The average Pennsylvania resident attempts to paint his/her family in the best possible light. This means that some details are left out of conversations, and information regarding family dynamics, finances and other significant details are kept hidden. While this is often the best policy in social situations, it can lead to problems if the same strategy is used when it comes to estate planning.

Intimate discussions regarding a wayward child’s drug addiction or gambling problem may need to be kept off social media; however, they should be discussed with one’s estate planning attorney. There are steps that can be taken to protect the individual’s estate and the beneficiary in light of his/her problems. Additionally, there are times when an individual may decide not to leave assets to a particular child or relative. This information needs to be shared with the estate planning attorney so as to structure the estate to ensure that assets cannot be claimed by this individual.

Health concerns are another topic of conversation that needs to be addressed. Medicaid benefits are available to assist with long-term care; however, the individual typically must utilize other resources first. This is an area that should be addressed sooner rather than later, as there is a five-year look-back period in obtaining these benefits.

Pennsylvania parents who have children with disabilities will also want to make sure that their special circumstances are addressed in the estate planning process. They will want to make sure that any inheritance they leave will not adversely affect benefits for which the loved one is currently eligible. Each family is different; as such, it is imperative that the individual fully disclose relevant information in the estate planning process.