Berman & Asbel, LLP

Structuring the estate for the long term

Many Pennsylvania citizens wish to control their estate by encoding their legally binding last wishes in a will, a trust or a specific account beneficiary designation. All three methods have their strengths and benefits, and a contingency plan is an essential part of any of them.

Wills and trusts by their very nature refer to the distribution of property when it is no longer possible to have direct control. An effective will makes it possible to prepare for different possibilities by including more than one plan within it.

Any trustee or other responsible person that can be designated as the guardian of the estate can be furnished with the power to appoint. The provisions of the will should spell out exactly what the power to appoint means. In other words, if one of the beneficiaries decides not to take the assets for himself, then the testator can include in the will that the beneficiary may pass the assets onto his children or that he may choose a charity. The beneficiary would be able to provide evidence of his or her power to appoint by citing the will of the testator.

Estate planning is a complex legal task, and it will almost certainly require the abilities of a specialist to conceive and execute. Wills, trusts and other posthumous plans have complicated issues of administration and use, and the estate absolutely must be structured properly in order to function. An attorney's assistance can be valuable to those who wish to effectively plan the distribution of their fortunes after their death.

Source: My San Antonio, "Can an heir give away the inheritance?", Paul Premack, March 3, 2016

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