Estate Planning – Myth-busting

There are many myths around Estate Planning, so here we have done the hard work for you, and have selected our top ten myths, debunking them all for you. Some do have elements of truth behind them, and some are purely myths. So, without further ado, take a look at the true picture, when it comes to Estate Planning. 

  • I’m too young!

Did you know? Less than 50% of UK adults have a Will, and we understand that when you are young and healthy, writing a Will is the last thing on your mind.  

However, none of us know what may happen at any time, so it makes sense to plan ahead and to plan for the unknown, and unfortunately the inevitable. 

From the age of 18, you can start your Estate Plan and you can write a Will, as in England and Wales, if you die without a Will and you have no surviving blood relatives, anything that is in your estate goes to the Treasury.

To avoid this, a Will is essential.

  • I don’t have enough money

An Estate Plan doesn’t cover money alone and it is so much more than just a Will. Your Estate Plan covers your children’s future, it covers your wishes and arrangements for a funeral, and it will name people who can access your accounts, such as your mortgage. 

Your Estate Plan can also include your health directive, with plans and arrangements for the person, you choose, to look after and manage your wishes should you become medically incapable of doing so.

So, even if you have little money, it is important that you make sure that the assets you do have are left to the family members who you would like to have them, and that all of your own wishes are adhered to, when it comes to your children and any health directives.

  • My family will get everything any way

This commonly believed myth is not true. Depending on your circumstances your family may get very little, or in some cases, nothing at all, as the Government will decide who inherits from you, according to the laws of intestacy.

Added to this, if your family wishes to dispute the Government’s decision they could become involved in a costly and long-drawn-out court battle.

Having an Estate Plan in place will ensure that potential trauma for your family from a legal dispute is avoided.

  • I don’t have a lawyer and I can do it all myself!

Yes, you can write a Will yourself and plan for your estate, but you have to ensure that you follow the proper guidelines, that you are over 18, it is signed by you, and you have two witnesses, to ensure that your wishes will be followed and that your Estate Plan will go uncontested.

But, if your circumstances are complicated, it is advisable to have your Estate Plan reviewed by a solicitor, to look for any issues which may necessitate legal advice and to ensure that the final plan is legally binding.

  • My family won’t need to worry about Probate

In the majority of situations your family will require Probate. The two exceptions to this are if the estate is very small, or for joint estates where the other owner is still living. However, many banks will not allow funds to withdrawn from accounts without sight of the Grant of Probate.

If there is a property left that was owned solely by one person who has died, then Probate will be required for the property to be disposed of, unless a Trust is in place to avoid Probate. 

  • I already have an Estate Plan so I don’t need to revisit it

You will need to review and adapt and alter your Estate Plan as your life changes and as do your circumstances. If you marry, divorce, have children, have grandchildren, all of these major life events need to be reflected in your Estate Plan, therefore it is essential that you do regularly revisit and review your plan to reflect your life.

  • My family know what I want for my funeral

Most of us avoid and put off conversations with loved ones about what happens after we die. But, you can only be sure that you will have the funeral you want if it is written down and included in your Estate Plan. This forward planning will reduce the stress facing your family at what will be a very difficult time.

  • Estate planning is only for distributing my assets once I die

In addition to the distribution of money and assets, your Estate Plan can also include health directives to help you plan for your healthcare requests and wishes, should a downturn in your health or an accident mean that you cannot speak for yourself.

  • Why should I worry? My spouse will get everything if I die

This is an often-believed misconception. If you have not made a Will when you die and you leave a spouse or civil partner, they will receive part of your estate, but depending on the size of your estate they may not receive all of it. If this is not your wishes a Will as part of your Estate Plan is essential.

  • I have a Will, so I don’t need an Estate Plan

A Will is a great beginning of your Estate Plan, and it indeed forms the foundation. However, for any additional wishes and requirements in regard to your children, and to avoid lengthy Probate, you will need to have in place a more in-depth Estate Plan, rather than simply a Will.

To find out the Estate Plan that works for you and your personal circumstances, contact the Hello Estate Planning team at xxx.