By Attorney Tammy A. Weber, CELA*

You have heard the saying “the only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Dealing with the inevitability of those two issues is a substantial portion of what estate planning attorneys do. They collaborate with you to prepare for the inevitable; ensure your assets end up where you want and help protect the ones you love from a future without you.

Aging and End of Life

Estate Planning is about protecting your assets for use during your lifetime and getting them to the beneficiaries you want when you die. This is usually achieved with a Will or Trust. Additionally, your attorney can help you choose the right people to put in charge and look for potential problems with your financial and medical wellbeing as you age. Here is a sampling of the documents an estate planning attorney can help create:

  • Powers of Attorney: Often referred to as POA’s, they are designed for use during your lifetime. A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make decisions and transact financial business for you. A Health Care Power of Attorney specifies who will make care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. End-of-life instructions are often contained in a Health Care Power of Attorney or can be listed separately in a Living Will.
  • Guardianship or Standby Guardianship Designations: If you have minor children or dependents, you may want to name a trusted individual(s) to care for them while you are away, unable to do so, or have passed away.
  • Wills and Trusts: These documents specify how your assets should be distributed upon your death. Trusts can offer additional benefits to help you protect assets from the costs of long-term care or be used to preserve assets from your loved ones’ creditors or spendthrift issues.

Taxes and Tax Liability

In addition to the protection of your assets and the empowerment of your agents to make decisions on your behalf, estate planning attorneys can also help to reduce the tax liability that your loved ones may face at the time of their inheritance.

  • Tax Planning: Strategies are available to minimize federal and state estate inheritance taxes ensuring more of your assets go to your beneficiaries rather than to tax collection agencies.
  • Probate Process: Probate is the court-supervised procedure of validating your will, gathering your assets, paying debts and taxes, and finally, distributing your assets to the intended beneficiaries. Estate planning attorneys can help navigate this complex process, saving you and your heirs time and money.
  • Asset Protection: Beyond death and taxes, estate planning also involves planning to protect your assets from unforeseen creditors and lawsuits, ensuring that your wealth is preserved for your intended heirs.

Providing Peace of Mind

The most significant benefit estate planning attorneys can offer you and your loved ones is peace of mind. Their job is to work with you to protect not only your family but everything you have worked so hard to achieve.

The world is full of uncertainties, and it is impossible to predict the future. When you work with an estate planning attorney, you can rest easy knowing that there is a plan in place to ease the burden of your passing for your family and heirs.

Marshall, Parker & Weber is open and available to help you assess what documents you may need or whether your current plan is in good shape. Call us at 800-401-4552 to schedule an appointment. You can also check out our portal for complimentary blog articles, videos and webinars.
We serve individuals and families across Pennsylvania from three convenient office locations.
Phone conferences and home visits are also available.

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