Family Moments
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Estate Planning Myths


“I have already written a will. I’m set for what may happen in the future.”

If you have written a will, you are one step ahead. However, a will is not enough. A will does not allow you to avoid probate and it does not allow you to reduce or eliminate your estate taxes. It does not take care of all you other affairs like medical decisions. Quite simply put, a will alone is never enough.

"We are married and have joint tenancy. I will get everything anyway."

This simply means that you own property together with your spouse and that property will pass to them automatically. Although you avoid probate, the surviving spouse is not in the optimal financial position because they miss out on “step-up basis.” If you both pass away together, probate will not be avoided.

“I don’t own a lot and I’m not rich. I don’t think people like me need a trust.”

Do you own assets and personal property that is worth more than $150,000? Do you own any real estate in the United States? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you need a trust because the government will force you to go through probate if this is true.

“I’m young and haven’t gotten to it. Trusts are for old people, when you’re close to dying.”

The reality is that NOW is the right age and time to make a trust. Life is unpredictable and we don’t know what is going to happen. Making a trust follows the same logic as getting health insurance or life insurance, to protect your loved ones.

“My family knows what I want. They will make all the right decisions when I pass away.”

Tragedy and grief are hard. When someone passes, often logic, patience and family relationships are put to the test. History is riddled with families that have fallen apart due to infighting after someone passes. It is never a good idea to leave these decisions to others.

“Trusts are expensive. I don’t want to spend the money on making one now.”

The cost of a creating a trust is a fraction of the cost of going through the probate process. Probate fees are based on the gross value of your estate and can run tens of thousands of dollars. Even higher fees can be ordered by the court in special circumstances and for more complicated cases.

“My family loves me. I know they will take care of my kids and my health if something happens.”

Even if you have a loving family who are willing to take care of your affairs, they will not be able to do so without the right documentation. If you do not nominate a guardian for your children or create an advanced healthcare directive, the state will make these decisions for you.

"There are so many cheap online options. I can just create a trust myself."

Every trust requires not only an in depth understanding of the individual, but a deep knowledge of the law. There are many, many different types of trusts and multiple ways to set them up. You want a barred attorney to write a proper trust for you that will hold up in a court of law.

“I want control of my property and assets in my lifetime. Once you create a trust you lose control.”

This is incorrect. With a revocable living trust, you, the trust maker maintains full control in your lifetime. You can do anything with your assets as you would have done before creating the trust. It does not change how you execute, make decisions or live your daily life.

“I am not a US citizen. I am not eligible to make a trust.”

Not being a citizen, does not prevent you from making a trust as long as the assets you want to secure are located in the US. There are different types of trusts that can be created to protect you and your loved ones.