Estate Planning & Conventional Wisdom?

Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom is defined as a generally accepted theory or belief, and it can be dangerous – thus the above referenced Mark Twain Quote!

Two potentially dangerous examples of conventional wisdom pertain to estate planning; and they are, in fact, myths.

1.) A Will avoids probate…
A Will does not avoid probate. A Will simply tells the Court how you want your assets distributed. How can you avoid probate? Joint ownership and beneficiary designations avoid probate. Trusts can also avoid probate. Trusts also can also provide privacy, unlike a Will, which is a public document.

2.) Creating a trust automatically avoids probate…
In order for a trust to avoid probate, your assets need to be transferred into the trust. At our office, the funding work is done for you; thus you have a better chance of avoiding probate court. Also, it is important for you to review your estate planning documents periodically so that you know it reflects your current situation and wishes. We usually recommend that you revisit your plan at least every five (5) years.