What Is Estate Planning
The Law Offices of Maribeth Blessing, LLC, is ready to help your family with all of your basic estate documents, asset preservation and death probate needs. From our offices in Rockledge, we advise and represent clients in communities throughout Montgomery County, Bucks County and the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Call us at 215-392-0849 or toll-free at 866-603-8691 for a phone consultation with attorney Maribeth Blessing today.
Passing Your Legacy To The Next Generation
Estate planning is the creation of a definite plan for managing your wealth while you are alive, and distributing your assets after your death. Most estates can be protected with the basic estate planning documents, such as wills, medical and financial powers of attorney and advance directives. An “estate” means all assets of any value that you own, including real property, business interests, investments, insurance proceeds, personal property and personal effects.
These assets may be owned separately or jointly with others. Below are some examples of how married couples often hold title to property:
- Separate property: The entire interest is owned by only one of the spouses. The property was generally acquired prior to marriage, or was a gift or inheritance to one spouse alone during the marriage.
- Joint tenancy: The interest in the property is owned by both spouses. The surviving spouse acquires the entire interest upon the death of the other joint tenant spouse.
Do You Need A Will Or Any Other Estate Documents?
Yes. Having a will does not mean you will avoid probate; it means that your property and assets will go to the people you intend. Unless you have a valid, updated will in place, your family will be left in the position of having the probate court make decisions about the transfer of property and distribution of assets to your heirs and named beneficiaries.
In most cases, your property will pass down to your surviving spouse and/or children. However, in the event of a dispute between family members, the court may make decisions that aren’t in accordance with what you would want for your family.
- Your will should be updated with every life event, including marriage, divorce, remarriage and birth of a child or grandchild.
- You also should consider other vital estate documents to ensure that your medical and financial wishes are carried out by someone whom you trust when you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
- Durable or springing powers of attorney allow you to select an agent to carry on your affairs when you are unable to do so.
- Medical powers of attorney and/or advance directives are vital estate documents that will allow you to select a surrogate or trusted agent to make your desired medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions on your own, or when you wish someone else to be able to act in your stead and carry out your wishes.
Contact our lawyers to discuss the best plan for estate documents to meet your specific needs. If your estate is complicated and requires trusts, extensive planning or tax planning advice, we can direct you to a complex estate planning attorney.