There are five estate planning myths that can be detrimental to your estate planning process. Make sure you understand the value of estate planning and consult with an Arizona estate planning attorney as soon as possible.

Estate Planning Is Only for the Wealthy

Since so much of the focus from many financial advisors and estate planning attorneys has to do with estate taxes, you may be under the impression that estate planning is not for you.   This is a big mistake.  Estate planning involves far more than planning to avoid taxes.  There is much to be done even if you do not  have an estate that might be subject to estate tax (in excess of $5,540,000 in 2016).

Estate Planning Is Only for the Elderly

Death or disability can come to anyone at any time.  You never know when you may need the help an organized, well-thought-out estate plan can provide.   Planning now will provide peace of mind and may save your heirs a great deal of time and trouble.

Having a Will Means I Can Forget About Probate

Most people understand that the most basic estate planning document is a will. But they may be under the false impression that having a will allows their heirs to avoid the probate process. Probate can be a long and costly process in which at least one court, and possibly more, determines who inherits your assets. Although the will does give the court some guidance on your wishes, it doesn’t, on its own, allow you to avoid probate.  This is especially true if someone contests your will.  Consulting a knowledgeable estate planning attorney will help you know whether probate will likely come to your estate.

I Can Handle Drafting Estate Planning Documents on My Own

Many people believe that due to the prevalence of on-line estate-planning documents it is easy to document your plan on your own estate plan. Small mistakes in your estate planning can end up costing your beneficiaries in a big way, so it is always important to seek guidance from an experienced Arizona estate planning attorney.

All of My Assets Need to Be In a Trust to Avoid Probate

A revocable, living trust is an extremely powerful tool for transferring wealth from one generation to the next and for helping you manage your assets during lifetime.    However, while assets transferred to a revocable trust will avoid probate, other assets you own may not need to be transferred to the revocable trust:  Annuities and retirement plans fall into this category.  You should discuss probate avoidance with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Five Estate Planning Myths, or any other estate planning matters, please feel free to contact Stephen L. West at 480.461.5341,or Curtis M. Chipman at 480.461.5329. You can also log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.