Top 3 most important estate planning documents

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Probate & Estate Planning |

In Pennsylvania, estate planning is an effective way of ensuring that your loved ones know and follow your wishes concerning property distribution after you die. For a solid estate plan, it’s important to have the right legal documents in place.

A will

This document is probably the most important one in estate planning. It dictates who will inherit your property after you die, and who will be responsible for managing your estate. For your will to be valid, it must meet certain legal requirements, such as being written down and signed by you. Each state has different requirements, so it’s best to deal with a local lawyer who can guide you through the process rather than relying on free or online will forms.

Power of attorney

This document gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf, typically useful if you become incapacitated. You can choose anyone you want as your power of attorney, and you can specify what powers they will have.

There are two main types of power of attorney: health care and financial. A power of attorney for health care provides authority to someone to take over your medical decisions if you can’t make them yourself while a financial power of attorney gives someone the authority to manage your finances.

Trust

A trust is a legal arrangement in which someone (the trustee) holds property for the benefit of another person or people (the beneficiaries). Trusts are often used to avoid probate, to provide for children or other loved ones and to protect assets from creditors. There are different types of trusts, such as a charitable trust, which you can use to make a gift to charity and get tax benefits. It’s important to understand the different types of trusts and how they can benefit you before choosing or creating one. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you decide what is right for you.

There are several other important estate planning documents, but the ones described above are the most important. Make sure you talk to a lawyer to get these documents in place to ensure that everything goes smoothly after you pass on.

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