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2 common estate planning myths

There are a lot of myths about estate planning, and if New York residents buy into these myths, it could leave their best laid estate plans in ruin. This article will discuss two persisting myths about estate planning for people who are married, why these myths aren't true and what you need to know about them.

First, a lot of married couples mistakenly believe that they do not need a will. They think that their estates will automatically go to their spouses when they die. However, every state has different estate laws, which could prevent all of your estate from going to your spouse. For example, in New York, if your spouse had children of his or her own at the time of death, then you will only receive the first $50,000 of his or her estate and the rest you will split with your spouse's children. As such, every New York resident should familiarize him or herself with state intestacy laws, and write a will to indicate how his or her assets should be dispensed following death.

Second, another reason why you want to write a will is because your spouse might not be alive when you pass away. If you are the only one in your marriage who is still alive, then your last marriage is not relevant and the courts will treat you as a single person. Your assets could end up going to distant relatives rather than the friends, relatives or charities that are closest to you.

Do you see how these myths could cause problems for your estate planning? New York residents who have questions about estate planning may want to discuss their situations with an attorney who can help them in this regard.

Source: Washington Blade, "Myths of estate planning," May 28, 2016

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