BASIC ESTATE PLANNING
April 3, 2020
If you are like most people, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced you to think about mortality, financial security and end of life decisions. Most of the country is idle, and many people are taking that time to get their affairs in order in the event that tragedy strikes. Have you chosen to formulate a basic estate plan?
William Shakespeare famously penned the phrase “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It’s debatable whether Shakespeare truly disliked lawyers. But it’s worth noting that Shakespeare, one of the most acclaimed writers of the English language, hired a lawyer to draft his last will and testament.
Rather than trying to draft your own estate documents or, even worse, entirely ignoring the fact that you absolutely need a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will or a Power of Attorney, you should engage the services of an experienced attorney to walk you through the estate planning process.
A 2016 Gallup Poll survey found that 56 percent of Americans DO NOT have a will. Why? Many people avoid thinking about or planning for their disability or death because it’s a morbid subject or they don’t want to talk about their death. Others don’t have an estate plan because they are intimidated by the perceived complexity and cost. Developing a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most important steps that you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Why do I need an Estate Plan?
Consider that when you fail to estate plan, you risk leaving critical decisions that will impact your children, family, property, finances, and legacy to the courts and/or strangers. If you have minor children and do not leave very clear and specific instructions with regard to their future guardianship, the court may determine who will rear your children. If you do not draft a will, the courts and Pennsylvania Law will determine who gets your assets. Without a medical POA or advanced directive, your personal wishes for treatment will be determined by others if you become incapacitated and cannot make critical medical decisions. Even if you have a will, was it drafted properly? Will it carry out your wishes and avoid the potential of a will contest?
Types of Basic Estate Planning Documents
Last Will and Testament: This foundational document is essential to ensure that your assets and property are passed down to the person or persons of your choosing.
Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will: If you are seriously ill and/or facing the end of your life, your grieving family may struggle with decisions about your medical care – particularly if you are physically unable to voice them. Having a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will, in place will give you and your family peace of mind and allow you to focus on each other, rather than on the decision-making process.
Children’s Safeguard Plan: Trying to decide who will care for your minor children after you are gone can be tough. Making that decision now can help prevent uncertainty and unneeded stress in the event of a tragedy.
Financial Durable Power of Attorney: Appointing someone to handle your day-to-day financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated is imperative.
How Much Does it Cost to Formulate a Basic Estate Plan?
It doesn’t cost as much as you think. At the Law Office of John Della Rocca, we are very receptive to your needs and try our best to provide quality legal services for an affordable price.
When Should I Estate Plan?
There is no better time than NOW to make, review and/or update your estate plan. Once you are gone, if something happens to you before you have the chance to make estate plan or revise your current estate plan you’re out of luck, there is no second chance to carry out your wishes. It’s done.
Protect your legacy. Protect your spouse and children. Call me and make the time to do an estate review now! We have flexible appointment times to either meet in person or through virtual meetings.