Latrobe Wills and Estate Planning Attorney

There are a three basic estate planning documents that every adult should have:

1.  Last Will and Testament. This is the basic instrument of estate planning. A 'will' appoints who should handle the affairs of your estate following your death and provides for who shall receive your property following your decease. It should be noted that certain items of your property will not be part of your estate and will not pass under your will. Such 'non-probate' items of property which will not pass under your will includes real estate held by you as joint tenants with another person, proceeds of life insurance policies naming individual beneficiaries, and property held in a trust, among other types of property.

Many people believe certain things about dying without a will that are not necessarily true. For instance, many married people with children incorrectly believe that if they die without a will, everything they own will go to their spouse. While this may be true, it is not necessarily the case. A will is a cost-effective means to be certain that your probate property is disposed of in accordance with your wishes when you decease.

2.  Power of Attorney. A power of attorney specifies another person whom you trust to handle your affairs. The intention of this document is that the person whom you name in your power of attorney will be empowered to handle your affairs if you ever become incapacitated and are unable to manage your affairs yourself.

3.  Living Will with a Healthcare Directive. A living will sets forth your desires regarding specific forms of treatment in the event that you are ever in a terminal condition, with no hope of recovery and you are unable to indicate your desires on your own. A living will should also include a health care directive, naming a third party to make decisions on your behalf, in accordance with your desires.

4.  Trust. In addition to those documents set forth above, it may also be prudent to establish a Trust. Depending on the worth of your estate and the manner in which your affairs are structured, a trust may be appropriate to avoid the costs and delays associated with the probate process. Additionally, a trust provides greater privacy than a simple will alone.

Having these documents prior to your decease or an incapacitating illness is a cost-effective means to limit the stress on your loved ones at the difficult time of your illness and death, as well as ensure that your loved ones are provided for as you desire. For a free consultation regarding your estate planning needs, or to schedule an appointment to obtain any or all of these documents, call our office today.