Estate Planning Sign on A Wooden Pier


Law Office of Rodney Gould Feb. 28, 2022

According to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study by, 58% of respondents who don’t have a will said that they haven’t started thinking about it or making a plan. Drafting an estate plan requires proper guidance and experienced representation. However, due to the collective popular notions and false assumptions surrounding the estate planning process, many people are wrongly informed about how estate planning works and why they need one.

The Law Office of Rodney Gould is dedicated to offering comprehensive legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in estate planning-related matters. As a knowledgeable California estate planning attorney, Rodney Gould can help draft vital estate planning documents, including living trusts, wills, powers of attorney, advance directives, and special needs planning, and help you navigate critical decisions in your estate planning. The firm proudly serves clients across Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, and West Hollywood, California.

Common Misconceptions About Estate Planning

There are lots of mistaken beliefs and misinformation out there about estate planning. Due to this, many estate planning attorneys need to educate their clients about how estate planning works and what to expect. Here are some common misconceptions about estate planning and a brief explanation of why they are not true:

Misconception #1: Estate planning isn't necessary until you retire.

This is not true. Estate planning is not only for older adults or people who are nearing retirement. Both seniors and young adults can draft an estate plan to have control over their property, medical, and financial affairs. Regardless of your age, you can also benefit from creating a personalized estate plan that fits your particular needs.

Misconception #2: Using an online form is just as effective as hiring an experienced attorney.

Creating a well-detailed estate plan requires the proper guidance of an attorney who knows about the entire process. If you use an online form, you may be unable to get the informed guidance you need. Hence, you may end up leaving out important details. Conversely, an experienced attorney can educate you about your various legal options and determine the ideal plan that best suits your personal situation.

Misconception #3: If I have a will, my estate won't have to go through probate.

This is a common misconception. Having a will doesn't necessarily mean your estate won't go through probate. Under California Probate Code, the executor must file the last will and testament within 30 days of the decedent's death to establish its validity. Nevertheless, having a will can help accelerate the probate process. Conversely, you can bypass the probate process by creating a trust.

Misconception #4: A will is the only thing that I need in my estate plan.

Aside from your last will and testament, some other important documents to include in your estate plan are:

  • Trusts

  • Powers of attorney

  • Beneficiary designations

  • Advanced healthcare directives

  • Special needs planning

  • Letters of intent

  • Guardianship designations

Misconception #5: I don't have enough assets to necessitate an estate plan.

Due to this mistaken belief, many individuals delay or fail to draft their estate plans. Estate planning isn't only for the rich, and having little assets doesn't stop you from planning for future uncertainties. Whether you have a small or large estate, you can protect your assets and property and help your surviving family members save time and costs after your passing.

Misconception #6: I created an estate plan years ago, so there is nothing left to do.

Many estate planning attorneys advise clients to review and update their will and other estate planning documents from time to time. Ensure that you update your estate plan every three to five years to reflect your current wishes. With this, you can make sure that the provisions of the will or estate plan are in accordance with your present wishes.

Misconception #7: An estate plan is only to establish who gets what when I die.

In addition to allowing you to determine who inherits your assets when you die, an estate plan can help you achieve the following:

  • Protect your assets, property, investment, and interests.

  • Choose a trustworthy person as your personal representative.

  • Make suitable provisions for your surviving loved ones.

  • Make adequate provisions for your minor children.

  • Choose a caretaker for your pets.

  • Avoid the costly and lengthy probate process.

  • Protect your assets, property, investments, and businesses from creditors and frivolous lawsuits.

  • Help beneficiaries avoid or reduce gift, inheritance, and estate taxes.

  • Mitigate disputes and conflicts between family members over asset distribution.

Misconception #8: If I don't have a will, then my family will decide who gets what.

When a person dies without a will (intestate) in California, the state's intestate succession laws will determine who will inherit the estate or how the decedent's estate or assets will be distributed to surviving family members.

Getting the Experienced Legal Guidance You Need

Having a well-detailed estate plan allows you to plan for your family's future and mitigate potential conflicts when settling your final affairs after you're gone. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand the estate planning process, differentiate between facts and fiction, and craft a personalized solution that best suits you and your family's needs.

Rodney Gould is available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about your various options regarding estate planning. Using his in-depth knowledge, he can help draft your will, living trusts, and other crucial documents, and update your existing estate plan. Also, Rodney Gould can guide you through the entire estate planning process and help you achieve your goals of transferring your assets to loved ones when you're gone.

Estate planning can be a complicated task. Contact the Law Office of Rodney Gould today to schedule a simple consultation today with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. Rodney Gould can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel, assistance, and reliable advocacy you need to draft your estate planning documents and make intelligent decisions. The firm proudly serves clients throughout Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, and West Hollywood, California.