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Monday, January 23, 2017

3 Myths About Estate Planning

Death is a difficult topic to talk about, which means that many aspects of it are shrouded in mystery. This, some crazy movie plots, a boatload of conspiracies floating around the internet, has led to a lot of myths and misconceptions about estate planning. This post will bust three of the most common myths.

Making An Estate Plan Will Help Me Hide Assets From The Government

As the old folks like to say, “The only sure things in this world are death and taxes.” But are taxes really so sure? One of the main goals of many of our firm’s estate planning clients is minimizing their tax burden at death.

Many clients expect that we will be able to do some sort of legal trickery to hide their assets from Uncle Sam, but that is not exactly what we do. What we can do is minimize our clients’ tax burdens by using tactics that the government knows exist and has approved.

If you are wealthy, your estate will probably owe some taxes at the time of your death, but careful planning can help significantly reduce the overall burden your heirs must pay.  

Putting Assets Into A Trust Will Protect Them From Creditors, Lawsuits & Ex-Spouses

There is a lot of crazy advice on the internet about how to buy assets via trusts so that you can do things like declare bankruptcy but keep all of your toys, avoid paying anything if you get sued, and stiff your ex-spouse. Most of this advice is wrong, but there is often a small grain of truth at its heart.

If you have questions about these topics, the best thing to do is to schedule an initial appointment with an estate planning attorneys. Most attorneys do this initial meeting for free, and at it you have a conversation about what your goals and needs are. A good attorney can help you set some realistic goals and determine what next steps are needed.

I’m Too Young/Poor To Need An Estate Plan

No matter your age or wealth, you probably want to make things as easy as possible for your family and friends if you get sick or die. Modern estate planning involves much more than making a will. If you choose to do you, you can put in place documents that designate someone to make healthcare decisions and take care of your finances if you are too ill to do so yourself. It is a big relief for family members and friends to find out that these decisions are being taken care of (and don’t have to be made by a squabbling committee) because you put a proper estate plan into place.

Busted

The next time you see a movie that involves a crazy provision in a will, or see a conspiracy theory about avoiding taxes and/or creditors floating around the internet, you now know to take any advice given with a grain of salt. There are a lot of myths about estate planning out there, so don’t hesitate to contact an experienced estate planning attorney if you have questions or are ready to work on your own estate plan.

 


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