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What should people include in a basic estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Estate Planning

As people plan for the future in Pittsburgh, they may not be thinking about their passing, but it is an important aspect of life that people should consider. People cannot take their property with them when they pass away. Without any estate plan, they have no personal control over who receives it. They are at the mercy of the intestate succession laws of the state.

One of the reasons people may be put off having an estate plan is because they believe they may be very complicated documents and do not feel like they have the time to complete everything. However, while estate planning can be very complicated, depending on the circumstances, a basic estate plan can be very effective and not very complicated.

There are three main documents that people should have as part of a basic estate plan. These documents are a will, a health care directive and a financial power of attorney.

Three main documents of a basic estate plan

The will is the document that states who will receive people’s property when they pass away. It also can name the desired executor of the will and name guardians for minor children if people pass away before they become adults.

Advanced health care directives are used while people are still living but still should be part of an estate plan. This document allows people to state the type of medical care they would like or not like if they are incapacitated and unable to make any decisions on their own. It also allows people to name individuals they would like to have make the medical decisions for them while incapacitated as well.

The financial power of attorney allows others to make financial decisions and transactions for people. These can be drafted to allow others to make these transactions while people are incapacitated as well. That way others can handle their financial affairs while they are unable to do so.

These three documents make up a basic estate plan in Pennsylvania and are not as complicated as people may think. It is important that people execute these while they can though because no one knows when they may pass away. Experienced attorneys understand the different elements needed to have a good estate plan and may be able to guide one through the process.

Pennsylvania Bar Association

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