Estate Planning FAQs

Preparing for the future of your loved ones for a time when you no longer are around can be an emotionally challenging task. But having your assets in order and end of life wishes documented will save your family from the heartache of unknowns. But estate planning can be complicated and overwhelming, which is why we’ve created an estate planning FAQ guide to get you started.

Does everyone need estate planning?

The common misconception is that only those with high assets need estate planning. However, no matter your income bracket–everyone needs estate planning.

Not only is it beneficial for your loved ones who inherit your estate and assets, but it is a useful tool in determining your end-of-life wishes should something happen and you are unable to communicate them yourself.

In addition, you can avoid probate by being prepared.

Do I need a will or a trust?

Everyone needs a will, but not everyone needs a trust.

While there are a variety of trusts to create, know that if you want to avoid taxes, have a loved one with special needs you’d like to care for after you pass, or have a charity or organization you are passionate about, reaching out to an estate planning attorney to determine what type of trust is right for you will become very beneficial.

Can I use an online will service?

In uncertain times, you may feel that having some sort of will in place is better than none. However, the reality is not so.

The documents you will find online for estate planning are often meant to be very generic and one-size-fits-all. But that’s not how estate planning works. Even if you have a simple family structure and a small estate, planning for the future takes time and diligence.

Who should be my power of attorney?

If you are asking who should be your power of attorney, consider the responsibilities that come with it. Is the person reliable? Is he or she able to make medical decisions on your behalf–and would you want them to? Can they handle the financial aspects of the estate that are more delicate?

If you have doubts, an estate planning attorney can help you select a person who is suited to be your financial and medical power of attorney.

When should I start estate planning?

Many people think that they should start estate planning once they near retirement age however, as soon as you have a job is likely the better choice. Starting in your 20s is a great way to build the foundations of your estate plans while updating it when major life events occur.

But, if your 20s have passed, there is no wrong time to start estate planning–but be sure to start soon.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will in Pennsylvania, you have died intestate, meaning the state will take over your estate and distribute it according to intestacy laws.

This means that if you have a portion of the estate you wanted to be donated to charity, or to go to a specific individual, that may not happen.

How often does a will need to be updated?

Your will should be reviewed and updated any time a major life event occurs. This includes marriage, divorce, birth or death of a child, death of a spouse, adoption, new employment, etc. If you have come into major assets via inheritance, it is also important to consider that when drafting and updating your estate plans.

Who can help me with estate planning in NEPA?

If you have questions regarding estate planning in NEPA, the Scranton estate planning attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano are here for you. We can guide you through the process to ensure your will is not only all-encompassing of your wishes but is also valid at the time of your passing. In addition, we will review any other estate planning documents that may be beneficial to you and your loved ones.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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