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Heritage Tree LogoWhat are Some of the Most Important Estate Planning Documents?

What are Some of the Most Important Estate Planning Documents?

In order to prepare for the future, it is important to create a comprehensive and cohesive estate plan. To do this, there are a number of documents you may need to create. Some of the most important documents you need include:

Wills

A will is one of the most important documents you can create. A will allows you to declare how your assets should be divided in the event of your passing. Passing away without a will is known as “dying intestate.” This can cause a lot of trouble for your loved ones. In this case, your assets will be acquired and divided by the state of Pennsylvania, rather than according to your wishes. This may cause your family members undue stress and legal trouble during what should be a time of grieving.

Trusts

A trust is a legal means of managing certain assets. In many cases, trusts can help avoid certain tax implications as well. Some of the most common trusts in Pennsylvania include:

  • Revocable Trusts: These are among the most common types of trusts. Essentially, a revocable trust is when an individual places his or her assets in the trust while still having legal authority to modify or terminate the trust, as long as they remain mentally capable of doing so.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: In irrevocable trusts, individuals place their assets in the trusts and relinquish their right to manage or terminate the trust.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney allows you to appoint a loved one to make certain decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. Two of the main types of powers of attorney include:

  • General power of attorney: A general power of attorney is when the principal gives an agent the right to make certain financial transactions on their behalf, should they ever become incapacitated or unable to make these financial decisions on their own. These decisions can include banking matters, certain investments, and more.
  • Limited power of attorney: This type of power of attorney designates an agent for a specific situation, such as the principal being unavailable or unable to conduct certain business matters on their own. For example, if you are purchasing a house and will not be available to sign the necessary documents.

If you have any questions or concerns about the estate planning process, contact our firm.

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