The Three Biggest Estate Planning Myths

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Martella Law Firm

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Jun 20, 2024

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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It’s human nature to put off what we IMAGINE will be a difficult experience or if it is something that we just don’t want to think about.  In my over 30 years of experience, I have found that MOST PEOPLE, including lawyers, think of estate planning as something that they can do “later”. Unfortunately for many, “later” often becomes “too late.” Some of the thoughts that may have crossed your mind are that: “I’m going to live for a long time and I’ll get around to it next year;” or “I’d rather spend my money right now on a new ultra HDTV, and I can wait to do estate planning at another time.”  Well in this article, I am going to debunk the THREE BIGGEST MYTHS that may be preventing you from moving forward with your estate plan and why the best time to do it is RIGHT NOW, no matter your age.

MYTH #1- PUTTING TOGETHER AN ESTATE PLAN IS TOO TIME CONSUMING AND EXPENSIVE.

            Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to putting together an Estate Plan when working with the Martella Law Firm.  First, when it comes to convenience, I offer an initial consultation via Zoom or phone so you can do the initial meeting to learn about your options in the comfort of your living room, in your shorts and a t-shirt if you like, while sipping a cool beverage.  I also offer a traditional in-person consultation if you prefer to meet face to face.  I will then send you draft documents to review via e-mail so again there is no need to leave the comfort of your home.  Finally, when it comes to the signing of the documents, that is the only time you would have to come to my office.  Even then, if you are in a hospital or other medical facility where you cannot leave, we will come to you.  Therefore, the excuse that it’s too hard is a fallacy. 

As far as expense is concerned, first, the initial consultation is complimentary.  Accordingly, you can get all your questions about putting an estate plan together answered for FREE, at no obligation to you, and learn how a proper plan can not only protect your family, but also save them money if you are sick or after you are gone.  Additionally, an estate plan for an individual starts at only $1,200 at my firm, and I offer payment plans as well, so you can have an estate plan over a few months for probably much less than what you are spending each month on dining out.  Also, with the right plan in place, for a small investment now in a Trust, you could save your heirs $5,000 to $10,000 or more in a costly probate proceeding after your death.

MYTH #2- I DON’T HAVE ANY ASSETS SO I DON’T NEED AN ESTATE PLAN. 

The idea that only people with a lot of money and assets need an estate plan is a dangerous misconception that can cause your family a lot of stress and heartache.  While it is true that a Will or a Probate Avoidance Trust can dispose of your assets, there are other documents that everyone needs, no matter their age or health, to protect them and their family when “life happens.”

These documents include the following:

·         Power of Attorney

·         Health Care Surrogate

·         Living Will

·         HIPAA Consent & Waiver

In a medical crisis, these documents will allow you to take care of the needs of your spouse or parent when they are unable to take care of themselves. 

From taking care of banking and real estate, to consenting to medical procedures, these documents make life easier for you and your loved ones.  If you don’t have these documents in place, then you may have to go to court to be appointed your family member’s guardian which can be quite time consuming and expensive.  Believe me, from my personal experience, this is the last thing you want to deal with when your parent or spouse is suffering from a severe medical condition.  I can’t tell you how many times I have received a call from a frantic spouse telling me their other half just had a stroke and they need a power of attorney.  Well, if the other spouse is not competent, it’s too late for the creation of that document and the only option is to apply to be a guardian, even for something as simple as the selling of their house or getting access to a bank account to pay the household bills. 

As you can see, your net worth is irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether you need an estate plan.

MYTH #3- I DON’T NEED A LAST WILL & TESTAMENT BECAUSE EVERYTHING WILL GO TO MY SPOUSE.

This myth can really hurt the surviving spouse if there is no Will and the spouse who died had children from a prior marriage.  If you die without a Will, your estate is called “intestate” and your assets will pass according to Florida’s intestacy laws.  Under Florida law, if you die and you have children from a prior marriage, your wife only gets half of your estate and the other half goes to ALL your children, both from prior relationships and your current marriage.

            This type of distribution can really hurt when the couple may have been surviving on two social security checks and some savings, and by losing the deceased spouses social security and half of their other assets, the surviving spouse can not financially survive.  Also, if it is a second marriage and the deceased spouse was only on the Deed, then the surviving spouse only gets a life estate in the property allowing her to live there for the rest of her life, and when the property is sold, the proceeds go to all the children of the deceased spouse, less the value of the life estate.  If the children didn’t like the stepmom for example, you can image the nightmares for the surviving spouse if she can’t afford the monthly carrying costs, and cannot afford a new home with the small net proceeds from the value of the life estate.  If you want your spouse to get the house, you need a Will to provide for that intention or add them to the deed.

