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Is it really that important to have an estate plan?

When the recent tax legislation was enacted into law, there was quite a bit of discussion in the news about the changes brought to the estate tax. However, the reality is that the federal estate tax only affects a very small percentage of the population. Most people will not be affected at all. But, this topic of discussion likely got many people, including those in Pennsylvania, thinking about estate planning.

The first question about this area of law that most people have is: is it really that important to have an estate plan in place? Well, for the vast majority of people, the answer to this question is a definite "yes." Unless you want state law to determine what happens to the assets you have spent a lifetime accumulating, an estate plan is essential.

However, a comprehensive estate plan is about more than just having a will in place to designate the distribution of assets after death. Everyone can benefit from having other important documents drafted in the estate planning process as well, particularly power of attorney documents. With financial and healthcare power of attorney documents in place, the designated individuals or agents will be able to step forward in a time of need if the planner is unable to make important decisions on his or her own due to incapacity or disability.

As a previous post here mentioned, going through the process of crafting an estate plan can help Pennsylvania residents get a full grasp of their overall financial status. In all, there are many different benefits to crafting a comprehensive estate plan.

Source: Citizen Times, "The importance of having an estate plan," Zachary F. Lamb and Bray Creech, Jan. 21, 2018

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