Estate planning is an act of love for family members

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

Many Pennsylvania residents spend their lives providing for their families because they love them. Why should planning for their own incapacitation or death be any different? Estate planning is often their last act of love for their families since it prevents surviving family members from having to deal with figuring out what to do next while they try to grieve for the loss and attempt to move forward with their lives.

Most estate plans include documents such as a will, health care and financial powers of attorney, and living wills. Trusts are also an option for many people regardless of wealth, depending on their wishes and needs. Without at least a will, the state of Pennsylvania decides who inherits the estate despite what the individual might have preferred.

It is important to gather as much documentation regarding the assets that make up an estate as possible -- especially if an individual intends to put them all into a trust. Even so, most wills contain a clause regarding to provide for any assets not otherwise mentioned in the will or placed into a trust. The people chosen to carry out the wishes expressed in an estate plan need to be trusted individuals who understand what they will be required to do, are willing to serve and will act in accordance with the instructions laid out in the estate plan.

Numerous DIY programs are available for estate planning, but using them opens up one's estate to challenges. These documents fail to account for one's unique circumstances and might not include vital provisions or be executed in accordance with current state laws. The up-front costs of enlisting the aid of an attorney outweigh the potential for probate litigation and help avoid confusion for family members when the time comes.

Source: goodmenproject.com, "Estate Planning Guide: How Can a Man Protect Himself and His Family After Death?", Patrick Watt, Jan. 24, 2017

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