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Estate planning myths

Many Kent area residents have spent the time to work out their estate plan. But, many more families have not embarked on setting up an estate plan. For the latter group they may have heard several myths that pertain to estate planning and decided that it wasn't for them.

One common myth is that a family may think that they don't have an "estate" that needs planning. Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. It is actually instead for dealing with disability, death and divorce -- things that most families will deal with.

Other myths revolve around marriage. Some may feel that they need to be married in order to protect themselves. But, estate plans can be written regardless of marital status. Also, those who are married may believe that they won't need a will or power of attorney because of their spouse. A marriage does not mean a person's assets will all automatically go to the person's spouse upon death or that the spouse will have complete control without being designated the power of attorney.

Some families may also believe that they are obligated to leave their money to their families. This is not the case unless you have minor children. There are many other options including donating to charities, educational institutions and others.

An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help a family with all of their estate planning needs. Each family has unique characteristics. Long term care planning, wills, trusts, guardianships and much more can be set up with an attorney to help a family feel secure about their future.

Source:, "Seven myths of estate planning," Lawrence S. Jacobs, Feb. 20, 2016

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