Pennsylvania residents who have not set up an estate plan yet are not alone. Many people, even those that are elderly, put off even the simplest estate planning tasks. A lot of people delay estate planning because they don’t understand it, they think it’s only for the very wealthy or they think it will be expensive to set up.
Estate planning can be very simple and inexpensive if a person does not have very many assets. Even if a person has several assets and a large family, creating an estate plan with an attorney is not necessarily something that will take weeks or cost a lot of money. To begin an estate plan, people should start by gathering all of their important documents and writing down a list of all of their assets. The next step is to consider objectives for the estate plan, which may include care of children, the disbursement of assets to family members, and charitable giving.
One of the things a lawyer may help with is deciding whether or not to set up a trust as part of an estate plan. Trusts can help to shield assets from taxation and ensure that the assets are distributed privately. Complex assets like businesses and real estate may also be protected with a trust so that beneficiaries can receive ongoing profits from these investments.
An estate plan is not only a tool for distributing assets after a person’s death. It can also be used to protect elderly people if they become ill or incapacitated. An estate planning attorney may help an individual to set up a complete estate plan that establishes a guide for how assets should be handled in all circumstances.