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Why Your Family Needs an Estate Plan

by | Dec 14, 2020 | Estate Planning

Fifty-seven percent of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust despite the fact that seventy-six percent of adults in the United States view them as important.   You may wonder why that is the case, but are you one of those 57%?

When I speak to many first time clients, I ask them about their estate planning and I almost always hear that they want to do it but they just procrastinate.   Another handful of people believe that it isn’t necessary because they “don’t have any assets”.  Understand, as I’ve discussed before, the three different types of planning.  For those that procrastinate, you will find yourself in the “crisis planning” because of waiting until the absolute last minute.  Just finish reading this blog and you’ll see why even if you “don’t have assets” there isn’t a reason to procrastinate.  An estate plan can provide significant peace of mind by ensuring your assets are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your property is passed down according to your wishes.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a last will and testament and/or a trust? (Do you want the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decide who gets your property that you worked your entire life to acquire?  Even if it’s not much, should it be left up to the state?)
  • Who should handle your estate after you pass? (If you don’t timely do estate planning there’s a much greater chance that an estate will need to be opened.  Who should decide who is in charge? You or the Courts?)
  • Who will take care of your children or pets? (Wouldn’t you like to decide that even if you don’t have assets?)
  • Have the proper powers of attorney been prepared? (A financial power of attorney will allow you to designate an individual to make financial and property decisions for you should you become unable to handle your own affairs. A medical power of attorney enables you to designate a person you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are otherwise unable to speak for yourself..)
  • Do you have a living will? (It memorializes your wishes concerning your end of life care, such as whether you would like to receive life support if you are in a vegetive state or terminal condition.)
  • Do you have enough insurance? (If you become incapacitated or die, it is important for your family or loved ones to have information about your insurance (such as life, health, disability, long term care, etc.)so that claims can be filed.
  • Do you have a list of your accounts and other important information, including bank and investment accounts, titles to vehicles and homes, credit card accounts or loans, digital accounts (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and passwords, Social Security cards, passports and birth certificates, which may be needed to manage your property when you are incapacitated or settle your estate once you are gone. NOTE: This information should be kept in a safe place and shared only with trusted family members or loved ones.
  • A list of legal, financial, and medical professionals who have performed services for you is also important. The list should include their contact information so your family can easily reach them in the event their help is needed if you become disabled or die.
  • Do you have a general signed HIPAA authorization in your plan? (If desired, you should also ensure HIPAA authorizations are in place with medical professionals to ensure your family members are able to obtain needed information).

After reading all of that there should only be two more questions on your mind?

When can I make an appointment for a free consultation? (Use the link below to schedule at your convenience).

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You can always contact our law offices online or by telephone at 484-272-5133.