How to create an estate plan that meets your needs
Creating an estate plan can be an effective way to ensure that the right people take possession of your assets after you pass away. It can also be an effective method of ensuring that your children have a guardian in the event that you pass before they become legal adults. However, if your estate plan is not structured in accordance with Pennsylvania law, it may be nullified by a judge.
Were documents executed properly?
If a will isn’t signed by two witnesses, it may be declared invalid. If a trust is not funded prior to your death, your assets may be subject to probate.
Did you remember to update your beneficiary designations?
The language in a beneficiary designation overrides any language contained in a will. Therefore, it is important that you review these designations periodically to ensure that they reflect your true wishes. It is advisable to enlist the help of an estate planning attorney when going over existing beneficiary documents.
Keep the lines of communication open
It’s important that you explain the structure of your estate plan to your family. Doing so may help to avoid hurt feelings, conflicts between family members or legal challenges to your will or trust. In addition to talking about the contents of a will, trust or other plan component, it’s also a good idea to let people know where important documents are located. This will likely make it easier for your spouse, adult child or sibling to inventory your assets in a timely manner. It can also make it easier to gain access to any online properties that you may own.
An attorney should examine your estate plan to ensure that it can withstand a legal challenge after your death. If you don’t have a will, trust or other plan documents, legal counsel may be able to help you draft them.