Why Do I Need Estate Planning?
The plans you make for your family can come unraveled if you do not have an estate plan in place. Issues such as divorce or incapacity can happen to anyone, and without an estate plan that spells out your wishes, your beneficiaries may not receive the assets you want them to have.
At Rowe Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about estate planning and administration and probate matters. From our offices in Wyomissing and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we serve Berks, Lancaster, York, Schuylkill and Lebanon counties and the Lehigh Valley.
What Is An Estate Plan?
An estate plan consists of legal documents that work together to accomplish your goals. Those documents typically include:
- Last will and testament: A will is a document that determines who will receive your assets after you die. Your will also names a trusted person who is responsible for carrying out your wishes. If you have minor children, your will can also name a guardian who will care for them if you and your spouse should both die. If you die without a will, the state will determine who will receive your assets.
- Power of attorney: Most people go through a period of incapacity before they die. A power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. Without a power of attorney, your family members would have to go through the time and expense of a guardianship proceeding if you are incapacitated.
- Living will: A living will (also known as an advance directive for health care) is a written set of instructions for family members and doctors about what care you would or would not like to receive if you are in a terminal condition with no hope of recovery. Without a living will, the courts may end up deciding issues such as whether you should have a feeding tube installed.
The more complex our lives become, the more important it is to have a well-crafted estate plan. If you were divorced and have remarried or you have a blended family, your estate plan can prevent your biological children from being disinherited if you should die before your spouse. It can also determine who is responsible for your health care and paying your bills if you are incapacitated.