When people in Pennsylvania pass away, they often leave a will behind to determine how their assets will be disbursed. In some cases, people may die without a will. In many instances, the probate court system is essential to the distribution of that person's property to heirs. In addition, there are some situations in which people can avoid probate and transfer their property directly. While many aim to avoid probate as much as possible, it can be important to make a plan to make this a reality.
Some Pennsylvania residents may feel that once they have created an estate plan, they do not have to think about it any more, but this is not the case. Estate plans need to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they remain current. It can be easy to procrastinate and assume that there is always time, but this may not be the case. The film director John Singleton, who died suddenly of a stroke at 51, is a case in point.
The idea of dying is not something that most Pennsylvania residents like to consider. However, not making plans for what will happen after a person's death could have serious consequences. This is especially true for parents, considering the fact that if a parent does not name who they would like their children's guardian to be, the children could be placed in foster care. Clearly laying out who will receive specific assets can prevent a lot of conflict.
When people in Pennsylvania plan for the future, it can be important to think about beneficiary designations as well as traditional options like writing a will. Once people have written a will or planned a trust, they may need to check to make sure their beneficiary designations are up to date and reflect their overall plans for their estate. Many types of accounts and assets do not pass through probate but are transferred on death through the naming of a beneficiary. The most well-known of these are life insurance policies, but retirement accounts, investment funds and even regular bank accounts may transfer in the same way.
Some people in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia who are creating an estate plan might want to consider using a life insurance policy or a trust as part of that plan. There are a number of advantages of using the two in combination. This would involve setting up the trust as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy.
Incorporating the needs of dogs or other companion animals in an estate plan would have raised eyebrows just a few years ago. However, pet provisions in wills and pet trusts are commonplace in Pennsylvania and around the country today. A pet of some kind can be found in two out of three American homes, and many of their owners take great comfort in knowing that their animals will be taken care of should something happen to them. However, including pets in a will may not be the wisest way to accomplish this as the probate process is lengthy and pets could languish in a shelter for several months as it runs its course.
Many people in Pennsylvania may not consider creating a trust when developing an estate plan. However, the inclusion of a trust can be very beneficial.
People in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia may want to consider using a trust instead of a will in their estate planning. This has been the recommendation of the AARP since 1991. There can be a number of advantages to using a trust over a will.
Estate planning offers several wealth protection and asset distribution options to Pennsylvania residents. That's why many people download estate planning documents from do-it-yourself websites. Although DIY legal websites cost less money, oversights can cause problems. Many individuals do not even know if their estate plans contain errors. Plus, people who take advantage of using online services need to pay more money to consult with an attorney.
Some Pennsylvanians may have heard of cryonics -- the freezing of a person after they die in the hopes that someday their body will be revived. Though it may sound like science fiction, there are around 400 people currently being preserved in a frozen state, and some 1,500 living individuals plan to be frozen when they die. But if someone leaves all their money to heirs after they die, what happens if they are frozen and then one day revived? Anyone who is even thinking about the possibility of being cryonically preserved might want to learn about revival trusts.