Planning for your death can seem morbid, but in fact, having a solid end of life plan is a smart idea.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding end of life planning, especially when it comes to drawing up and maintaining a will.
Read on to learn the truth about some common myths (or misunderstandings) surrounding estate planning.
Myth: A Will Only Deals with My Belongings
Almost everyone knows the fundamentals about wills and what they do. Before you die, you write out a list of who gets all your belongings to make things easier to divvy up after you die. Your cousin gets the dresser in the bedroom, your niece gets your collection of antique books, and so on.
But, in fact, wills deal with a lot more than just your financial assets. It also specifies what you would like to happen in the circumstances surrounding your death. These wishes can include health care plans should you become unable to make those decisions yourself and even funeral planning.
Myth: Drawing Up a Will is Complicated
There is a general perception that drawing up a will is a lengthy and complex process. You have to figure out who gets what, who is going to take care of which issues, and all the little details surrounding your death. Making all those decisions can start to seem overwhelming and unreasonable.
But really, all you are doing is specifying what you want. If you find a good financial advisor and attorney, they can help you translate that into legal documents that protect your wishes. It is only as complicated as sitting down and saying, “No, I want the end of my life to look like this.”
Myth: Once I Write My Will, It is Set
One of the reasons people wait to draw up their wills is that they believe once they have written out the will, there is no changing it. They would rather wait until later in life when they can be more precise about who they want which assets to go to. But changing your will is not as difficult as it may seem.
As a matter of fact, reviewing and adjusting your will is an expected part of the estate management process. Estate managers know that you may have another child or have a new person enter or leave your family. Most estate planners recommend reviewing your will every three to five years and adjusting it as needed.
Myth: Only Rich People Worry About Estate Planning
If you make less than several million dollars per year, it may seem like you do not need an estate plan at all. After all, if you do not have millions of dollars in assets, is it going to be that big of a deal to divide up your things?
But despite what you may think, no matter what the state of your assets, it is a good thing to have a will in place. For one thing, as we mentioned, a will covers everything about your end of life arrangements, not just distribution of your assets. But also, it is always a good idea to have a plan in place to make things easier on the bereaved, should the worst happen.
Myth: I Can Wait Until I’m Older!
One of the all-time top myths about drawing up a will is that if you do not have white hair yet, you do not need to worry about it. After all, if you have just started your career, or if your retirement account only has $200 in it, there is plenty of time to worry about that. You can set up a will later, when you are older.
The unfortunate truth is, you do not know when you might need a will. No matter how young and healthy you are, you could walk out your front door and get run over by a bus tomorrow. It is smart to have all your assets and end of life plans taken care of from the jump, just in case the worst happens.