Berman & Asbel, LLP

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Protecting Your Legacy With An Estate Plan

Even though Memorial Day is now behind us, the messages of the holiday are important and can last long after people return to work. One message is that a person's death affects loved ones long after he or she has passed; even though there is not a government holiday to honor everyone's passing, family and friends will be affected by the tragic loss for years to come.

Choosing the executor and other roles in an estate plan

Choosing people for various responsibilities connected to an estate plan can be a daunting process for some people in Pennsylvania. For example, the person who is the executor or a trustee should be well-organized and good at managing money. That means that if a person's closest relative has a history of bankruptcy or issues with spending too much money, they might not be the best choice.

Creating a functional estate plan

When creating an estate plan, it's important that people in Pennsylvania think about a variety of things, including who they want to give their assets to when they pass on. While this can be an important part of estate planning, individuals should also ensure that people named in a will won't be prevented from collecting assets and that heirs are provided these assets in the best manner possible.

Why people postpone preparing a will

Pennsylvania residents might be surprised to learn that only about 40 percent of American adults have a will or other estate planning documents in place. The percentage is even lower for people who have dependent children, according to an online survey.

Estate planning and simultaneous deaths

When making estate plans, Pennsylvania residents might want to consider naming additional beneficiaries in the event that their first choice dies at the same time or shortly after they do. Sometimes it's impossible to determine who died first. A simultaneous death clause appoints one person in a couple or others whose estates are entwined to be named as the one who died first if this is the case. Couples might also want to consider changing property owned to "tenants in common" instead of "joint tenancy with rights of survivorship" to clarify how property is passed on if both individuals die at the same time.

The estate planning mistakes of celebrities

Many Pennsylvania residents were shocked and saddened when media outlets reported in April 2016 that Prince had died at the age of 57. The iconic performer was renowned for both his groundbreaking music and business acumen, so it came as a surprise to many when it was revealed that he had failed to write a will or put any kind of estate plan into place. This oversight likely means that millions of dollars will go to attorneys, bankers and the U.S. government instead of to his heirs or charitable endeavors.

Online information is part of estate planning

Life in a high-tech age can be complicated. It can have ramifications that may not pop up until after a person's death. Savvy Pennsylvania residents know it's important to provide their heirs or attorney with access to online accounts. With so much personal business being conducted through the Internet, having access to online accounts can be crucial to settling an estate.

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