Beginning Steps and How to Get Started with Estate Planning

In life, you will acquire many assets, including family heirlooms, property, vehicles, retirement accounts, and more. Deciding what will happen to all of these things if you should die or become incapacitated isn’t a pleasant thought, but necessary nonetheless. This is why estate planning is crucial for Pennsylvania families and their loved ones they will leave behind someday. A well-crafted estate plan can prevent drawn-out probate processes, disputes and shield your remaining assets from costly taxes and greedy creditors.

It’s never too early to begin planning for your estate, and below are some key steps to start this process with an experienced attorney.

Speak with an Experienced Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney

Your best first step is to consult with an attorney about your question, concerns, and goals when ready to begin planning for your estate. State laws can be complicated, and while do-it-yourself packages online may seem like an easy and affordable option, these are one-size-fits-all deals. Personal estates rarely fit into such a cookie-cutter mold. This means you are more likely to make errors, which could render your plans invalid and subject your surviving family members to a costly and frustrating probate process.

Figure Out What Your Assets Are

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of money to need an estate plan. Anything you own is part of your estate and compiling a comprehensive list of any assets you have is critical. This also includes listing out any debts you owe, banking information, even contact numbers for any investment account advisors you work with is important. Documentation should also be gathered together and kept in a safe place. All of this information will prove extremely helpful when your attorney assesses the value of your estate and determines what elements you need to incorporate within it.

Think About a Contingency Plan

Estate plans let you do more than dictate who gets your assets in the event of your death. You can also outline what should happen in the event of your incapacitation. What if you become severely ill and unable to care for yourself or your finances? Anything can happen in our lifetimes that we don’t expect and having a contingency plan in place can help protect and support you and your family for these circumstances, as well.

Get Your Wishes Documented

To ensure your assets get distributed according to your wishes, legally documenting your desires is a critical piece of your estate plan. This also means that any titles you have of your vehicles or property are named correctly. Your attorney can make sure you have the appropriate powers of attorney in place for your healthcare and financial wishes, as well.

Appointment of Representatives

The designation of a representative to execute your estate plan is another critical step when making a plan. The person you choose will be responsible for ensuring your trust, will, or other legal documents are followed, and your assets distributed according to your wishes.

Keep Your Estate Plan Up-To-Date

As you can see, regardless of where you have just started out in life or now have accumulated a significant amount of wealth throughout your life, you will need to keep your estate plan up-to-date as you reach new milestones. This will help minimize how an unexpected death or disability impacts your family and assets. When you choose an experienced Pennsylvania estate planning attorney, keep in mind, you want counsel that you can build a relationship with to make modifications later easier.

Speak with an Experienced Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney

Determining the type of legacy you want to leave behind for your spouse, children, grandchildren, or business is an important undertaking that should not be procrastinated. Attorneys like those at Antanavage Farbiarz, PLLC, can help you avoid common pitfalls that can jeopardize your estate should you become incapacitated or pass away. You may think it is too soon to even think about your estate or believe you do not have enough property to justify planning, but the reality is the sooner you plan, the better.

Attorney Russell Farbiarz works with you to create an estate plan customized to your needs and goals for your assets. From creating an asset protection strategy that minimizes taxation to ensuring that you have the necessary healthcare proxies in place so your family can make decisions on your behalf, her law firm has the years of experience you need.

Contact his firm today and schedule a consultation to learn more about the comprehensive services offered by her Berks County legal team.

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