Probate and Estate Planning Myths And Misconceptions

Posted by Janssen Estate Probate and Elder LawDec 10, 20220 Comments

probate and estate planning myths and misconceptions

Janssen Estate Probate & Elder Law can guide you through the 'probate and estate planning myths.' Our team has been offering estate planning services to Kansas City Metropolitan Area clients for 35 years. We believe that informed clients are key components in creating their ideal estate strategy.

Myths and misconceptions surrounding estate planning and probate can be numerous, resulting in confusion for consumers. Here, we debunk 10 common myths while exploring fact-checking, the advantages of hiring an estate planning attorney, when to use certain experts, etc. Additionally, we will demonstrate what makes our firm special in this industry and provide some practical steps that can help take control of your estate-planning journey.


10 Myths About Probate and Estate Planning

Myths and misconceptions surrounding estate planning and probate can lead to disastrous decisions. Here are the ten largest myths regarding these crucial areas of life.

  1. "I Don't Need Estate Planning": Estate planning is not exclusive to those with financial resources. It should be part of everyone's life no matter their status. Without it, assets may not be distributed according to your will, and without proper estate planning, you could see yourself outliving your wishes and becoming dependent upon someone else for the distribution of them.
  2. "A Will Avoids Probate": While a valid estate plan, a will alone does not shield your estate from having to go through probate proceedings; some assets will still need to undergo probate which can be both time-consuming and costly.
  3. "Probate Is Always a Nightmare": Not every probate case needs to be complicated or long, with proper planning the process can often go more smoothly.
  4. "Only the Elderly Need Estate Planning": Estate planning should not just be left to older adults. Young families should ensure they're covered should an unexpected accident happen.
  5. "DIY Estate Planning Is Sufficient": While DIY resources exist, they cannot replace the expertise and experience of an attorney in estate planning matters. Legal documents prepared by non-experts may lead to future complications that become increasingly challenging as time goes on.
  6. "My Assets Will Automatically Transfer to My Spouse": Many people assume their assets will automatically pass to their surviving spouse after death. However, this depends on various factors like state laws and specific assets owned.
  7. "It's All About Taxes": Estate planning goes beyond simply minimizing taxes. It also involves safeguarding your legacy by making sure assets pass onto those you intend.
  8. "Life Insurance Is the Ultimate Solution": Life insurance isn't the only solution. Wills and trusts can also play an integral role.
  9. "Probate Costs Are Sky-high": Probate costs can be high, but they don't need to be. Proper planning and guidance will help to minimize costs.
  10. "Once It's Done, It's Done": Your estate plan shouldn't remain static. Rather, it is crucial that it is regularly reviewed to ensure it reflects your changing needs and preferences.


What Is The Importance Of Double-checking Facts?

These myths highlight the importance of verifying facts before making decisions regarding estate planning and probate. Misinformation may lead to costly errors and anxiety-inducing outcomes. To protect your interests seek guidance from knowledgeable sources rather than hearsay.


Why Hiring An Attorney Is Beneficial?

An experienced estate planning attorney can be invaluable in helping you meet your objectives. Here are some compelling arguments in their favor:

  • Legal Expertise: Attorneys specialize in elder law, estate planning, and probate law - offering an abundance of knowledge and experience in these fields to your case.
  • Customization: With experience comes a plan tailored specifically to you and your situation, meeting both needs and goals.
  • Avoiding Mistakes: DIY solutions may lead to expensive mistakes. Hiring an attorney can assist in avoiding such hazards.
  • Maximizing Benefits: Attorneys can assist in devising strategies to minimize taxes and distribute assets according to your wishes.
  • Reducing Stress: Legal matters can be stressful, and an attorney can offer peace of mind and reduce anxiety.


When Should You Hire An Attorney?

There are certain milestones in estate planning where it would be prudent to seek legal advice:

  • Marriage or Partnership: When in a committed relationship with another, it's crucial that estate plans reflect this fact in order to protect both parties involved. Updating estate plans as your relationship changes can ensure both of you remain financially secure.
  • Parenthood: Before expanding or starting your family, it is crucial that you make arrangements for their care in case of an emergency situation.
  • Asset Accumulation: As your estate becomes more complex, its security becomes even more imperative. An attorney can assist in safeguarding this growth.
  • Preparing for Retirement: Planning for an enjoyable and worry-free future is integral to preparing for retirement, and an attorney can help maximize your investments and savings accounts.
  • Changes in Health: If you or someone close to you is facing health challenges, your estate plan should be updated so it can address long-term and medical care needs effectively.


What criteria must I follow to select an experienced attorney?

Finding a suitable attorney is of utmost importance, so consider these criteria when selecting your counsel:

  • Experience: When selecting an attorney to assist in estate planning and probate proceedings, experience is of utmost importance.
  • Specialization: Select an attorney specializing in estate and elder law.
  • Customer Testimonials: Reading testimonials from previous clients to measure satisfaction can provide insight into whether their needs have been met.
  • Effective Communication: Effective attorney communication is of utmost importance, so ensure they explain complex legal matters in terms that can be understood by you.
  • Fees and Transparency: Before hiring an attorney, always inquire into their fees and the way in which they charge for their services.


Why Choose Janssen Estate Probate & Elder Law

Once we've explored the myths and benefits associated with hiring an attorney, you may wonder why our firm stands out from others. There are various factors why our firm stands out.

  • Experience: We have over 35 years of experience serving the Kansas City Metropolitan Area with excellence.
  • Client-Centric Approach: We aim to understand your needs and customize our services according to them.
  • Legal Expertise: Our team of attorneys specializes in estate planning, elder law, and probate services and offers the best advice available.
  • Transparency: Our fees and services are clearly disclosed so you always know what to expect.
  • Proven Results: Our success speaks for itself and shows our dedication to helping clients attain optimal results.


Suggestions for Action

Now that you understand the truth behind myths and the importance of fact-checking, why hiring an attorney is beneficial, and why our firm stands out, it's time for action!

  • Consult an Attorney: If you haven't done so already, make an appointment to meet with a specialist in estate planning to discuss your needs and objectives.
  • Review Your Existing Plan: Take time to carefully examine your existing estate plan and make sure it reflects your current circumstances.
  • Verify Beneficiaries: Be certain the beneficiaries on your retirement plans, life insurance policies, and accounts are up-to-date.
  • Think About Your Legacy: Consider what legacy you wish to leave and how an estate plan could support those values.
  • Stay Informed: Stay up-to-date on changes to estate and probate law that could alter your estate plan.

Estate and probate don't need to be a confusing process. Take control of your financial future by dispelling misconceptions, seeking professional advice, and selecting an experienced attorney. Don't put off taking action and protecting your estate! Take the necessary steps right now. Contact us today at 913-322-6300 or send us an email on our Contact Page.