Taking the steps to create an estate plan is an understandably difficult decision. It means spending time dwelling on the end of your life and beyond, and this is not an easy thing for many to do. However, even if you are willing to overcome this fear, you may be among the large percentage of California residents who hesitate to make an estate plan because they cling to the persistent myths surrounding the purpose and process of estate planning.
The sad thing is that those who fail to create an estate plan because of their misconceptions do not see the confusion and disorder they leave behind for their loved ones. Many families have fallen into disagreements and disunity that their loved ones could have prevented with a simple estate plan.
A versatile tool
If you believe some of the common misconceptions about estate planning, the first step is to get to the truth so you can begin creating a solid plan that will not only provide for your family but also offer you some protection too. An estate plan can be quite flexible and structured to meet the needs of those in almost every circumstance.
Like many, you might believe you are too young or that you don’t have sufficient wealth to justify an estate plan. However, you might be surprised at what your estate plan can do, including the following:
- Designate trusted agents to carry out your final wishes
- Establish a plan for your own health care needs in case you should ever become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself
- Protect your financial and legal matters if you should become ill or otherwise unable to handle them yourself
- Memorialize your wishes for the end of your life, your funeral arrangements and related matters
An estate plan offers many more options than just a will, and it can also function in ways beyond simply distributing your belongings after you die.
Once your plan is in place
Those who take the noble step and establish an estate plan sometimes believe their work is over. This is another myth. Your will, trust and other documents will need periodic reviews to ensure they remain relevant and that they continue to express your wishes. If you experience significant life changes, such as getting married or divorced, gaining or losing assets, or simply having a change of heart about your bequests, you can always revisit your plan to update it.