Thanks to the cautiousness that was brought on April Fool’s Day, we are more careful to decide what we take as fact and fiction. The same goes for estate planning: you want to dispel all those false truths, and learn the truth.
False: Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation Techniques are only for Millionaires.
If you are not bringing in at least eight figures, you simply have no possible use for a wealth preservation plan, right? Wrong. If you have anything to lose, it is worth protecting. In fact, if you have air in your lungs, you will benefit from standard health related estate planning documents. A wealth preservation plan can ensure that what large or little amount of wealth that you do have, is preserved in both life and death. Wealth preservation is not just about concerns associated with extreme wealth; but also with the human element. You have a legacy, and the property and relationships that you acquire throughout your life warrant protection. Furthermore, such techniques allow you to maintain control in situations where you would ordinarily have none.
False: Estate Planning is strictly for senior citizens.
If you still have to pay $12 at the movie theater, in stead of the discounted $8 reserved for senior citizens, you are not precluded from the benefits of an estate plan. In fact, the earlier you start planning, the better. Creating a cohesive estate plan earlier in life provides many benefits over those initiated later down the road; especially when it comes to shielding your assets from the claims of creditors. Florida has adopted the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, meaning you cannot transfer your assets to intentionally avoid a creditor. Timing is among the many factors that the court will look at, as well as the purpose for your transfers. If you protect your property on the onset, for the purpose of achieving standard estate planning benefits, you will be effectively protecting your property from the claims of others. Furthermore, there are many strategies that are used to insulate income from unnecessary taxes; as a result, their benefits accrue through time.
False: Estate Plans are like the energizer bunny, they last forever.
While, technically, estate plans do last forever, the problem is that they may not “keep going & going” effectively. There are a variety of life events that warrant a reevaluation of your estate plan, especially those regarding relationships and property. Divorce and remarriage require alterations within your documents to ensure that your properties, and appointed persons, are in unison with your wishes. Changes in your wealth and property should also merit a second look at your documents, and whether they parallel with your goals. Thus, it is incredibly important to have your attorney look over your estate planning documents, following any significant changes in relationships or wealth.