When Pennsylvania residents are interested in ensuring that they will be able to leave their assets to family members in a particular way, a trust may be recommended to them. Wills can name certain individuals to receive a person's assets, but those assets are distributed in a lump sum. Trusts give people greater options in how property is doled out.
Increasing numbers of Pennsylvania residents possess digital assets. Some of them, such as digital photographs on a smartphone, might only have sentimental value, but other forms of digital assets could be worth quite a bit of money. An estate plan should include information about how to access a digital portfolio and assign a value to the assets.
Pennsylvania residents who have been honored with the task of administering an estate may want to know more about the requirements of the process. The personal representative who is named in the will could expect to take a number of actions in order to fulfill the duties of the role in accordance with the decedent's wishes. In the event that the instrument in question is a trust, the role of administrator would fall to the trustee.
If people are married with children, assets tend to go to either their spouse or children when they die in the absence of a will. However, those who are married without children may want to create an estate plan to account for where their assets go upon their death. While they may first transfer to a spouse, they may be transferred to the surviving spouse's family upon his or her death.
Pennsylvania parents might want to gift part of their estate to their children while they are still alive. However, there are some pitfalls they should be aware of. For example, cash or stock that is only minimally appreciated is a better gift than an asset that is highly appreciated because of future capital gains tax. Highly appreciated assets are best passed on after an individual's death.
Married couples in Pennsylvania may be able to pass on more of their assets to their children and grandchildren if they use an AB trust. An AB trust is specifically designed for married couples who want to maximize their estate tax exemptions. With a well-planned AB trust, a married couple that would otherwise owe federal estate taxes may be able to pass a tax-free inheritance to their beneficiaries.
The owner of an estate can place assets into a trust and assign a trustee to manage it for a beneficiary. The guidelines for how the assets are to be managed and taken care of will be detailed a written document referred to as the trust document. It is a convenient legal mechanism for an individual to use if he or she will not be able to manage the property in the future. However, Pennsylvania residents who are considering using a trust as part of their estate planning should be aware that a trust will eventually end.
Pennsylvania entrepreneurs might want to put some thought into the disposition of their business ownership interests after they die. Simple steps taken now can be of great benefit to those who wish to continue to nurture their business and their family after their demise.
Pennsylvania residents who do not want to leave their estate in the hands of a probate court might look into the option of creating a trust for management of important assets after they die. However, there could be some concerns about how money or other assets would be handled by some heirs, especially those who may have demonstrated poor skills in doing so in the past. Others might want to encourage their heirs to reach certain goals before receiving an inheritance. An incentive trust is an excellent option to consider in this case.
Pennsylvania residents who like to spend part of the year at home and winter months in warmer climes may consider extending this lifestyle into their retirement years. They should mindful of which state they claim as their legal residence, as it can have an effect on how which strategies they should employ for their estate planning. This may be particularly important for individuals with substantial assets.