What is a will?
A will is primarily a tool that allows a person to give clear instructions about how property is to be divided when he/she dies. However, a will can also allow a person to express his/her wishes on other critical issues, such as appointing a guardian for a child.
A will is sometimes confused with a living will, which is a different, yet still important, tool. A living will is designed to provide guidance about what medical decisions are to be made for a person when that individual is unable to make his/her own decisions.
What is a trust?
Trusts are extremely flexible. They can accomplish many of the same tasks as a will, or they can be specialized for very unique situations.
With a trust, property is handed over to a trustee. A continuum is created in which an estate can be distributed over time rather than all at once — or in almost any fashion you wish. The trust can be uniquely drafted to exist during the creator’s life or for it to only take effect upon his/her death.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney outlines how a person’s estate and other affairs will be managed if the person is alive, but unable to make his/her own decisions due to a medical condition or mental incapacity. Powers of attorney can be broad and grant decision making power to another for many areas of one’s life or they can be tailored to allow another decision-making power in only one aspect, such as medical decisions, for example.
Why is estate planning important?
Estate planning, including the preparation of wills and the assigning of powers of attorney, is important for various reasons. Quite often, we put these critical decisions off until it’s too late. Making choices about how you want your assets distributed — and who you want to make decisions about your future when you are unable to do so — may not be easy, but it’s the only way to ensure your wishes are respected.
Estate planning also gives you the chance to set up a trust for a minor child and ease the tax burden your heirs may face. Pennsylvania is one of a small handful of states that charges an inheritance tax on the shares of an estate going to each beneficiary. If you’re not proactive about making decisions to limit this, your loved ones may end up with less than you expected.
How can MPL Law help?
MPL Law has more than 30 years of experience providing assistance with will preparation and setting up trusts for minor children in PA. Our lawyers can perform a comprehensive review of your various assets, including savings, pension funds, real estate holdings and more. Many of these assets are taxed differently, which makes it particularly important to consult with someone well-versed in PA estate law. With years of experience in wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and all aspects of estate planning, our attorneys can offer you the best advice and handle every detail of the legal process.
At MPL Law, we pride ourselves on the longevity of the relationships we establish with our clients. If you ever want to alter or amend your will, our lawyers will have the relevant background information about you and your estate to make smart changes and minimize delays. During your initial consultation with our team of will attorneys, we’ll also take the time to get to know you and your wishes, and develop a plan that secures your estate for the long term.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be depressing — instead, think of it as a chance to review your accomplishments and share them with the people you care about. Contact the estate attorneys at York, PA’s MPL Law to learn more about will preparation.