Estate planning is not just about distributing your assets after you die. It’s also about preparing for the possibility that you may become incapacitated and thus be unable to make decisions for yourself. If something happens to you and you can’t communicate your wishes, your family will have to rely on Pennsylvania state law to determine how your assets are distributed and who makes decisions on your behalf. Therefore, if you are creating an estate plan, some of the key things you’ll need to consider are as follows:
How you’d want your assets distributed
The first step in creating an estate plan is deciding how you want your assets distributed. This includes both monetary assets and things like property, jewelry, and other valuables. You may need to list all your assets and who you want to receive them.
Estate planning also involves deciding what should happen to any debts you have. For example, if you have a mortgage or credit card debt, you’ll need to specify how those should be paid off in a manner that won’t affect your heir’s inheritance.
Creating a will
A will is a document that allows you to spell out your wishes on how you want your assets distributed after you die. It is also where you’ll name a guardian that would take care of your minor children and your estate administrator.
Naming a credible executor (estate administrator)
An executor is a person who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. They must be credible, trustworthy, and have the best interest of your beneficiaries and estate at heart. If you choose any random person that doesn’t really know what they’ll be doing, you’ll make life very difficult for your loved ones after you are gone.
Creating a durable power of attorney and a living will
A durable power of attorney in Pennsylvania is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. A living will (or advance directive), on the other hand, is a legal document that specifies the medical treatment you do and don’t want to receive if you become incapacitated.
Creating a solid estate plan can take some time. There are a lot of tools you can use depending on your goals and situation. Hence, it’s advisable to start as soon as you can.