Regardless of how large your Pennsylvania estate is, it is a good idea to have an estate plan. At a minimum, you’ll want to have a will that dictates who gets your property after you pass away. It may also be a good idea to have a trust to ensure that you retain some level of control over your things after you die.
What might a will do for you?
Primarily, a will is used to outline how your estate should be distributed after you’re gone. However, it can also be used to appoint a guardian for any minor children that you have. Furthermore, it allows you to appoint someone to represent your interests during probate. If you don’t have a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with state intestacy laws.
What might a trust do for you?
A trust can be used to hold items outside of your estate, which means that there is no need for probate. Items held in the trust can be used or distributed per your instructions. This minimizes the risk that they may be wasted by a beneficiary who isn’t capable of managing his or her inheritance. Furthermore, the terms of a trust are not a matter of public record. Therefore, no one can pry into your family’s affairs or otherwise learn about your estate planning strategies.
It is in your best interest to create a comprehensive and clear estate plan during your lifetime. Having such a plan may allow you to preserve your legacy while making it easier for surviving family members to settle your affairs in a timely manner.