Berman & Asbel, LLP

Estate planning: More than just distributing assets

Some people in Pennsylvania might think they do not need an estate plan because they are wealthy. However, an estate plan is not just about distributing wealth, and most adults could benefit from one. One important aspect of an estate plan is preparing for incapacity or for having to go to a nursing home.

With long-term care insurance, a person may be able to avoid spending all of their assets on a nursing home. Setting up a power of attorney and appointing someone to make health care decisions are also important tasks. A single person might have power of attorney, or it can be split between two people such as two children or a child and an attorney. One may also want to create a document that specifies their wishes for end-of-life care.

A person might also want to consider using a trust to pass assets on to beneficiaries rather than a will. With a trust, the transfer of assets is not delayed in probate. Depending on how complex an estate is and the family dynamics, a will might be in probate for a long time.

Family dynamics are an important consideration in estate planning. For example, on may want to avoid appointing a child as trustee or executor who will find it difficult to cope with any conflict that arises. If a person wants to disinherit a child, it might be necessary to specifically mention this in the will. Discussing estate plans with family members ahead of time may mean challenges are less likely. A trust can also be set up to both provide for beneficiaries and pass assets on to a charity. A person might want to discuss their needs with an attorney and find out what vehicles may be available.

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