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The three most important parts of estate planning

Readers who are familiar with previous posts know that there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to estate planning in Pennsylvania. They know that it is crucial for everyone to have an estate plan in place, regardless of the perceived size or value of their estate. But, what are the most important parts of estate planning? A recent article pointed to three specific parts of the process.

Plan ahead for long-term care costs

When it comes to estate planning, many people think of the process as a way to designate beneficiaries for the distribution of their assets upon death - and that's all. But, the reality is that estate planning can be about much more. An estate plan can address ways to transfer assets during life, thereby avoiding potential tax implications. Estate planning can also include the preparation of documents that address who will step in to make important decisions in the event of disability or incapacity. Another important aspect of an estate plan is planning how to handle long-term care costs.

Remember who your Will helps - your beneficiaries

Why don't many people engage in estate planning? They think that they don't have enough assets to even need a Will or an estate plan. Another common mistake, for those who do have estate plans in place, is to think that once the documents are signed that they can be set aside and never reviewed. Both mistakes, as a recent article pointed out, can cause all kinds of headaches for your beneficiaries.

Dying without a will in Pennsylvania

Previous posts here have mentioned how important it is for people of all ages and asset levels to do estate planning. For some, the most important aspect of estate planning is to designate beneficiaries for the distribution of assets. For others, naming a guardian for minor children is even more important. Regardless of your reason, comprehensive estate planning is not something to put off to "old age."

What should you know when you get started on estate planning?

If there is one thing that Pennsylvania residents can agree upon when it comes to estate planning, it is that the whole process can be somewhat of a mystery. Where do you start? What estate planning documents are right for you? Is it so bad to die without a will? All of these questions are completely understandable. But, it is best to start at the beginning. So, where do Pennsylvania residents start when it comes to estate planning?

Heirlooms and Estate Planning

Estate planning sometimes deals with family heirlooms. A growing trend finds family heirlooms being sold or given away by younger generations to whom these items have been left because they do not see the value in holding on to them. Millennials and generation X'ers may be left cultural and historical items from past generations in a Last Will and Testament; but more of them are shunning pieces like grandma's antique chairs and dining room table and opting for new furniture from places like IKEA. The same could be said for large hutches and the fine china that resides in them. Old scrapbooks full of family pictures and letters may wind up on the scrap heap as well.

Trusts can be effective tools in estate planning

Estate planning is important to protect your family. Much has been said about the consequences of dying without a Will. Estate planning can help to prevent will contests and allow the assets of the decedent to be divided in the manner that the decedent has provided for in the Will. However, many Pittsburgh residents may not be aware that, in addition to preparing a Will, trusts can also be created as part of estate planning.

Estate planning is essential for single parents

Estate planning is essential if you are a single parent. Raising a child alone is difficult, as many Pittsburgh parents may already be aware. Single parents have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, and their days are spent running from work to children's activities, ensuring that their children are taken care of in every way possible. However, what happens if a day comes when you are unable to take care of your child? Have you taken the necessary steps to ensure that your children and their needs are met even after you are unable to do so?

Make Estate Planning a New Year's Resolution

Estate Planning should be one of your New Year's resolutions. Each New Year comes with new resolutions. Despite the success or failure of keeping last year's resolutions, Pittsburgh residents probably do not hesitate to make new ones each year. Pittsburgh residents may resolve to eat healthier, exercise more or spend more time with loved ones. But, even as they pledge to spend more time with family members, many don't consider taking a step that would ensure their family members are taken care of after they pass on -- estate planning.

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