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Thinking about estate planning? How to get started

We are living in uncertain times, and with that can come feelings of fear and loss of control. Although we cannot predict the future, we can make a plan to help us navigate it under various circumstances and cope with these feelings.

Creating an estate plan is one way to accomplish this. If you are considering your estate planning options, you may not know where to start or what you need to do. Below are some tips to help you create a plan that gives you peace of mind and a sense of control.

Start with the basics

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the elements of estate planning. However, you can start by focusing on the basic components. These include:

  • A will
  • A trust
  • An advance medical directive
  • Powers of attorney
  • Guardianships

A will and trust allow you to specify what you would like to happen to your property in the event of death. You can decide who should receive specific assets, how you would like to structure trust payments, and whether you want to set aside money for things like charitable gifts, pet care or funeral expenses.

The other documents provide critical direction in terms of decision-making if you pass away or become incapacitated. You can dictate the medical treatments you want or do not want. You can also appoint someone to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf and someone to care for your child.

These tools can ensure that others know your wishes and comply with them. If you do not have them, solutions regarding property distribution and decision-making will be made per Pennsylvania estate planning laws.

Ask for help

Whether or not you know what you want to do in terms of property division, care and decision-making, getting help to put your wishes into legally enforceable documents can be critical. In most cases, you can meet with legal and financial professionals over the phone or via video conference.

You can also talk to your loved ones about your plans. It may be uncomfortable but talking to the people you love and those who will be affected by your decisions can allow you to answer questions and gather input. These discussions can also give you all some peace of mind during a difficult time.