Advance Directives and Living Wills: What’s the Difference?

Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 4

Have you been following our ongoing estate planning post series here on the blog in recent months? If so, you’ve likely noticed that much of estate planning has to do with establishing legally valid documentation that conveys your end-of-life wishes regarding your assets and property.

Did you know that there is also specific estate planning documentation that deals with your personal health and physical body? You may have heard of these advance directives, but likely have many questions. Today’s post focuses on healthcare decision-making at times when a person cannot express their wishes, how their wishes are properly documented, and why you should seriously consider establishing these instructions as part of your unique estate plan.

This may sound relatively simple, and you’ll find that do-it-yourself forms are widely available online—after all, what’s a little bit of paperwork? However, there are many different points to consider, and even modest estates can benefit from strategizing with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that the right documents are prepared in the right way to accomplish your goals and support your loved ones.

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More on Trusts: Are They Right For Me?

Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 3

In discussing essential documents in Chapter 1 of our Complete Guide to Estate Planning, we took a brief look at trusts and gave some basic information about how these arrangements can be confusing or problematic. There are a vast number of different types of trusts, and unfortunately, they are often marketed and sold to individuals who do not actually need them to accomplish their estate planning goals.

Today’s post digs a little deeper into what distinguishes a few of the different types of trusts from one another so you can begin to understand whether you might want to include a trust in your unique estate plan to account for a specific financial goal. One word of caution, however—setting up trusts is not something you should attempt without guidance from a seasoned estate planning attorney. Taking a DIY approach to estate planning, and especially to establishing trusts, will likely create problems for your loved ones later, and can also easily result in greater ongoing tax expenses for the rest of your life.

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Understanding Power of Attorney and What It Means For Estate Planning

Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 2

As we touched on in the previous chapter of our Complete Guide to Estate Planning, power of attorney (POA) is an essential estate planning document that gives a trusted individual or individuals, which you designate, the power to act on your behalf.

These designees are referred to as your “agents” or “attorneys-in-fact,” and they can take any action specified in the document such as managing your general affairs if you are unable to do so, or simply completing a single project for you, like selling your home. POA designations are flexible and can be shaped to accommodate a variety of circumstances.

Have you been wondering whether designating a power of attorney for yourself or a loved one is a good idea? Or perhaps someone close to you has asked you to take on this responsibility for them?

As part of our ongoing post series, comprehensive estate planning information is right here on our blog to make navigating the ins and outs of estate planning in Pennsylvania easy and worry-free. Today’s post offers a closer look at power of attorney designations, why they’re important, and how you can set up clear and effective POA documentation for greater peace of mind.

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More on Estate Planning Basics: What Documents Do I Need?

Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 1

It’s true that estate planning primarily involves the creation of legally valid documents and directives that accomplish your end-of-life wishes. While it also calls for thoughtful conversations with loved ones and often a bit of soul-searching, it is strategizing with an experienced estate planning advisor and assuring that you have all of your documentation in order that is ultimately crucial.

As part of our ongoing post series, your complete guide to estate planning is right here on our blog to make navigating the ins and outs of estate planning in Pennsylvania easy and worry-free. Here’s what you need to think about in terms of key estate planning documents.

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Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning

While it’s true that many people don’t enjoy planning for the end of their lives, a solid estate plan is an invaluable gift to your family and others you wish to remember. And the best way to create your will, decide whether trusts are right for your financial situation, or designate a power of attorney, among other planning matters, is to work with a reputable probate and estates lawyer to guide you.

Today we’re beginning a new post series here on the blog to show you everything you need to think about as you go through the estate planning process, including how to find the most experienced probate and estates attorneys right in your local community. We invite you to stop back frequently for updates and learn more about the estate planning services that the best law firms have to offer.

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Why Living Trusts Do Not Make Sense for Most People

As we’ve often discussed here on the blog, having a well-designed estate plan – no matter the value of your property and assets – is a gift to your family and/or friends who will handle your affairs once you’re no longer living. And there are a lot of things to consider when working through the planning process.

From creating your will to ensuring that someone you trust is designated to make decisions for you via power of attorney should you become seriously ill or incapacitated, there is much to know and understand – especially if minimizing complications for your loved ones is your priority.

One component of estate planning that may fall under creating more complications for executors and heirs is the living trust. While these asset-protective arrangements have great value in some specific circumstances, unfortunately, living trusts are often sold to people who do not actually need them, and the truth is that they don’t tend to make sense for the average individual or estate plan.

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