            Again, a proper Estate Plan consists of so much more than a Last Will and Testament.  That is why I offer a complimentary consultation and free informative videos here so you can educate yourself on the vital importance of having a plan in place, for not only your benefit, but for your family’s as well.

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Local Services By This Author

Martella Law P.A.

Probate 18245 Paulson Drive, Port Charlotte, Florida, 33954

At Martella Law, we are dedicated to helping families prepare for when "life happens." We assist individuals and couples in transferring their hard-earned assets to loved ones and navigating end-of-life challenges for themselves and their parents.Areas of PracticeEstate PlanningWe offer solutions for those looking to protect their most important assets, namely their loved ones. Learn moreProbate ServicesWe help heirs navigate the court-supervised process of identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person to transfer to beneficiaries. Learn moreMedicaid PlanningWe focus on the primary financial considerations and requirements to qualify for Medicaid payments for nursing home care. Learn moreTrust AdministrationTrust administration ensures your assets are passed without needing to pursue the probate process for assets properly placed in a trust. Learn moreSmall Business ConsultingFrom helping you decide what type of entity you should be to ensuring your documents are in place, we assist budding entrepreneurs in pursuing the "American Dream." Learn moreMeet Mark MartellaMy passion lies in educating the public about the truth concerning proper estate planning to protect individuals and their families. I'm here to prepare you for when "life happens!"Contact UsI offer a complimentary, confidential consultation in person, or via Zoom or phone if that is more convenient. I am even willing to go to someones home or medical facility for a consult and document signing if they are unable to travel due to physical limitations.Please call Tara at my Port Charlotte office at 941-867-6865. I am conveniently located at: 18245 Paulson Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33954

Martella Law Firm

Estate Planning 18245 Paulson Drive, Port Charlotte, Florida, 33954

At Martella Law, we are dedicated to helping families prepare for when "life happens." We assist individuals and couples in transferring their hard-earned assets to loved ones and navigating end-of-life challenges for themselves and their parents.Areas of PracticeEstate PlanningWe offer solutions for those looking to protect their most important assets, namely their loved ones. Learn moreProbate ServicesWe help heirs navigate the court-supervised process of identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person to transfer to beneficiaries. Learn moreMedicaid PlanningWe focus on the primary financial considerations and requirements to qualify for Medicaid payments for nursing home care. Learn moreTrust AdministrationTrust administration ensures your assets are passed without needing to pursue the probate process for assets properly placed in a trust. Learn moreSmall Business ConsultingFrom helping you decide what type of entity you should be to ensuring your documents are in place, we assist budding entrepreneurs in pursuing the "American Dream." Learn moreMeet Mark MartellaMy passion lies in educating the public about the truth concerning proper estate planning to protect individuals and their families. I'm here to prepare you for when "life happens!"Contact UsI offer a complimentary, confidential consultation in person, or via Zoom or phone if that is more convenient. I am even willing to go to someones home or medical facility for a consult and document signing if they are unable to travel due to physical limitations.Please call Tara at my Port Charlotte office at 941-867-6865.I am conveniently located at:18245 Paulson Drive,Port Charlotte, FL 33954

Martella Law Firm

Business Planning & Consultation 18245 Paulson Drive, Port Charlotte, Florida, 33954

At Martella Law, we are dedicated to helping families prepare for when "life happens." We assist individuals and couples in transferring their hard-earned assets to loved ones and navigating end-of-life challenges for themselves and their parents.Areas of PracticeEstate PlanningWe offer solutions for those looking to protect their most important assets, namely their loved ones. Learn moreProbate ServicesWe help heirs navigate the court-supervised process of identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person to transfer to beneficiaries. Learn moreMedicaid PlanningWe focus on the primary financial considerations and requirements to qualify for Medicaid payments for nursing home care. Learn moreTrust AdministrationTrust administration ensures your assets are passed without needing to pursue the probate process for assets properly placed in a trust. Learn moreSmall Business ConsultingFrom helping you decide what type of entity you should be to ensuring your documents are in place, we assist budding entrepreneurs in pursuing the "American Dream." Learn moreMeet Mark MartellaMy passion lies in educating the public about the truth concerning proper estate planning to protect individuals and their families. I'm here to prepare you for when "life happens!"Contact UsI offer a complimentary, confidential consultation in person, or via Zoom or phone if that is more convenient. I am even willing to go to someones home or medical facility for a consult and document signing if they are unable to travel due to physical limitations.Please call Tara at my Port Charlotte office at 941-867-6865. I am conveniently located at: 18245 Paulson Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33954