!  

Misconception #7 – It’s easy to do it yourself

With the advent of online companies like LegalZoom that provide cheap templates for legal documents, many people believe that they can handle their estate planning on their own. Or worse yet, they believe that they can simply write some of their wishes down on a napkin or a piece of paper and sign it and expect it to serve as a Last Will and Testament. Florida estate planning is an incredibly complex and nuanced process, and templates are not specific to your unique goals and needs. There is far too much at stake to do it yourself if you are not a trained professional. You should always utilize the services of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

If you are interested in getting started with the process of protecting your loved one’s future financial security along with your legacy, please give the Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A. a call today.

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

3 Essential Tools For Business Estate Planning
3 Reasons To Review Your Estate Planning Now
Avoid The High Cost Of Bad Estate Planning
Business Succession: An Important Part Of Your Estate Planning
Customized Estate Plan
Diy Estate Planning: Is It Worth The Risks?
Does Your Estate Plan Need An Annual Checkup?
Estate Planning 101: Five Essential Steps In Creating A Living Trust
Estate Planning 101: How To Have Difficult Conversations With Your Loved Ones
Estate Planning 101: If You Own Firearms, Consider Creating A Gun Trust
Estate Planning 101: The Advantages And Disadvantages Of An Irrevocable Trust
Estate Planning Basics: Why Avoiding Probate Is Preferable
Estate Planning Beyond The Will: The Importance Of Powers Of Attorney
Estate Planning For Business Owners
Estate Planning For Parents Of Children With Disabilities: Six Key Issues To Consider
Estate Planning: 3 Tips To Help You Begin
Estate Planning: Do You Have A Plan For Your Digital Assets?
Estate Planning: It’s Never Too Early To Begin
Estate Planning: Understanding The Role Of Executor
Four Disastrous Estate Planning Mistakes To Avoid
High Net-Worth Estate Planning: 5 Potential Methods To Help Minimize Estate Tax Liability
How Divorce Affects Your Estate Plans
Isn’t Estate Planning For The Elderly Or The Ultra Wealthy?
New Year’s Resolution – Time To Update My Estate Plan
Secure Your Legacy: Five Often Overlooked Questions That Must Be Answered By Your Estate Plan
Top Estate Planning Excuses
What Are Some Of The Most Effective Estate Planning Strategies For Asset Preservation?
What To Bring When You Meet With Your Estate Planning Attorney
Why Do I Need To Hire An Estate Planning Attorney?

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.