Twelve years ago, the “Purple Rain” star, Prince, graced the field at Dolphin Stadium for the Super Bowl XLI halftime performance. Nine years later, he would unexpectedly pass away, leaving behind a legacy of musical genius but also one of financial and legal chaos. What was the issue? Prince neglected to put in place a basic estate plan, leaving potential heirs quarreling over his fortune.
Unfortunately, this is not unusual. According to a survey done by Caring.com, only 4 in 10 American adults have a will or living trust. The overwhelming reason why adults fail to complete an estate plan is “they hadn’t gotten around to it” (47 percent), and they “don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone” (29 percent).
It’s understandable. Setting up arrangements for your home, health, and finances can quickly become intimidating. The paper-work and tough conversations are daunting. And, it’s one of those things low on the to-do list. But, it does not have to be scary. In this article, I will uncover four common myths about estate planning and what you can do about it.
“My estate isn’t big enough to need any planning.” There is a widespread belief that estate plans are only for the rich. However, the reality is that you need an estate plan regardless of how much or how little property you have. Without a plan, you give up the ability to determine who inherits your property and assets upon your death. Going even further, if you have specific things you would like to leave to specific individuals, those items may go somewhere else. An estate plan can alleviate those concerns.
“I can prepare my will better when I am older.” It is often thought that if you do not have white hair yet, you do not need to worry about drawing up a will. But, the truth is the moment you have people that depend on you is the moment to start thinking how you will protect your loved ones if you die. Making a few arrangements now can help your family sort through your belongings if an unexpected event occurs.
“I already have a will so I don’t need to worry about probate.” Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking. Probate often bears a negative connotation as a long and expensive process where one or more courts decide who will inherit your assets. While a will does provide the court with direction on your wishes, it does not avert the probate process altogether. Thus, it is important to start investigating now and putting plans into place to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“It’s too complicated to set up.” Designating beneficiaries, crafting powers of attorney, and gathering financial docs can seem like a lengthy and hazy process. One of the main reasons adults neglect to plan for their estate is that it is often perceived as complicated and difficult to understand. However, with attorneys who specialize in Estate Planning like Attorney Holly Geerdes, a Georgia local, setting up your estate plan can be a smooth, headache-free process. Geerdes, owner of the Atlanta Estate Law Center, hosts free workshops every month, going in depth about the differences between wills and trusts, asset protection, Medicaid, probate and more. Attendees even receive a free one-hour consultation where you can get your questions cleared up on a more personalized basis. Taking that first step forward can make all the difference.
When it comes to estate planning, these are four very common misconceptions. As you can see, not having a plan in place can be a costly ordeal, both financially and emotionally. Knowing the truth ahead of time can prevent future headaches as well as heartache.
Local attorney, Holly Geerdes, Esq. provides excellent solutions daily to families who value protecting the assets and traditions they have worked their entire lives to achieve. Her firm, The Atlanta Estate Law Center, have plans that are generally completed within 6-8 weeks. In addition, she makes sure to host annual reviews once plans are complete to update information in order to maintain accuracy. Geerdes takes the time to understand each of her client’s needs and desires to continue to take care of their families when they no longer are here or have the competency to do so. Her combination of empathy and expertise are what set her apart. Take the next step and reserve your spot in a workshop today.