If you own property, you need to plan ahead in order to make sure the right people or charities inherit your assets after your death. If you die without planning your estate, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a default plan for the distribution of your assets, set forth in the "intestacy laws" which control the distribution of your estate in the absence of a will.
Under the intestacy laws, your assets will be distributed to various relatives, sometimes distant relatives, according to a rigid formula. Without a will or a trust, your property may be inherited by people you do not want to share in your estate.
Fortunately, we can make the process easier. When you call Gerhard & Gerhard, P.C., we will schedule your appointment at a time that convenient for you. We send simple worksheet to help you prepare for your meeting. At our conference we will discuss what you own, and who you wish to inherit. We will discuss tax-saving strategies and, if applicable, the best ways for money to pass to young beneficiaries, such as grandchildren.
We can send you draft documents for review by e-mail (encrypted with secure delivery if you prefer), or by first class mail, and answer any questions you have about these drafts. Your finished documents will be clearly written, effective, and easily understood. We will provide you with the original documents, photocopies, and .pdf images of your signed documents.
In addition to preparing your documents, it is our practice to always discuss the importance of asset titling and beneficiary designations. Your estate planning documents are not intended to control the disposition of jointly owned accounts, or assets such as life insurance, annuities, or retirement accounts that name specific beneficiaries. We can help you complete beneficiary designation forms, if you would like us to do so.
Having a new will prepared might be a "to-do" that you've had on your list for several years. Estate planning does not need to be overly complicated. We will make the process as easy as possible. We have been drafting estate planning documents for clients for over 20 years and can help you "cross this off your to-do list."