Jennifer C. Rydberg, Attorney at Law
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Common estate planning myths

Many people in the Kent area have not completed an estate plan. This is common among many families for various reasons, but for almost everyone, there are benefits to having an estate plan. So what are some common myths about estate planning?

One of the most common estate planning myths is that they're only for the wealthy. When estate disputes are mentioned in the media it is often as the result of families disputing a rich and famous loved one's estate. But, estate planning is valuable for everyone, regardless of income. It can help people transfer property to their intended beneficiaries, ensure their health care desires are followed, and keep family assets within the family in the event of a divorce.

Another myth is that estate planning offers only financial benefits. There are many financial benefits of an estate plan, but there are other, often equally important, benefits as well. These include designating guardians for children, protecting nontraditional assets such as a record collection, and health care wishes. An estate plan offers peace of mind by eliminating many what-if scenarios.

Most people believe that a will is the estate planning document they need. But, a trust may be a better option for many Kent area residents. In addition, everyone needs to consider establishing an estate plan, regardless of how old they are. Many also believe that they become responsible for their loved one's debts when they pass away. The debt a person has when they pass away is the responsibility of their estate. But that debt doesn't extend past the estate. If the estate doesn't have enough assets to cover the debts, then the debts end.

Many Kent area residents believe estate planning doesn't hold any value for them. But, the truth is that estate planning is for everyone, regardless of age or income. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help their client determine what estate planning tools work best for their situation. They can help their clients gain peace of mind and make sure their intentions are honored.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Five myths to overcome with new estate-planning clients," Patrick Carlson, July 12, 2017

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