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The biggest estate planning myth: You can do it when you're older

There are a lot of estate planning myths out there. People give bad advice about how to avoid estate taxes. They don't understand how trusts work. They think that only the super-rich need to have an estate plan.

This is why you don't want to ask friends and family members for advice. They may mean well, but they could repeat some common myths that could really cause problems for you as you do your estate planning. Make sure you get your information from a trusted source.

Perhaps the biggest estate planning myth, though, is one that a lot of people simply buy into on their own: They think that they can just start up their estate planning when they get older.

After all, who needs an estate plan? You probably think of a grandparent, well past retirement age, figuring out how to leave assets so that the grandkids can go to college or so that their own adult children can keep the cabin in the family.

The reality, though, is that you may not have decades or even years. No one really knows how long they have. If you have assets, and especially if you have children, you need an estate plan. Plus, estate planning can encompass your medical wishes if you're unable to make your choices known -- after a serious injury, for instance -- and so it can be helpful even if you don't have significant assets.

Estate planning isn't something you want to put off. Don't buy into the myth. Make sure you know what steps to take.

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