Thinking about a time when you are no longer here is difficult. For some people, the emotional nature and morbidity of this reality can result in an avoidance of planning for the future and creating an estate plan. While thinking about death is difficult, what may be more difficult is knowing that you don’t have a plan for your assets, property, medical care, and providing for your family at the time that a serious injury or health event occurs. At the law office of van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our Reading estate planning attorneys cannot overstate the value of an estate plan.
Call us today to start creating your estate plan and preparing for your future.
Elements of an Estate Plan
A strong estate plan is comprised of various different legal tools and documents. These include:
- Last will and testament. Also known simply as a “will,” a last will and testament is used to leave assets to beneficiaries and organizations, name an executor/administrator of your estate, specify how you want debts to be paid, and name a guardian for any minor children. A will is a foundational element of an estate plan.
- Living will/advanced directive. Another important element of an estate plan is a living will, also called an advanced directive. This type of document outlines your wishes for healthcare and end-of-life care should you be incapacitated to the point where you cannot communicate these wishes yourself. For example, an advanced directive can be used to inform your doctor of your preferences related to the use of feeding tubes, resuscitation, palliative care, organ donation, and more.
- A trust is a financial tool that is used to leave assets to beneficiaries. Assets are placed in a trust which is then managed by a trustee. The trustee is responsible for distributing assets to beneficiaries per the terms of a trust. Forming a trust may be a smart part of an estate plan, particularly because assets in a trust may be protected from liability, do not have to go through the probate process, and may also yield tax mitigation benefits.
- Powers of attorney. Finally, your estate plan should include powers of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated to the point where you are not able to make those decisions for yourself. There are two common power of attorney types: a healthcare power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.
Why Work with Our Reading Estate Planning Attorneys?
Creating an estate plan is serious business and something that you want to do with an experienced attorney on your side who understands the various laws related to estate planning and how to create an estate plan that protects the interests of you and your loved ones. Our Reading attorneys are passionate about what we do, committed to our clients, and have decades of combined legal experience.
To learn more about creating an estate plan and how our law firm can help, please call our trusted Reading, PA estate planning lawyers directly today to schedule your first meeting with our firm. We look forward to serving you.