Most of us spend a lot of time preparing for the future. We attend college to secure jobs, save money to buy a home and tour potential schools to send our children to. Yet we often skip one of the best ways to plan for the future – which is by estate planning.
Estate planning allows you to give specific instructions on what would happen to your property, healthcare and children if you were injured, became ill or passed away. But only about 40% of Americans have a will or other type of estate planning document. On top of that, only 35% of Generation Xers and 20% of millennials have a will.
While many adults in their 30s and 40s have yet to create an estate plan, some of the most commonly cited reasons for this are actually misconceptions. Here are several common estate planning myths debunked:
Estate planning is too complicated and expensive.
You may have questions about estate planning, but an experienced attorney can walk you through your estate planning documents. And while hiring an attorney may be spendy at the time, it can certainly be worth it in the long run.
For example, imagine you went into a coma as the result of a car accident, and left a child behind. There would be a lot of questions to answer. Who would take care of your child? What would happen to your money? Who would pay your bills?
Without an estate plan, these questions would need to be answered in court. Figuring it out in court could be a costly process – and one that’d you have no say in. Estate planning documents can ensure that your wishes for the future are carried out in a situation like this.
Estate planning is more important for sick, elderly or rich people.
You might feel more pressure to create a plan if you fit into one of these demographics. But estate planning is for everyone. Even if you have limited assets and property, you likely want a say in who inherits them. And if you have young children, an estate plan can help protect their future by allowing you to assign guardianship.
It’s best practice to create an estate plan now, despite your age, marital status or number of belongings. It’s important to be prepared for anything, even if you’re young and healthy.
Estate planning is a one-time process.
You can revisit your estate plan whenever you want – and it’s important to do so whenever there are big changes in your life. Perhaps you get divorced or move to another state. These are events that you may want to account for in your plan.
Knowing that you can always change your estate plan is another reason that it’s not necessary to wait until later in life to create one.
Creating an estate plan is a successful way of protecting your loved ones – and yourself – in the future. It’s truly for everyone. Because you can always make changes to your plan, you should consider starting the process of estate planning today.