As you go through your day-to-day activities you will generally find that there is no shortage of people who are willing to give you advice. There are those who simply cannot resist the chance to take the floor, but many times these individuals have little to no useful information to share. This propensity multiplied a number of times leads to the circulation of a lot of bad information, and you really can’t afford bad advice when you’re planning your estate.
In most cases it’s not that people are giving out erroneous information intentionally. Sometimes they are just repeating things that they heard, and there are urban myths aplenty out there. For example, there are those who are under the impression that the state will seize your property if you die intestate or without a will. As estate planning attorneys drawing up wills is part of what we do, so we are certainly supportive of the practice. However, the fact is that your closest family members would receive your property if you pass away without a will via standard legal rules of descent.
People also sometimes get outdated information because they’re not consistently staying abreast of estate planning news and they then pass this around to the disadvantage of all concerned. To present an example, the Bush era tax cuts were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010 and if that had taken place the estate tax exclusion would have reverted back to the 2002 level of $1 million.
So, there were countless articles written during the 2010 calendar year that referred to the “fact” that the estate tax exclusion would be $1 million in 2011. Some of those articles are still out there on the Internet, and in fact there are articles dating back even further that cite parameters that are no longer in place. As a result people will sometimes advise others based on faulty information that is no longer accurate.
The only way to be sure that you are getting good information when you are engaged in inheritance planning is to consult with an experienced, licensed estate planning attorney who has spent or her career fully immersed in the field.
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