Fat and Estate Planning: Debunking the Myths

Did you know that fat is back?  Yup, after being told all our lives about the risk of a high fat diet, research now proves that healthy fats actually decrease the risk of heart disease and help promote weigh loss.  Similarly, counting calories is a thing of the past. No more looking at the calorie content of the foods you eat, now it’s all about macros (that is, the fat, carbohydrate and protein content.) And great news because you don’t have to go out for that dreaded run to be “healthy.” Short high intensity workouts have proven to have a longer (24-48 hours) after burn effect, where with running at continuous pace, the calorie burning stops the minute you finish your run.

 I could go on with the health and fitness myths, but the purpose of this blog is not to stop you from enjoying your current health and fitness routine (I mean, I am a marathon runner after all); rather, like the above, it’s to clear up some common misconceptions . . .only relating to estate planning.  Not as much fun but stick with me and it may help those of you who have postponed estate planning because you think it is too expensive or not relevant to you get with the program (but still, look into the fat thing, it’s changed my nutrition habits completely).

  Three Myths about Estate Planning Debunked

Myth: Estate planning is expensive and takes too much time. 

Nope, exactly the opposite is true. I mean, there are legal expenses associated with drafting the documents, but in the long term, estate planning saves both money and time. Without an estate plan, your heirs will be left to endure probate, which is can take years and requires attorney fees and court costs throughout the process.  Additionally, many firms today will accept payment plans or create an estate plan that will fit your budget.

 Myth: Estate planning is only for rich people.

I hear this all the time.  “I don’t have an estate, why do I need an estate plan?” Short answer: you don’t need a mansion and a luxury vehicle to require a plan.  An estate refers to things you own, such as a home, a car, or a bank account. None of those must be fancy or grandiose. Establishing an estate plan provides direction on what to do with those assets and gives clear direction to loved ones during a difficult time, not just death.  An Estate plan will ensure, among other things, that

 -        Your finances are managed if you are in a severe accident or become incapacitated;

-        Decisions regarding health care will be carried out as intended; and

-        Your children will be cared for by the people you chose in the way that you chose if you are unable.

 Myth: Estate planning is important, but not urgent.

An estate plan is important for people of all ages. A good estate plan includes documents to address healthcare needs in case, for example, you are incapacitated; it allows financial obligations to be addressed if you are unable to do so in case of disability or simple unavailability. Most important, these documents express your wishes as to who should care for your children if you are unable to. It might not feel urgent, but an estate plan is an invaluable gift to your family.