Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Do you know what will happen to your assets when you pass away or become incapacitated? If you have children, do you know who will take care of them if anything would happen to you? Estate planning is the process by which you make these and other important considerations in a legally binding fashion while you are still able to do so. Estate planning tasks can include writing a will, granting powers of attorney, setting up trusts, purchasing life insurance, and more.

Because most people are not equipped to perform these tasks on their own, speaking to an estate planning attorney is always a good idea when planning for the future.

Estate planning management in Bucks County, PA

Estate planning lawyers have the experience and knowledge it takes to create a sound plan and take all the steps necessary to execute it. With your estate plan in place, your surviving family members will be able to easily collect and distribute your assets, avoid unnecessary taxation, determine who will care for your children, and more. Appointing powers of attorney in your estate plan will also ensure someone you trust will be making medical and financial decisions for you if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. Without these documents, the courts could appoint a guardian for you, and it may not be the person you would prefer. That is why it is so important to speak with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible.

No matter how old you are, the right time to start planning is now. You never know what the future may hold, so getting your affairs in order now is always a smart move. 

An Estate Plan typically consists of the following documents:

  • Last Will and Testament to provide for the distribution of your property after death.
  • Property Power of Attorney to protect you if you become unable to take care of your affairs during your lifetime.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney to appoint Health Care Agents if you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
  • Living Will to direct what medical treatment you do or do not want to receive in the event you are terminally ill with no hope of recovery.
  • Various types of Trusts dependent on circumstances.

What Is an Executor?

An executor is the person who is responsible for managing the administration of your estate. For example, they might be responsible for managing your assets, making sure that your bills are paid, and ensuring that all of your assets are distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries when the time is right.

You need to think carefully about who you want to be your personal representative, as that individual should not be personally liable for any of the expenses related to your estate. Your executor has a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests and make sure that all of your expenses are paid and that your inheritance is distributed appropriately.

You also need to make sure your personal representative understands how to complete the administration of your estate. They will be responsible for preparing paperwork and filing it with the court and ensuring that everyone who is a party to your estate understands that they might have an interest in it.

Your personal representative may also be responsible for preparing a family settlement agreement. This is a bit more informal, but it could streamline the process on your behalf, particularly if you believe all of your family members and friends will get along and that the distribution of your estate will happen without incident.

This is another situation where it is helpful to work with an estate planning lawyer who can make sure all possible contingencies have been covered.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning

Some of the most common questions that people ask about estate planning include:

It is important for you to start thinking about your estate planning process as early as possible because you need to make sure you prepare for as many possible contingencies as you can. The earlier you start the planning process, the less you will have to do later.

If you want to make sure you are ready for estate planning, you need to start saving all documentation and thinking about what you want to do with your assets. Then, you need to think about possible issues that could arise when you want to distribute your estate, and that is why you should partner with our estate planning attorney to help you.

Do you or a loved one need an estate planning attorney?
DilworthPaxson LLP. can guide you through the process.