While creating a will may be part of an estate plan, it is not the only estate planning task a person must complete. Pennsylvania residents and others will likely want to make sure that their estate plans provide resources for their surviving spouses, children and grandchildren. Those who have minor children can name a guardian to care for them in a will or trust. If a deceased person fails to name a guardian, a judge may do so on his or her behalf.
A life insurance policy may provide money to help make mortgage payments or help pay a child’s future educational expenses. It is important that an individual creates and maintains a list of all personal or business assets that he or she owns. It is also important to know how much those assets are worth and who they will be passed on to.
Those who don’t have children or grandchildren may decide to leave their assets to a church, school or charity. Those who want to transfer assets without the need for probate should consider creating a trust. Revocable trusts can be altered throughout a person’s lifetime as that individual’s needs change. Individuals are encouraged to talk to a financial adviser to learn more about the potential tax consequences of putting assets in a trust.
There are many important decisions that a person may need to make while going through the estate planning process. For instance, an individual may need to decide who will be appointed as the estate’s executor, who will inherit a family home to or who will be named as guardian for a minor child. An attorney may be able to help a person make those or other decisions in a manner that allows that individual to meet his or her needs.