If you own property in Pennsylvania, you will ideally include it in some sort of estate plan. You will also ideally have an estate plan if you have children that will need to be cared for in the event that you die or become incapacitated. While you may not want to think about that happening, having a plan can actually make life easier for your loved ones.
Think about what you want to accomplish
Creating an irrevocable trust could be ideal if you’re looking to minimize an estate tax bill or shield assets from creditors. However, they may not be effective tools if you’re looking to retain control of assets placed in a trust. You should also consider whether it is appropriate to make gifts to reduce the size of your estate. Currently, the estate tax exemption is $23.16 million for a married couple.
Think about who will carry out your wishes
It is acceptable to ask friends or family members to act as executors or trustees. However, it is also possible to hire a professional to act in such a capacity. One of the primary benefits of hiring a professional is that it has a fiduciary responsibility toward your heirs. Another benefit is that it will have the knowledge and experience to manage your assets properly.
Communication Is Key
It is important to let family members know ahead of time what they are likely getting from your estate and why. Having these conversations can minimize the chances of family infighting from occurring after you pass on. While some may be upset about how you’ve chosen to structure a will or trust, giving them time to process what is happening may help them overcome their discontent.
If you need help at any point during the estate planning process, it may be wise to meet with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help you determine what type of documents to use or point out errors in those that already exist.