How to start the estate planning process

| Jan 18, 2021 | Wills and Estate

The process of creating an estate plan can seem overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time, you can complete the necessary documents. You should keep in mind that Pennsylvania has an inheritance tax. Working with an attorney can help you make the necessary arrangements with this fact in mind.

Review assets and family needs

First, you should look over your tangible and intangible assets. This should include such things as your car, bank account, retirement plan and other personal items. In some cases, you might need to get items appraised. You should then consider what your family will need. You may want to get life insurance if you have dependents, and you can use your will to appoint a guardian for your children.

The role of others

You should also consider what additional estate planning documents you may need. This could include a trust, an advance medical directive, and powers of attorney. The latter involves appointing people to make health care and financial decisions on your behalf. It is important to choose the right individuals for these roles. You should also carefully consider who you choose as beneficiaries for various assets. Be sure to look over beneficiary designations you might have filled out years earlier for retirement accounts and insurance plans. People often forget to revise these after major life changes, such as divorces, and these can override instructions in a will or a trust.

It may be best to create your estate plan or review your existing one with the assistance of an attorney. While there are do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning forms, most only cover a narrow range of situations. Without an attorney, you may be more likely to make errors and might be unaware of certain estate planning solutions that could be available to you.

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