What Are You Waiting For?

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People tend to avoid estate planning like it’s the plague. However, no financial plan can be complete without one. Sure, thinking about your own demise doesn’t rate high on the ‘fun scale,’ but not everything in life does.

What are you waiting for?  People tell themselves all kinds of lies to avoid estate planning.

Forbes’s recent article, “3 Lies People Tell Themselves About Estate Planning,” discusses the following three lies people frequently tell themselves in order to delay or avoid estate planning.

  1. There’s No Need for a Will Because I Don’t Have Much Money.

This is not true. A typical will covers more than just finances. Your will can be used to protect your family if you pass away such as by providing instructions on who should become the guardian for your children. Your will can also be used to state the way in which you’d like your body to be handled after your death. A will details how you want your final wishes carried out so your family won’t be left guessing.

  1. There’s No Need for a Will Because Nothing’s Changed.

People say this all the time, but the law may have changed without your knowledge making it necessary to modify your estate plan. For instance, many of the estate plans that were created years ago with the objective of minimizing federal estate tax are now out of date. You should also consider updating your estate plan to name younger adults to serve in critical fiduciary roles as your original choices may no longer be able to serve.

  1. There’s No Need to Update My Beneficiary Forms Because I Have a Will.

A will only controls assets that pass through the probate estate, and therefore it doesn’t control the disposition of all your assets. For example, married couples typically own their homes in joint tenancy.  When the first spouse passes, the home automatically passes to the surviving spouse regardless of what the first-to-die spouse’s will says. In addition, retirement accounts don’t pass via a will. These accounts, such as IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and similar accounts, pass by beneficiary designations. It’s important to understand that your beneficiary forms generally supersede your will.

Reference: Forbes (May 9, 2019) “3 Lies People Tell Themselves About Estate Planning”