While many New Yorkers may have realized the importance of having an estate plan in place in the last year, few may have acted on their impulse to plan for the future. This is because there are some common misconceptions about estate planning:
Estate planning is too complicated
While many may think this is complicated, dying without a plan in place and having one’s estate stuck in probate for years is actually much more complicated. Once one understands the purposes of certain estate planning documents, it is easier to figure out which one is needed. For example, a will ensures one’s assets are going to the right place and that underage children are being taken care of, and a power of attorney ensures that a responsible individual is making healthcare and financial decisions on one’s behalf.
Estate planning takes too much time
If handled correctly and revisited regularly, estate planning actually saves time for everyone involved. Those who are feeling overwhelmed by the process should start small. Now that everything’s online, they can begin by sharing their passwords with their loved ones. In the event of an emergency, a trusted adult can access bank accounts, social media, and even cell phones. Even if someone is not ready to share the passwords right now, they can be compiled together in one place and the location divulged to another person. Similarly, one should aggregate their finances. How much money does one owe and how much money does one have? Family members shouldn’t be going on a treasure hunt if one becomes incapacitated. It should be easy to track down assets and accounts.
Thinking about death might speed up one’s demise
Whether it is pleasant to think about or not, life will end at some point. Thinking about it will not hasten it, but will ensure that one’s loved ones will be taken care of in the future.
Those who are overwhelmed by the estate planning process should consider consulting an experienced attorney to determine which tools can be best utilized for their situation.