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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.

A comprehensive inventory should be conducted of all assets and liabilities to accurately determine one's net worth. Doing so will aid in appropriately handling the assets that require special provisions in estate plans. When designing an estate plan, individuals should also determine who will be their beneficiaries, especially for life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Consideration should also be given to how the assets will be distributed. The use of a trust could be an option for those who want their children to receive funds gradually.

An executor will also have to be chosen, and the choice will depend on the type of assets in the estate. Individuals may have an attorney or a family member oversee their estate as well as being appointed under a power of attorney and an advance health care directive if they are incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions.

There are various estate planning tools individuals can use in their estate plan. The creation of a will may suffice for some individuals. Others may opt to use one of the several types of trusts to ensure that their property is handled in accordance to their wishes, particularly if they own property in other states. These and other matters can often be handled by an experienced estate planning attorney. Once the documents have been drafted and signed, an attorney will likely recommend that the entire plan be periodically reviewed in order to see if circumstances warrant any changes.

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