The term “estate planning” can sometimes be misleading or confusing. It is easy to interpret the term as meaning that all one needs to do to make arrangements for their heirs to establish a sketchy idea of what should be done. In reality the process of estate planning in Pennsylvania requires obtaining documents to help their heirs avoid legal issues in the future.
There are a great many people who have never heard of or never needed a power of attorney. These legal documents carry a great deal of legal weight and when used correctly they can help your family avoid a dangerous “limbo” that could occur when you are too ill to make legal decisions but still living making your will invalid. The power of attorney will enable your family to continue handling financial matters on your behalf and making decisions for the family that you once were responsible for.
Many online legal websites will sell a blank power of attorney or even create one specifically for the buyer for a reasonable price. These power of attorneys are often extremely generalized and do not limit the power of your chosen agent in any way.
A safer option to getting a power of attorney off of the Internet is going to a lawyer and having one made and signed then kept with the layer. Regardless of how you obtain a power of attorney remember that the document gives the agent the right to dispose of your property in anyway they see fit so choose only an agent that you trust who will not benefit from deceiving you or your family. A neutral third party, like an estate planning attorney, is a wise choice.
When estate planning in Pennsylvania it is also important that you obtain copies of all of your important life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Keep this information, along with the beneficiary details, together. This will help avoid confusing later on if a will is never written or the executor is not sure what accounts are being referenced in a will.
Most people focus on obtaining information about bank accounts and investments forgetting about basic life insurance policies and retirement plans. Retirement plans like IRAs are often the most overlooked. When they are established most individuals do not see them as a future inheritance, instead they see them as a hedge against rainy days and money to live off of in old age.