The estate planning process involves a number of different facets, including matters that the typical layperson may not consider. When you know the facts you understand why certain courses of action are recommended by estate planning and elder law attorneys.
On the other hand, when you harbor misplaced notions you may fail to act or take incorrect courses of action. With this in mind we would like to highlight two misplaced notions that can lead to negative consequences.
Incapacity Is Unlikely
You may feel as though it is unlikely that you will ever become unable to make your own decisions. If you feel this way you should ask yourself if you expect to live until you are at least 65.
If you say yes to the above, and you are correct and you do reach the age of 65, it is likely that you will live to the age of 80 at minimum.
Alzheimer's disease is very common among the elderly. 13% of those who are 65 years of age and older have Alzheimer's, and if you confine the sample to those 85 and up you are looking at a figure of 45%.
Given the likelihood of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, having durable powers of attorney naming agents to act on your behalf the event of your incapacity is important. Having a living trust is an even better plan.
I Don't Need a Trust
There are those who don't even consider the possibility of creating a living trust because they feel as though trusts are for very wealthy people. Of course, wealthy individuals and families should have a living trust at a minimum, but even those with modest means can benefit.
Living trusts are used to facilitate asset transfers outside of probate. Probate is the process of estate administration, and because it is done through the courts, it is time-consuming and often costly. If you create a living trust your heirs will receive their inheritances in a timely manner because these transfers are not subject to the probate process.