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Piercey & Associates, Ltd. Discusses Five Estate Planning Myths
Estate planning is vital to the preservation of assets, and one of the only means to ensure your beneficiaries are protected. However, recent statistics demonstrate that nearly half of Americans over the age of fifty-five do not have a will and have not yet implemented the necessary estate planning requirements.
According to Piercey & Associates, Ltd., an acclaimed team of trust, tax, real estate, probate, business succession, guardianship, and elder law attorneys that help clients build, manage and protect their legacy, much of it has to do with five particularly suborn and prevalent myths. The professionals at Piercey & Associates discuss each one:
Estate planning is only for high net worth individuals and families.
The fuel for this myth is in the word “estate,” which most people associate with affluent lifestyles. However, the simple fact is that everyone — regardless of their current or anticipated net worth — should make estate planning a top priority. Otherwise, upon their passing, or in the aftermath of an injury, accident, or health episode, vitally important decisions regarding the allocation of their assets and the care of their minor children will be made on their behalf and potentially adverse to their intent.
“Proper estate planning helps protect the lawful direction and wishes of a deceased or incapacitated individual will be honored,” commented a spokesperson from Piercey & Associates, Ltd., which has earned more than a 99 percent satisfaction rating based on over 2,700 client surveys. “And while estate planning is important for everyone, it is especially vital for parents who want to ensure, should something catastrophic happen to them, that that their children will be cared for by the individual or family they choose.”
If someone has a will, then they do not need estate planning.
While a will is certainly essential — it does not replace the need for proper and comprehensive estate planning. This is because estate planning goes much deeper than a will and covers key considerations such as (but not limited to) estate taxation, asset protection, divorce protection, blended families, unique asset succession, and as noted above, guardianship of minor children.
“When we work with individuals and families to develop their comprehensive and customize estate plan, one of the most common reactions is how surprised they are when they realize just how many enormously consequential decisions are not captured by their will,” commented Kenneth Piercey, Partner of Piercey & Associates, Ltd., which has reduced millions in estate tax liability down to zero, and regularly eliminates probate fees for clients. “Proactively addressing these issues is wise and necessary, because there may not be an opportunity to do so in the future.”
There is no need to think about estate planning until one enters their “golden years.”
Although it may sound grim, the indisputable fact is that tomorrow is promised to no one. Individuals who procrastinate when it comes to estate planning because they expect to address it later in life, frankly, may never have the chance. Unfortunately, those who will suffer the consequences of their neglect or procrastination are the people in life who mattered to them the most: their loved ones, their closest friends, and the organizations or causes that they believed in and supported.
Even if someone has the good fortune to live into their senior years, there is no guarantee they will have the requisite mental capacity at that time to engage in estate planning. It cannot be stressed enough that an individual or couple with minor children definitely need to make estate planning an urgent priority right now.
Estate planning is all about disposition of assets and property.
While estate planning is about disposition of assets and property — it is not the whole picture. Estate planning also enables individuals to memorialize their wishes regarding medical treatment if, due to mental incapacity, injury or severe health or medical episode, they are unable to clearly and fully express those wishes themselves.
For many individuals, the so-called living will aspect of their estate plan is extremely important. Directives that can be covered include, but are not limited to, refusing treatment that one does not want, or that is not in accordance with one’s religious or ethical values. It can also prevent a great deal of suffering and conflict among family members, since they do not have to agonize trying to speculate on what kinds of medical decisions their loved one would have wanted. Everything is clearly articulated and there is no controversy.
Estate planning is extremely difficult.
Estate planning is important, however, when the estate planning process is structured and managed by an experienced and client-focused legal team, it is neither difficult nor tedious.
“Estate planning is widely perceived as something very convoluted and rooted in legal jargon that seems confusing at best and impenetrable at worst,” commented Rodney Piercey, partner of Piercey & Associates, Ltd. “However, in truth estate planning is straightforward, stress-free, and perhaps most surprising of all to those who have been putting it off for years or even decades, it is very satisfying. Our clients feel an overwhelming sense of relief, confidence and stability once their customized and comprehensive estate plan is in place. They no longer need to wonder or worry about critical decisions if they are incapacitated, or if they pass away. This kind of peace of mind is priceless.”
The Bottom Line
Some myths are harmless or even helpful. However, other myths are dangerous and can be financially devastating — and those highlighted above by Piercey & Associates, Ltd. Certainly fall into this dire category.
“Individuals and families who have questions should not hesitate to reach out to an experienced and reputable law firm, so they can get accurate answers that are specific for their unique situation,” commented a spokesperson from Piercey & Associates, Ltd. “There are no bad questions — except, or course, for those that are never asked.”
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes