There are several misconceptions floating around in estate planning, and the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat reviews some misunderstandings about wills in “More on estate planning myths.” Let’s take a look:
“I’m young, so I don’t need a will.” This is not true. One of the most important parts of a will for a young couple, is a provision that designates a guardian—the person(s) who will care for their young children in the event of their mutual death. This is rare, although it does happen. To make matters worse, what if there’s a family fight for custody of your children? Make this selection so the court isn’t forced to select a guardian for your minor children, if the event arises. A will can give you peace of mind concerning the care of your children.
“I really don’t have much of an estate, so I don’t need a will.” This is also not true. Even if you don’t have young children, a will is essential for the distribution of your personal effects. Surprisingly, even some very large estates have been contested, simply because of disputes over small items.
Typically, large cash amounts can be resolved without difficulty because the details should be provided in the will. However, sentimental family items, like jewelry, family photographs, a valuable baseball card collection and other articles can become the source of conflict and lawsuits. A will can clarify your wishes.
An estate planning attorney will also advise you to use techniques like Payable on Death transfers, TOD deeds or other non-probate transfers that simplify and speed up most asset transfers after death, without probate. Nonetheless, it’s still smart to have a will prepared as a backup, in case you’ve forgotten to provide for the transfer of any asset.
The emotional and sentimental items owned by a person may be of great importance to his or her heirs. Failure to carefully describe your plans for distribution of those items at death, can frequently generate conflicts that are just as bad—and sometimes worse—as the conflict over monetary funds.
Reference: Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (March 1, 2017) “More on estate planning myths”