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Part I: Estate planning myths that will not go away

There are some myths that simply will not die. Even today there are people who believe that the Earth is flat, George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and that Columbus discovered America. Estate planning is, unfortunately, not immune from its own myths and legends.

The most popular estate planning myth is, without a doubt, the mistaken notion that estate planning is only for the wealthy. The reality is that everyone who owns property, or who is married or has children or other dependents, should have at minimum a will.

Most of those listed above will do their heirs - and themselves - favors by sitting down with an estate planning attorney and creating a plan that includes one or more of the following: irrevocable trust or revocable trust, health care power of attorney, a prenuptial agreement, a living will and advanced directive.

By talking over your assets, wishes, circumstances and assets with an estate planning attorney, you can dispense with another popular myth: estate planning is only about asset distribution after you've passed. In fact, several of the planning tools mentioned above protect you in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to make health or financial decisions for yourself.

Other tools can protect your assets, and also help your loved ones avoid time-consuming and expensive probate and punitive taxes.

We will take a look at a few more estate planning myths in an upcoming post in our Brevard County legal blog.

If you have questions about how you can best protect your loved ones, your assets and yourself, please contact a Cocoa lawyer today to discuss your options.

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