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Estate planning myths: Don’t believe everything you hear

| Sep 4, 2020 | Estate Planning |

When Tennessee residents sit down to take stock of their assets and liabilities before engaging in estate planning, they come to the table with a number of emotions. While one may be feeling anxious when thinking about the end of their life, they should not be feeling pressure to behave in a certain way. There are a few misconceptions that arise when someone is estate planning and putting them to rest before creating one is a good idea.

People automatically feel they should leave their children everything, which is a great beginning, but it should not be the end. In order to make estate planning a useful exercise, people should be thinking about how to best put their assets to use. This might be better served by creating a foundation that children can lead. The idea is to stop thinking automatically and to start thinking creatively.

In that vein, many believe they should be fair and equitable while distributing assets between their children. Children have different skills and dreams. Instead of divvying up a family business between kids who may not have an interest in running one, a more difficult but better decision might be leaving it to the family member who shows an aptitude and interest in running it.

Some may believe that creating a trust is the simplest and best way to manage assets, but it is important to understand that this is a complex solution. When assets are placed in a trust, the trustee then has control over it and it is his or her fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, not the grantor. This can strain family relationships. An experienced attorney can explain how to avoid this conflict, for example by putting a corporate fiduciary alongside a family member. They can also discuss various tools at one’s disposal to ensure assets are distributed in the manner intended.