Common Estate Planning Myths Debunked
Planning for what happens to your property after you’re gone can be a difficult and confusing process, and many people have misconceptions about how to successfully plan their estate and what that entails. It’s essential to have an experienced estate planning lawyer who is steeped in Illinois estate law and can help you decide how your assets should be distributed.
Peck Ritchey, LLC’s estate planning attorneys can answer any questions you have and can clear up any confusion. Here are some common misunderstandings many people have about planning an estate.
Myth #1: Only the Elderly Need an Estate Plan
The truth is that it’s never too early to plan for the future. Even if you’re in your 20s or 30s, you want to be sure that your affairs are in order in the event of an accident or illness. Especially if you have savings or you’re a parent, it’s important to know what will happen if you pass away unexpectedly. Your family will already be grieving your loss. If you’re young, you have the opportunity now to leave your loved ones with less uncertainty and worry in the event of your death. You can always modify your plan as you grow older and your circumstances change.
Myth #2: You Don’t Need an Estate Plan Unless You’re Wealthy
Even if you aren’t rich and you don’t own a business or even a house, you need to know what will happen to your property after you’re gone. If you die without a will (known as “intestate”), Illinois law dictates that your property be transferred to your closest relatives, usually children, spouse, parents, and/or siblings. This may be your preference, but it’s possible that you have other ideas as to where your property should go. Your closest living family member might be someone you don’t know, or you may want your property to go somewhere else. If you have no close relatives, your property could be transferred to the state.
Myth #3: Your Spouse Will Inherit Everything
Illinois intestacy law currently dictates that the spouse receives one-half of a decedent’s probate assets, and the other half is divided among the deceased’s children. If there are no children, the spouse may inherit the entire estate. Non-probate assets, however, such as jointly held property or accounts, property held in a trust, or accounts that list someone else as the beneficiary, may not be distributed in this way.
Myth #4: It Will Be Cheaper and Easier to Write a Will Yourself
It’s tempting to try to save money by filling out a do-it-yourself form, but this can be risky. Completing a will online may seem easy, but state laws change, and there’s no attorney to review the will to make sure that it’s legally sound. You may have special circumstances that the software can’t account for, such as an ex-spouse or children that live in other states. With a do-it-yourself will, there’s nobody to answer your questions or give you the assurance that everything is in order—which is a major reason to create an estate plan.
Myth #5: Once I Write My Will, I Don’t Need to Think About It Again
Circumstances change, and your preferences may change as well. Estate or tax laws may change, causing you to rethink your estate plan. New children or grandchildren may be born, your assets may grow, or you might make a major life alteration. You can revisit your estate plan at any time to make sure it meets your needs and the needs of your family.
Myth #6: Making an Estate Plan Will Be Too Complicated and Expensive
Each person’s situation is different, and your estate plan will reflect your own needs. If you own a business, have jointly held accounts, or have complicated inheritance decisions to make, it is all the more important that you plan for the distribution of your estate and that you enlist the aid of a knowledgeable attorney. Peck Ritchey, LLC specializes in estate administration, and creating your estate plan may be less difficult than you imagine.
Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney Today
When you’re deciding how best to transfer your property and ensure your family and loved ones are taken care of after you pass on, you need a team of skilled estate planning lawyers who understand Illinois inheritance law. The Chicago estate planning attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC will discuss the entire process with you and make sure that all the details are covered.