An estimated 55% to 70% of Americans don’t have an estate plan or even a simple will. This seems to occur for a number of reasons, but one of them is lack of awareness. Drafting a will is more important than many people realize, and if you fall for some of the common misconceptions, you’re bound to go about the process incorrectly, or even skip it altogether. Here are just a few misconceptions you shouldn’t fall for when drafting your will.
Once I create a will, I can amend it myself.
Many people think that once you draft a will, you can edit it by yourself easily and whenever you choose. But this isn’t exactly the case — you’ll typically need a separate legal document called a codicil, and in cases where major amendments need to be made, you may need to essentially start from scratch and create a whole new will. Fortunately, an estate planning attorney can assist with any type of amendment.
I don’t need to change my will if I get married.
As another common misconception, this doesn’t make much logical sense. There are several life events that are grounds for making potential amendments to your will, and entering into a new marriage is certainly one of them.
I don’t need a will; my family can make the best decisions after my passing.
This is another major misconception. First, you should understand that the top three reasons that clients engage in estate planning are to 1. avoid probate (59%), 2. minimize discord among beneficiaries (57%), and 3. protect children from mismanaging their inheritances (39%). With these reasons in mind, it makes perfect sense to eliminate these possibilities so that your family can stay strong and continue to get along after your passing. Drafting a will is easily the best way to make sure your family is taken care of in every way. The fewer decisions they have to make themselves, the better.
Ultimately, understanding these myths is the key to making a well-rounded decision about your will and estate planning processes. Don’t hesitate to hire an estate planning attorney to help you best arrange your will and finances. For more information about estate planning, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico.