Warrendale Estate Planning Lawyer

You may assume estate planning only provides for loved ones after your death, but it is a viable tool for managing assets now. Some trusts offer tax advantages, and treasured mementos can be gifted now. Additionally, the financial power of attorney allows a partner to represent you in a business deal.

You also gain peace of mind knowing you control what you have worked a lifetime to earn by providing for family, friends, charities, and even pets. Our attorneys tailor documents to your specific needs. Come in, sit down with us, and talk about the next steps in your family’s financial future. A Warrendale estate planning lawyer could answer your questions.

Understanding Wills and Trusts

Planning your estate and financial affairs requires an understanding of wills and trusts. A will permits you to leave gifts to family members, friends, and charities and settle your business interests with your chosen party. If you don’t adopt a will naming beneficiaries for your assets, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will do it for you under Pennsylvania Statutes § 2101. By dying intestate or without a will, the state uses a formula to disperse your assets to family members, beginning with your spouse and children.

The Living Will

A living will informs your physicians about what extraordinary care you want or do not want when your condition is terminal, and you cannot tell them. These measures include feeding tubes, ventilators, hydration, and any other measures that may prolong your life but not its quality. Most people allow pain medication to be administered, and it will be if you do not direct your caregivers to discontinue it. Without a living will, the pressure to determine what you want is left to distraught family members.

Revocable Living and Irrevocable Trusts

Revocable living trusts allow trustors to add and remove assets and beneficiaries at any time prior to death when revocable trusts become irrevocable. Trust assets are not part of probate, so they are distributed more quickly than assets subject to the probate process.

Trustors transfer ownership of assets to irrevocable trusts and cannot alter them, although they give trustees explicit instructions about how they are managed at the time they are set up. These trusts give you a tax advantage because the assets are no longer considered yours. Irrevocable trusts are often used to qualify for Medicaid long-term care that imposes income caps. Talk to a lawyer in Warrendale about how a trust might benefit your estate planning process.

Power of Attorney

Another important aspect of estate planning in Warrendale is understanding the power of attorney. The general financial power of attorney allows you to grant the person of your choice the ability to make monetary decisions for you when you are incapacitated or unavailable. These powers can be long-term or last only as long as one transaction.

Your agent can manage bank and investment accounts, lease or sell your real estate, dispose of assets to pay creditors, and pay bills.

Durable Medical Power of Attorney

Nobody knows whether they will end up hospitalized and unable to communicate with the attending medical team about preferred treatment. Hopefully, this never happens to you. The durable medical power of attorney does not kick in until you are unable to make decisions. You appoint an agent you trust to make medical decisions, such as whether to have surgery or speculative treatment when you cannot.

Consult a Warrendale Attorney About the Estate Planning Process

We touch on the most common estate planning documents, but there is no one-size-fits-all. We customize your documents and amend them if, over time, your situation changes enough to warrant it. Also, trusts can be set up to benefit disabled family members without jeopardizing their Social Security benefits or to care for beloved pets who outlive you.

Estate planning is a detailed map that links your past, present, and future. It guides you through life knowing your loved ones are cared for, and you oversee decisions that affect you right to the end of your life. Call us today to schedule a consultation to get started on this journey. Our Warrendale estate planning lawyers are ready to map your course for you.