Estate planning – many people in Pennsylvania may be hesitant to begin the process because they either think that it is too complicated or that they don’t need an estate plan. But, are the people who are thinking like this really believe the myths about estate planning?

A recent news article detailed some of the most common myths about estate planning. For starters, there is the myth that all a person needs is a will. While having a will in place is definitely the bedrock of any sound, comprehensive estate plan, there may be assets that are not directly tied to the directions in a will, such as joint bank accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These assets will almost always be distributed outside of the directions contained in a will. Joint bank accounts pass to the surviving joint owners while retirement accounts and life insurance policies pay based on beneficiary designation. 

The next myth is that it is acceptable to wait until your more senior years to think about estate planning. As previous posts here have pointed out, younger people can benefit from having an estate plan in place as well, particularly those who have children and who need to name a potential guardian for those children if tragedy strikes.

Lastly, there is the myth that once an estate plan has been drafted and signed, it is “written in stone.” That is definitely not the case. Many estate planning documents need to be re-visited from time to time to be updated to make sure that all provisions of the plan reflect the most up-to-date status of a person’s life and family situation.