ESTATE PLANNING FAQs
Do I really need an estate plan? Won’t everything just pass automatically to my spouse?
If you die without a will, Pennsylvania law will provide for how your estate is distributed. If you are married with children, typically your estate will pass to your spouse and children equally. If you are unmarried, it may pass to you children, or if you have no children, your parents. Intestacy law provides for alternative beneficiaries if these are not an option. Overall, yes, everyone should ideally have a will to ensure that their property passes exactly how they want, not exactly how Pennsylvania says it should be distributed. Sometimes intestacy law can mirror your own wishes, but not always so it is critical to speak to an attorney and understand the process.
I don’t have many assets, is it even important for me to have an estate plan?
Attorneys sound like a broken record, but yes, everyone should have an estate plan. Even if you don’t have significant assets now, you might when you pass away. Further, even if you think you don’t have much, ensuring that what you do have is distributed the way you want it very important. Especially if you have minor children, talking with an attorney about your estate plan and how to provide for them can make all the difference. Don’t just assume that your situation doesn’t merit the need for proper estate planning. An experience attorney can provide a simple, but comprehensive plan to meet your needs.
Do I really need a Power of Attorney?
When most people think about estate planning, their main focus is a will. While a will is an important document, a comprehensive estate plan often also includes other documents, like a Power of Attorney. This document appoints an agent to act on your behalf to assist with management of your finances. Executing a Power of Attorney now will often prevent the need for guardianship proceedings down the road, if something happens and you can’t manage your own finances. Having this document well before you might ever need it can save your loved ones time and money and allow them to help you when and if you need it.
Legal disclaimer: The information provided in these FAQs is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for personal legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Further, legal advice cannot be given without full consideration of all relevant information relating to an individual’s specific situation. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied.