Popular Estate Planning Misconceptions

November 16, 2011

There are a number of misconceptions about estate planning that are simply not true. One of them involves the notion that the estate tax only applies to the "rich." First of all, how is the word "rich" being defined in this context? Multi-billionaires may easily fit this description. However, would you consider yourself rich if you and your spouse accumulated say $2 million over the course of your lives, including any inheritances you may have received? Most people would say no, but if you had an estate valued at $2 million and you took no estate planning steps your estate would be subject to approximately $550,000 in estate taxes if you died in 2013 as the laws stand right now.
Another misconception is that legal representation is too expensive to be worth it. In reality, most people are going to save far more money than they pay when they work with an estate planning attorney. This is why wise people retain legal counsel to assist with their estate planning.
Also there are common sources of asset erosion that can be avoided or minimized, such as the estate tax and probate expenses. You also would want to make sure that your wishes aren't challenged. These are only some of the many reasons why you would do well to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
The last misconception we will address is the idea that you can establish your own estate plan using general template documents. Estate planning even for very modest estates generally involves many complex considerations that simply cannot be provided for by a form. Many estate planning issues are unique and very personal. The nuances of these types of issues can only be properly identified and addressed by an experienced estate planning attorney.

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