Safeguard Your Family's Future & Make the Most of Your Assets BEGIN WITH A COMPLIMENTARY 2-HOUR CONSULTATION
Book with title estate planning law and a gavel

Dispelling Estate Planning Myths

The Law Offices of Steven H. Peck, Ltd. Feb. 7, 2023

Creating a detailed estate plan allows you to protect your assets, loved ones, and investments and plan for future uncertainties. However, many people are unsure about how estate planning works or believe that it is only for individuals with numerous assets. Whether you have small or large assets, having an estate plan allows you to leave instructions about how your estate and final affairs should be settled when you’re no more. 

Attorney Steven H. Peck provides knowledgeable guidance and dedicated advocacy to clients in the legal matters of estate planning. As a seasoned Illinois estate planning attorney, Steven can inform you about what estate planning entails, explore your possible legal options, and help clarify misconceptions. The firm proudly serves clients across Cook County & Lake County, McHenry County, and DuPage County, Illinois. 

Common Estate Planning Myths 

However, there are several misconceptions and false assumptions surrounding estate planning in Illinois. Due to this, estate planning lawyers must take enough time to educate their clients about the process and help clarify some of the misleading information. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about estate planning in Illinois and a brief explanation of why they’re false: 

Myth #1: Estate planning isn’t necessary until you retire. 

This is a common misconception. Many people believe that estate planning is for seniors, older adults, or individuals already considering retirement. However, this is not true. Estate planning is for every adult. Whether you are a young adult, middle-aged, older adult, or senior, you should create a personalized estate plan that fits you and your loved one’s unique needs. 

Myth #2: I don’t have enough assets to necessitate an estate plan. 

However, many individuals usually decide not to create or might delay their estate plan because of the popular notion that it is only for those with large assets or estates. Conversely, estate planning isn't only for wealthy or rich persons. Whether you have a small or large estate, you and your loved ones can benefit and achieve peace of mind from having a detailed estate plan. 

Myth #3: Using an online form is just as effective as hiring an experienced attorney. 

Among the options to create an estate plan is by using an online form or hiring an experienced attorney. However, online forms are generic, not state-specific, and there is no guidance. Conversely, an experienced lawyer can offer you the detailed legal guidance and reliable advocacy you need to create a comprehensive estate plan that fits your unique situation. 

Myth #4: If I don’t have a will, then my family will decide who gets what. 

This is another common misconception. If you die without a valid will in Illinois, the state's intestate succession laws will determine who gets what or how your assets or estate will be distributed to your surviving loved ones. Hence, to have control over asset distribution when you’re gone, ensure that you create a legal and valid will. 

Myth #5: If I have a will, my estate won’t have to go through probate. 

This is not completely true. Having a last will and testament doesn't mean your estate won't pass through probate. When a person dies testate in Illinois, their will must still be filed with the probate court to establish its validity. Moreover, having a will can help fast-track the probate proceedings. Conversely, you can bypass probate by creating a living trust. 

Myth #6: A will is the only thing that I need in my estate plan. 

Apart from your will, there are still other vital estate planning documents to include in your estate plan. These include: 

  • Living trust 

  • Advance healthcare directive 

  • Powers of attorney 

  • Special needs planning 

  • Personal property memorandum 

  • Letter of intent. 

You may also include your bank accounts, birth certificates, annuities, bills, life insurance policies, divorce records, real estate deeds, retirement accounts, and other vital documents. 

Myth #7: I created an estate plan years ago, so there is nothing left to do. 

However, it is important that the instructions in your estate plan are consistent with your present wishes. Hence, it is advisable that you review and update your estate planning documents regularly or every three to five years.  

Turn to Reliable Legal Direction  

When establishing your estate plan, getting experienced guidance from a seasoned attorney is imperative to make intelligent decisions. Attorney Steven H. Peck has the skill and experience to advise and guide individuals and families in complex estate planning matters. 

As your legal counsel, Attorney Steven H. Peck can work to understand your particular situation, inform you about your available legal options, and help you decide the right choice that fits your needs. In addition, Attorney Steven H. Peck can help draft all your important estate planning documents and create a strategic plan to protect your accumulated assets, wealth, and family’s future. 

Contact The Law Offices of Steven H. Peck, Ltd. today to arrange a consultation with a reliable estate planning lawyer. Attorney Steven H. Peck can direct you through the entire estate planning process from start to finish and help you navigate crucial decisions. The firm proudly serves clients across Cook County & Lake County, McHenry County, and DuPage County, Illinois.