Wills and trusts are critical estate planning documents vital for protecting property after your death and ensuring it transfers to your loved ones or chosen recipients.
Because of that, wills and trusts are most often prepared by estate planning attorneys. Although it’s possible for most attorneys to assemble a will or trust, you may find better success with a true estate planning attorney because there are specific questions to discuss that require careful consideration during the estate planning process.
After all, estate planning attorneys are experts in:
- Living Wills
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Estate Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Drafting Custom Beneficiary Designations
Questions to Ask When Preparing A Will or Trust
During the estate planning process, your attorney may help you consider:
Questions About Protecting Assets
- Should you leave assets in a trust to protect your children from risks of loss due to divorce, lawsuits, or unwise spending, or is an unrestricted outright distribution appropriate?
- If a trust would be beneficial to your situation, how will your trust be managed? Should you have a family member serve as trustee, or should you select a bank or corporate trustee?
- After you sign your documents, what must be done to make sure the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts, annuities, and other assets are filled out correctly?
Questions About Taxes
- What should you know about death taxes, step-up in basis for capital gains tax, and gift tax?
- What tax laws are about to change and how will they affect your estate plan?
- Is a trust necessary or helpful to your situation, or are there other ways to reduce the cost of transferring your assets to your beneficiaries?
Question About Health
- How should your family and doctors manage your health if you are unable to advocate for yourself? Should the provisions in your advance medical directive be mandatory and binding on the decision-makers you name, or should it be guidance?
Questions About Power of Attorney
- For your financial power of attorney, what are the pros and cons of making it effective immediately? What are the pros and cons of making it effective and usable only upon your incapacity?
- What powers should you include in the financial power of attorney, and what limits should you set forth in the powers in a power of attorney document. It should definitely not be a “standard canned document.” The provisions in the power of attorney, and your other documents, need to be tailored to your situation.
- Who should serve as executor and power of attorney? Can you name two people? Should you require two signatures or permit them to act separately?
Questions About State and Federal Laws
- What are the asset protection laws that pertain to you as a Pennsylvania resident?
- What are the state-specific estate planning laws that pertain to your documents?
- What are the state-specific property laws that apply? What if you own real estate in multiple states?
- What are the federal laws that affect the language in your documents?
Prepare Your Will and Trust With An Estate Attorney
Navigating estate planning should be completed with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney. Contact us for assistance!