The Basics of Pennsylvania Estate Planning

At the law firm of Berman & Asbel, LLP our attorneys provide comprehensive estate planning advice for individuals and families at different stages of their lives. We routinely help new parents, successful business owners, empty nesters, retired people, disabled people and anyone who wants security against unforeseen events in the future.

Where Should You Start?

The most basic estate-planning instrument is the last will and testament. This tool allows a person to distribute his or her assets to heirs and beneficiaries of his or her choosing. Your will can also name a guardian for minor children, and provide for a trust for children who are minors or who are not mature enough or are otherwise unable to properly handle an inheritance.

All by itself, a properly drafted and executable will, updated to reflect changing conditions and family needs, can avoid a great deal of confusion and disagreement when you are gone. Most people find that it is a good idea to prepare other basic instruments at the same time, especially powers of attorney. Proper estate planning is one of the best ways to show your family how much you love and care for them.

Powers of Attorney: Protecting You When You Cannot Speak for Yourself

Unforeseen life events can make you unable to voice your desires or care for yourself. Others will have to do the best they can to care for you, and they can sometimes disagree as to what that might be. An effective solution is to designate trusted individuals to act in your place through powers of attorney with respect to financial and medical decisions:

  • A power of attorney can describe the conditions under which another person is authorized to act for you, provide instructions and limitations as to the scope of your agent's authority, and generally avoid the problems that some families encounter in the absence of specific authorization and directions.
  • Advance directives to physicians can specify the particular circumstances under which life support should be terminated in extreme medical conditions. We can advise you whether an advance directive remains necessary in light of your powers of attorney.

Other Estate Planning Solutions

We can discuss with you and help you decide if your financial and family circumstances require additional instruments to meet specific goals. You might need help with disability planning, asset protection, estate tax liability management, care for vulnerable relatives or other complex estate planning needs.

What Estate Planning Tools Are Right for You?

We would be pleased to discuss your estate planning needs during an initial consultation at which time we will answer any questions you have and provide honest advice to help you achieve your goals.

You can reach the Greater Philadelphia law firm of Berman & Asbel, LLP at 484-842-0276 or contact us online to set up a consultation.