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How repealing the estate tax may change some estate plans

Pennsylvania residents who have created an estate plan with a strategy for reducing estate tax might want to review that plan with an eye to how they might change it if the estate tax is repealed. While it is not yet known what might happen to the estate tax, making a plan now would mean that it is easier to make quick changes if necessary.

The importance of wills

Most people living in Pennsylvania understand the importance of providing for their families after they die. While legal experts generally agree that the most important thing people can do to ensure that their affairs are settled quickly, inexpensively and appropriately after they pass on is to create a will, many people simply don't ever bother to write one.

Selecting executors and guardians

When Pennsylvania residents begin the estate planning process, they may be surprised at the number of issues that need to be determined. In addition to ensuring that their assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes, other concerns, such as child guardianship, end-of-life planning, and who will serve as the executor are also on the table.

Estate planning tips

Without a proper estate plan, litigation and taxes may take a toll on inherited assets. However, there are certain things Pennsylvania residents can do to ensure that their estate will be handled in the manner they prefer.

Americans have trouble with end-of-life planning

Pennsylvania residents may have heard that over half of Americans don't have a will. That was according to a Caring.com study that found only 42 percent of those living in the United States had estate planning documents. However, there was a relationship between a person's age and the likelihood that there was some sort of estate plan in place. The survey found that 81 percent of those 72 or older had a will or living trust.

Don't forget to do this after your divorce

Deciding to divorce and then following through with it is a major event in most people's lives. While most likely feel a sense of relief when they reach the end of the process, the work may not be done. When any major life event-like divorce-occurs, it is important to update your estate plan. The failure to do so could result in decisions being made about your assets and health that you did not intend.

Will signing requirements

Those who live in Pennsylvania and elsewhere must generally have witnesses sign their will to make it valid. As a general rule, a witness is anyone 18 or over who is of sound mind when he or she signs the document, although some states have no state age requirement. A lawyer who helps to create the will generally cannot be a witness. The same is in most cases true of anyone named as a beneficiary in the document.

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