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Home > Top 16 Misconceptions in Estate Planning

Top 16 Misconceptions in Estate Planning

By Louis N. Teti

Updated: May 13, 2016


  1. “We are concerned about our son’s marriage and whether it will last, but his inheritance from us won’t be part of his and his wife’s marital estate if he gets divorced after I die.”
  2. “I don’t need to read my Will for accuracy. My lawyer sent a draft to me, but he told me what was in the Will, so I’m sure everything is fine.”
  3. “My children can handle their inheritances at age 21. They don’t need a Trustee watching over their money.”
  4. “I don’t need a ‘Living Will’—my family knows that I don’t want any ‘extraordinary measures’ if there is no hope.”
  5. “I don’t need a Durable Power of Attorney. My daughter takes care of all of my finances, so I added her name as a joint owner on all of my accounts. She knows that when I die, it all gets split four ways among her and her three sisters.”
  6. “I’m not worried about beneficiary designations on my life insurance and retirement benefits. I think I named my husband, and I don’t need to be concerned about the ‘contingent’ beneficiary.”
  7. “Probate is something that I must avoid!”
  8. “My sister can handle the duties of Trustee… all she has to do is hold on to the Trust assets and make sure that the children receive them at the ages stipulated in my Will. It won’t take her any time at all, plus she won’t charge for serving.”
  9. “A Prenuptial Agreement is not necessary in our case…we know that our marriage will last, and that our children from our previous marriages will be protected after we pass.”
  10. “My husband and I have ‘joint Wills’, so we know that when the second of us dies, everything will pass to our children as we have provided in those Wills.”
  11. “We have a lot of life insurance, but since insurance is not taxable, there is no need to worry about doing any tax planning for that particular asset.”
  12. “We own everything jointly as husband and wife, so there is no need to worry about a Will until one of us dies.”
  13. “It’s been five years since I last reviewed my Will, but my intentions are the same, so I am okay.”
  14. “I just have a minor revision to my Will, so I’ll just mark the changes and initial them.”
  15. “I don’t need a lawyer to assist me with my Will—I found a very good form on the Internet.”
  16. “My estate isn’t large enough to worry about ‘estate planning’.”

Teti_HRLouis N. Teti represents individuals and businesses in a wide range of estate, business and tax planning matters. He can be reached at 610-840-0312 or [email protected].