It is important to have an estate plan in place, but having one and forgetting about it can lead to problems later on. Life is constantly changing, and neglecting to revise your estate plan could lead to your wishes not being carried out and your loved ones unprotected. Careful planning and circling back on a regular basis is the best way to handle estate planning.
Life changes, and choices made in the past might not reflect what should be included in your estate plan. For example, if you have chosen your uncle to be the executor but he recently moved to the other side of the country, he might be unable to carry out the duties. Executors have a lot of responsibilities that involve time and effort, so you might need to choose another person. The same applies to guardians. It is crucial to have a guardian who is able to care for your children.
Assigning a power of attorney is also part of estate planning, so you will want to have the “agent” ready, willing, and qualified to step in should you be unable to make vital health and financial decisions. This person do not have to be a relative, either. Oftentimes, people choose a close family friend, lawyer, or another professional to be their agent.
Additionally, it is wise to review who the beneficiaries are since some relationships may have changed. You might also want to consider setting up a trust as well.
An estate plan review can be done annually when you go over your financial plan. Otherwise, you will want to do it two or more times a year. Life events that might dictate revisions include a marriage, divorce, disability, death, a child becoming an adult, purchasing a large asset like a new home, new investments, and a change in the number of dependents.
What Is Involved in Estate Planning?
A last will and testament is usually part of estate planning, and it specifies how and to whom your property will be distributed. You can name an executor, but make sure the person knows what is involved. When the time comes, the will may have to go through probate, which can take time.
In Pennsylvania, the lengthy probate process could be avoided if a trust is in place. There are different kinds, but for the most part, they consist of a trustor, a trust, and trust beneficiaries.
You need not work with a lawyer to create an estate plan. If you are not familiar with how state laws apply and all the other details, your wishes might not be carried out. For this reason, it is critical to have a lawyer.
Media Estate Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help With All of Your Estate Planning Needs
Estate planning can be complicated, but you can leave the hard work to one of our skilled Media estate lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.