Estate Planning in Pennsylvania
Taking the first step in estate planning is the hardest. Usually, a consultation with an estate planning lawyer can give you the necessary information to move forward. Many estate plans start with basic wills but then look at specific needs for:
- Living Wills & Durable Health Care Powers of Attorney
- Durable General Financial Powers of Attorney in Pennsylvania
Since your family has a unique situation, it's not a one-size-fits-all process. Only a customized combination of documents can achieve your specific goals.
Start with Your Will
A will provides for what happens with your estate after your death. Your will also names the executor of your estate, who manages assets, pays debts, and distributes property as specified. You can designate beneficiaries, assign guardians for minor children, and make decisions regarding funeral and burial arrangements. Wills must go through Pennsylvania probate, a public court process that can, under some circumstances, be lengthy and costly. Luckily, a probate lawyer in Philadelphia or surrounding areas can guide you through the Pennsylvania estate administration process to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Why are Advance Directives important?
- A living will lets you make end-of-life decisions regarding medical care and treatment in specific situations. It removes the stress of making those decisions from family members.
- A healthcare power of attorney allows you to designate someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. It remains in effect as long as you are unable to make decisions.
What is involved in a Living Trust in Pennsylvania?
Trusts can be beneficial for distributing specific assets or pieces of property. An advantage of a trust is that it helps families in avoiding probate court, allowing a trustee to transfer assets more efficiently and privately to beneficiaries through Pennsylvania trust administration. Estate plans can include both wills and trusts for different reasons. An estate planning lawyer can guide you.
A revocable living trust allows you to manage property and assets during your lifetime. You may undo the trust, change its terms, and transfer items in and out of its ownership at any time.
An irrevocable living trust can't easily be changed. You may fund the trust with property and assets, which are then under the care and control of the individual or organization you name as trustee. These trusts are designed with particular goals in mind, such as:
- Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts for children or adults with disabilities
- Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts to preserve your home and savings from the cost of long term care services
- Veterans Asset Protection Trust to safeguard assets while maintaining eligibility for government benefits
- Charitable Trusts to leave a legacy to your favorite charitable organization or church
L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law is an estate planning law firm with an experienced estate planning attorney and probate lawyer in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. I am happy to explain the advantages and disadvantages of wills and trusts for your specific situation, as well as navigating Pennsylvania probate or avoiding probate court altogether. Schedule a call to talk about estate planning in Pennsylvania.
What is a Durable General Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania?
A durable general power of attorney in Pennsylvania (DPOA) names a trusted person to act on your behalf for financial matters. It stays in effect as long as you are unable to handle your affairs. Search for “durable power of attorney near me” to locate attorneys in your area or reach out to L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law for a DPOA and avoid the need for guardianship proceedings.
Understanding Guardianship in Pennsylvania
Guardianship proceedings allow a person to step in and take responsibility for another person in a time of need.
- Parents can appoint a guardian for a minor child should both parents become unable to care for them due to illness, injury, or death.
- Adult children may seek guardianship for aging parents who are vulnerable or incapacitated, taking care of living arrangements, daily care, and medical and financial decisions.
- Some children with severe disabilities may require guardianship once they turn eighteen.
You can search for “guardianship attorney near me” to locate nearby guardianship attorneys for more information. Remember, in many cases, a power of attorney can avoid guardianship proceedings. Search for “durable power of attorney near me” to locate attorneys in your area or reach out to L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law, to prepare a DPOA before the need for guardianship arises.
Should I include Charitable Giving in my Estate Plan?
Individuals, families, and business owners often want to leave a meaningful legacy to a favorite non- profit or church that influenced their lives. L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire – Attorney at Law, helps you choose the best options for providing support to your community.
At L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law, we've offered estate planning, elder law, family law, and business law to help people prepare for accidents, illnesses, or death for over 30 years. Contact our estate planning law firm if you need an estate planning attorney or guardianship lawyer in Media, Pennsylvania. I serve clients in Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Bucks counties and cities, including Philadelphia, Media, Norristown, and West Chester.