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Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Plan Your Estate

12 Jul 2021, by Christian Lautenschleger in Estate Planning
Young couple talking to female attorney

Written by Timothy Czekaj

Do you have a clear and well-thought-out estate plan in place? If not, you’re not alone. According to AARP, only about four out of every ten adults have a living trust or will. This leaves nearly 80% of millennials without a will and over 60% of Gen Xers without one.

But there are many undeniable benefits to having a solid estate plan, no matter how old you are. Don’t wait. You’d be surprised at some of the risks you’re facing without a legally binding estate plan.

What Happens If You Don’t Have an Estate Plan

There are many reasons why people don’t have estate plans in place. Some of the most common reasons Pennsylvania residents haven’t taken the time to formulate their estate plans include:

  • They think they are too young
  • They don’t know where to turn for help
  • They’re “too busy”
  • They believe there is no need for an estate plan
  • They don’t like the costs of estate planning

However, despite these reasons, the risks of going without an estate plan are significant. If you become unable to make decisions for yourself, your next of kin will make important financial and medical decisions.

Furthermore, if you die without a will, your assets won’t go to whoever you wanted them to go to. Instead, they will be passed to your next closest living relative under Pennsylvania’s intestate succession laws.

The Benefits of Planning Your Estate

The benefits of careful estate planning are undeniable. Whether you’re entering your retirement age or are fresh into your twenties, having an estate plan in place can protect both your wants and your family.

The risks of going without an estate plan are high. But the benefits combat these risks. These benefits include:

  • Choosing what medications you want if you can’t decide for yourself
  • Appointing an executor to make decisions on your behalf
  • Deciding who inherits your assets upon your passing
  • Setting up trusts to help your family avoid probate

A careful estate plan can give you peace of mind that your family knows what your wishes are if anything should happen to you. In addition to that, they will also know who should be making decisions on your behalf.

Pennsylvania Estate Plans

If you’re getting ready to start planning your estate, you must reach out to an estate planning lawyer to ensure that the most important details are covered. Some of the elements you’ll need to consider in your estate plans include:

  • Writing your will
  • Determining how your debts will be repaid
  • Covering any funeral and burial expenses in advance
  • Setting up trusts
  • Setting up your living will (healthcare directives)

Assigning a Power of Attorney

Another critical element of a well-written estate plan is assigning your power of attorney. This is the party responsible for handling your finances and making important decisions on your behalf.

If you do not have a power of attorney, then the courts may appoint a guardian to act as your durable power of attorney.

Avoid Probate

If you plan your estate right, you may even be able to help your family avoid having to bring your estate through probate. Under Pennsylvania law, the assets that must go through probate are the ones that the decedent had in their name.

Setting up trusts is a great way to avoid this often long and drawn-out process. Your estate planning attorney can help you through every step of this process so that you can protect your family even when you’re no longer able to do so.

Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Are you ready to take action and start planning your estate today? If so, reach out to an experienced Pennsylvania estate planning lawyer at Czekaj Law.

You can reach our office by phone at 717-275-9770. Or fill out our online contact form to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation. The sooner you get a strong estate plan in place, the more protected you and your family will be.

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