Drafting a will and creating an estate plan is not something most people like to think about. However, regardless of your age or socioeconomic status, a solid estate plan can protect your interests and the legacy you leave behind. Seeking the counsel of estate planning attorneys can help to ensure your wishes are carried out, make things easier for your loved ones, and give you peace of mind.
Important Questions to Consider
Lawyers who specialize in wills recommend taking some time to consider your wishes for what will happen after you pass away and who you want to manage your affairs if something were to happen while you are still alive. You may want to ask yourself these important questions:
- Who do I want to decide on my behalf if I am incapacitated?
- What types of medical care and life-sustaining measures do I want if I become ill or injured?
- Who will I name as guardians for my minor children?
- How do I want my estate to be divided after my death?
Although it can be a difficult subject to breach, discussing these matters with your loved ones and an attorney can help you create an estate plan that works best for your family.
How an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help
There are several essential elements that go into creating an estate plan. In addition to drafting a will, estate planning lawyers can help you create powers of attorney, trusts, and any other legal documents that might be useful in your specific circumstances. If you own a business, it is vital to think about business succession planning if you haven’t already. It often goes hand in hand with estate planning and can keep your business rolling along smoothly in the event of your retirement, illness, or passing.
Creating a will can help your loved ones avoid a lengthy probate process and ensure your wishes are carried out as you intended. You can name guardians for minor children, specify how your assets will be dispersed, and include details about how you’d like personal items to be distributed. You can also name caretakers for your pets and include specifics about their care.
Trusts are valuable estate planning tools that can also allow you to specify how to distribute assets, provide tax advantages, and help assets avoid probate so beneficiaries have access to them sooner. If you have children or other loved ones who need someone to manage money or assets for them, a trust ensures those funds and property are used according to your wishes.
Powers of Attorney
Durable powers of attorney help protect you in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself. A power of attorney for health care allows you to name an agent to make medical decisions for you. This document outlines what kind of medical care you want and what you don’t want. You can also include an advance directive, which enables you to express your wishes for end-of-life care.
In a power of attorney for finances, you name an agent to handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. It can be as specific or as broad as you would like. Your agent can do things like pay bills, sell property, and manage assets on your behalf.
Thinking about what may happen after you are gone can be overwhelming. Estate planning lawyers guide you through the process and provide compassionate, practical advice that meets your needs. If you are looking for an estate planning law firm in eastern Pennsylvania, our team can help.