People who do not have children or close family members often think that there is no need to engage in estate planning-their assets will go to their spouse and they do not have to prepare any other documents. However, estate planning encompasses more than just a will and testament-there are other events that should be covered in one's plans, situations that anyone can find themselves in.
Every Pennsylvania resident should plan for incapacity-the instance where they are unable to make financial and medical decisions for themselves. This does not only happen in old age-one could become injured in a sudden car accident or through a slip-and-fall incident. Without these documents, a spouse may not even be able to make certain decisions and family members may end up in court trying to prove they have the right to make them.
Its also important to decide what will happen with ones assets after they pass on, which is why successor beneficiaries should be named. Even if there are no children, nieces and nephews can benefit from the estate plan. Friends, charities and pets should also be considered. In fact, it is important to think about what will happen to one's pet after they are no longer there to take care of them-is a pet trust the best option or is it better to leave the pet to someone along with some money for their care?
Pennsylvania residents have the right to decide who will get their assets and they should not take this responsibility lightly, regardless of whatever their living situation is. In order to ensure one's wishes are carried out to the letter, it is important to outline them in one's estate planning documents and an experienced estate planning and probate attorney can help achieve that.