Debunking 6 Estate Planning Myths

As much as we would probably like to think otherwise, we are all going to pass away at some point in time. The sooner we accept this fact of life, the sooner we can begin organizing our affairs so that everything will be in order for the surviving family members we leave behind. However, estate planning at the Lake of the Ozarks is not as cut-and-dry as we might think. The team at our Central Missouri law firm is here to help clear up some of the common myths about estate planning.

MYTH #1: Estate Planning Is Only For "Old People."
Life is unpredictable. While we will all hopefully go on to lead long, healthy lives, fatal accidents can and do happen to older and younger adults alike. Consequently, it's important for young adults to get at least a basic estate plan in place. If you do not have one in place already, you should definitely establish an estate planning after getting married, buying your first house, or having a baby.

MYTH #2: Only Wealthy People Need To Worry About Estate Planning
As we said in the beginning, everyone is going to die - not just wealthy individuals - and we are all going to leave something behind. Of course, estate planning encompasses much more than just designating who will inherit your assets; it also involves empowering someone to act on your behalf if something happens to you and you are no longer able to so, identifying who you would like to care for your minor children if you become unable to do so, and much more.

MYTH #3: Once I Get My Estate Plan Established, I'm Good To Go.
Contrary to popular belief, estate plans are not something you can put together and then store on a back shelf until it is needed. Families grow, relationships change, and financial assets come and go. It is important that your estate plan represent your current situation and desires. Having a baby, adopting a child, getting married, retiring, or getting divorced are all examples of life events that should spur you to update your will.

MYTH #4: I Will Have To Leave My Money To My Children; What They Do With It Is Up To Them.
Depending on their age and/or maturity level, leaving all of your assets to your children outright may not be a wise move. Even if you do choose to leave your assets to your children, establishing a trust will allow you to have some control over how much of your assets are given to them and when. For example, you could have the the majority of your funds held in a separate trust until each child reaches a chosen age, at which point they will be able to handle the funds responsibly.

MYTH #5: All I Need Is A Will. 
Wills are important, but they barely scratch the surface of estate planning capabilities. Your will can only come into effect after your death; for example, it does not offer you any way to designate what happens to you if you become incompetent or otherwise unable to care for yourself and/or your family. Having a will in place will not spare your assets from having to go through probate, so your heirs will still have to navigate the accompanying hassles and fees. Not only that, but wills are considered public documents; anyone can have access to it. If you wish to keep your affairs private, you may need to pursue other estate planning avenues.

MYTH #6: If I Don't Have Anyone To Leave My Estate To, I Don't Have To Worry About An Estate Plan.
If you do not establish an estate plan, your estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries that the Missouri state legislature has set forth in the Missouri statutes. If you are comfortable with this outcome, then it's true, you don't have to worry about an estate plan. If you have no friends or close family members that you wish to make beneficiaries of your estate plan, there are other options to consider, such as making the charity of your choice your beneficiary. 

O'Donnell Law Center Can Help With Your Estate Planning Needs!
If you are ready to plan your estate at the Lake of the Ozarks or if you have other questions about the process, don't hesitate to reach out to the team at O'Donnell Law Center. Our experienced Lake of the Ozarks estate planning attorney would be happy to help you get your affairs in order.

Call the most trusted law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks to get started today.
We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065
(Located on the McDonald's Side of the Building)


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