Pennsylvania residents may wonder what's necessary to include as part of an estate plan. While thinking about the future may be a sensitive issue, it can also be an important means to make life easier for loved ones and ensure that a person's wishes are carried out. Many people put off making decisions about estate planning, especially in their younger years. However, even young people can benefit from making an estate plan, especially if they have any kind of assets, are married or have children.
There are a few steps that people can take to start the estate planning process. Among the most important documents for people of any age is a durable power of attorney for matters related to finances, property and health care. This document would allow a named trusted person to make decisions on the creator's behalf in case he or she is incapacitated. This can be especially important when critical health care decisions need to be made in an urgent situation. It can also be essential to ensuring that people are able to pay the bills in case of an emergency.
Another important step for an estate owner is to update beneficiary designations for retirement accounts, life insurance policies and other funds. The named beneficiary would receive the funds immediately upon death and outside the probate process. It is especially important to update the beneficiary designations after changes to family life, including marriage, divorce or the birth of children. Without keeping these regularly updated, unexpected outcomes may result.
When people think about the future, they may want to ensure that a plan is in place to care for their loved ones. Pittsburgh estate planning attorneys can help people to understand the process, answer questions and develop key documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney.