Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 7
As we’ve established throughout earlier chapters in our Complete
Guide to Estate Planning, the prospect of probating a friend or family
member’s estate can be scary.
There are many steps involved in opening
probate, determining whether you’ll be required to undertake the formal
process (versus Pennsylvania’s simplified probate process for estates with
assets totaling less than $50,000), and then moving through the appropriate
version of the process itself.
Very complex estates may remain in probate for years. And while the good news is that these
situations tend to be few and far between, taking a DIY approach to probating
an estate of any size is not often a good idea. You can save yourself
frustration and time by consulting with an experienced probate and
Our previous blog post outlining the phases of probate
in Pennsylvania—and what you can expect as you move through this legal
process—is a must-read if you’ve recently been placed in a
fiduciary role as a personal representative for a friend or family member’s
But how do you make even a lengthy probate process as painless
as possible? Today’s post offers a few important steps you can take to survive
probate with minimal frustration.
Continue reading “More on the Probate Process in PA: A Step-by-Step Survival Guide”
Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 6
As the digital age advances and more elements of our lives
move online, a trending question in modern estate planning is how to
manage an individual’s intangible, electronic assets like their web presence
and contents of various online accounts once they have passed away.
It’s true that some of these so-called digital assets can
pass through your
last will to your family members and other heirs, but there are many more
that you don’t actually own the rights to. Yet, these other types of accounts
still often need to be handled in some way—archived, deactivated, deleted—so
that data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
Today’s post highlights a few things you need to think about
your digital life as you work through the entire estate planning process
covered in our ongoing blog series, Your
Complete Guide to Estate Planning.
Continue reading “Estate Planning Considerations for Your Digital Assets”
Your Complete Guide to Estate Planning – CHAPTER 5
Though drafting your last will—the central
document in estate planning—here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may
seem complicated at first, our home state actually has few solid requirements
for what a will must look like. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should scribble
yours on a bar napkin and sign it with a purple marker you found.
Your goal should be to create a clear and unquestionably
valid document that allows your loved ones to administrate
your estate with ease after you’re gone—your will is essentially a gift to
your friends and family in this way. And working with an experienced probate
and estates attorney on all of your estate planning matters
is the best way to accomplish that goal.
This chapter in our Complete
Guide to Estate Planning offers a few tips that will help you write and
maintain (that’s right—this document is not a “set it and forget it” kind of
thing) a solid last will and testament that accomplishes your wishes while
Continue reading “Tips For Crafting Your Last Will & Testament in Pennsylvania”
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
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.
Continue reading “Advance Directives and Living Wills: What’s the Difference?”
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.
Continue reading “More on Trusts: Are They Right For Me?”
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.
Continue reading “Understanding Power of Attorney and What It Means For Estate Planning”