Generally, it is a good idea for every adult to have a will. None of us will live forever, and unexpected accidents happen all the time. Although you may think you have nothing to pass on, the amount of money you have now may not be as relevant as it seems. Depending on how you die, your estate could be awarded money in a lawsuit over the cause of your death. If you have no will, you have no say where any of your assets go.
Most people associates the word "Trust" with exorbitant wealth while associating the word with the phrase "Trust Fund Babies". The truth is that one of the first things I ask couples who have children up to age 30 that come to me for Wills & Estates planning is whether or not they want to include a trust in their will? Quite simply, a trust that is in a will is known as a "testamentary trust". The trust does not come into existence until the individual dies. At that point if there is no surviving spouse, the trust begins and whatever assets the testator or testatrix wants to be directed to the trust are deposited or placed in the trust to be overseen by a Trustee.
When thinking about wills & estates planning, have you given any thought recently to end-of-life issues? Though they are not necessarily pleasant topics to think about, planning in advance could greatly help your loved ones when the time comes.
It is well known that Pennsylvania has a very aging population. Accordingly, I have many clients inquire about the "Probate Process" in the various Pennsylvania counties. Quite simply, when an individual dies they either die with or without a Will. If they die without a Will, it is called dying intestate. Dying with a Will is called dying testate.
As technology continues to evolve and people manage a greater number of their assets and personal lives online, it has become prudent to consider your digital assets and web presence when crafting a Last Will and Testament. Take a moment and think about all of the items that are stored on your computer or online. Chances are that you have pictures, videos, documents (both personal and work related), music and books stored on your computer or tablet. Additionally, you likely have multiple e-mail addresses, social networking accounts, bill payment accounts and shopping accounts such as Amazon or Ebay. Finally, you may even have a personal website, an online investment account or an online business.
On numerous occasions I have been asked "what is probate" and what is the process? Quite simply, probate is a process that helps us to conclude a person's estate after they die. Normally, I'm approached by a child who's last parent has passed. They have no idea what do. They have heard of this mysterious process called "probate" and have no idea where to start.
In my practice, I prepare a significant number of wills & estates. Most people understand that the gifts that they make in a will or trust will pass to the person they desire upon the testator's death. However, it isn't always so clear when it comes to life insurance policies, Annuities, IRAs and 401(k)s.
Probate is the post-death process performed by an attorney through the Register of Wills in which the deceased individuals assets are determined and valued, creditors are determined and paid, estate and and inheritance taxes are calculated and paid, with the filing of the requisite tax returns, and the remaining assets are distributed to the decedent's heirs.
I have been asked so many times- "Do I really need a will?" The answer is, regardless of your age, yes you do!