Estate planning is easily an afterthought while your estate is small or continues to grow. If you're not married, without kids or don't have property - you might even think it's not necessary. But that's just not true.
So to help clarify the importance of estate planning and why your assets matter (no matter how small), we've listed a few common estate planning myths and the truth behind why they're a myth.
Common estate planning myths
Myth 1: I don't need to worry about estate planning because my spouse and children will just inherit what I own.
Your assets don’t automatically go to your spouse and children when you die without a will. Instead, your next of kin would need to apply for letters of administration. The court would then determine who is entitled to your estate and how to distribute your assets. Therefore, if you want your estate to go to your partner and children, writing a will that outlines this wish is important.
Myth 2: I don't need to worry about my property if I have a living trust.
The only way to guarantee that your property will automatically transfer to your successor trustee upon death is if you have specifically addressed this in your trust agreement. Property ownership also plays a critical role in inheriting the property after you pass away. If you are a joint tenant, the right of survivorship applies, and the property can't go to a trustee or beneficiary.
Myth 4: My friends and family will agree on where my assets should go.
While it’s nice to think that your friends and loved ones would agree on how to handle your assets, this isn’t always the case. Some might feel more entitled than others, and without much effort, your loved ones can quickly start to argue over how to handle your estate. Your will is just as much an instrument to protect yourself but also your loved ones. Make sure to be explicit about who receives what and that your will is always up to date to ensure there is no hardship after you pass away.
Myth 5: I have a will, even if it isn't up to date, so I'll be ok.
When you pass away, your most up to date will is valid. For example, if you created a will ten years ago and you die before adding assets or beneficiaries, what’s outlined in your will from 10 years ago applies. There are circumstances when beneficiaries can argue the will, but this is a long and complicated process. Rule of thumb: make updates to your will every time your estate grows.
Myth 6: Estate planning is only for the rich
Unfortunately, this myth is one of the most common reasons people don’t write a will. Estate planning is not just for people money or large pieces of property. It's for everyone who wants to preserve their assets and provide for their loved ones after they pass away. Outlining what to do with your belongings after you pass away is a process everyone should go through, regardless of wealth. It's also important to remember that estate planning is a living process, one that you should revisit every three years or when your life circumstances change.
Myth 7: It's too early to start planning my estate
Even if you feel like you don’t have any physical assets to leave behind, there are things that your loved ones will have to take care of after you pass away. For example, what do you want to be done with your email? Or your social media accounts? Do you want a funeral or a celebration? Cremation or burial? Wills are more than just protecting and distributing your assets. They are legal documents to outline your wishes for after you pass away. It's never too early to start planning your estate.
Myth 8: I still have plenty of time to write my will
Death is generally a taboo topic that most don’t like to think about. However, life is unpredictable, so it’s important to start writing your will as soon as possible. Willed’s online will service is a reliable and easy way to start writing your will. They have a team of expert lawyers to help answer any questions and allow you to update the terms of your will as you need. Overall, the best time to start writing your will is now.
Estate planning is an important process that too many people avoid. We’ve debunked some of the most common estate planning myths in this post, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any other questions or concerns.
At Willed, we want to help make estate planning as easy and stress-free for you as possible. So start your online will today and get peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.