You’re about to put a lot of contemplation and effort into constructing a will or a trust, so that the people and institutions you trust will be able to benefit from your support and largess. But how can you ensure that your wishes won’t be ignored or overridden? One key is to avoid falling victim to false beliefs about what these legal documents can and cannot do. In this article, we’ll bust 5 of the most damaging myths.
False Belief #1: Your will or trust needs to cover every possible contingency to be an effective working document.
Truth: Although you and your attorney should contemplate many scenarios and game out how to handle them, if they should arise, you cannot possibly figure out all the possible ways that your life (and your estate and your business) will unfold. In fact, the number of permutations, if you calculated it, would be astronomically big. Instead, focus on meeting the most likely problems or opportunities, and make the document flexible enough for smart, trustworthy people to interpret.
False Belief #2: You only need to create a will or a trust if you have children or close family members you might want to support.
Truth: Creating these documents can be essential in terms of protecting your business legacy, funding a charity you love and support and just giving you peace of mind about the future. A detailed estate plan that’s consonant with your values and that’s updated and complete can give you more confidence to pursue projects, start relationships and just live life more fully.
False Belief #3: If you don’t have much money, there’s no reason to establish a trust or a will.
Truth: Wills and trusts can often be profoundly valuable to people and families who are struggling. For instance, let’s say you have a special needs child; you want to plan for her future, but you don’t have much cash in the bank or other assets. By establishing a special needs trust for her – and figuring out a way to fund it – you can ensure her future if something ever happens to you and the other parent. These documents can also provide explicit instructions for how people should treat your sentimental possessions, and you can also amend and add to them if and when you do acquire more assets.
False Belief #4: It’s easy and smart to go the “do-it-yourself” route when drafting wills and trusts.
Truth: While you certainly can try to write and edit these documents yourself, you could be putting your assets and legacy at risk. Small errors in language or failures to consider certain contingencies can lead to infighting among family members, tax problems, and beyond. Call our Colorado will and trust attorneys today for a free consultation about your documents, and handle your planning effectively.