VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Plan ahead to help loved ones grieve

Even the healthiest Pennsylvania residents know they will eventually pass away. Loved ones left without clear directions may have difficulty in determining the way forward regarding assets and belongings of the deceased. With even limited estates, it is common for surviving relatives to have extended disagreements regarding distribution of assets. A carefully considered estate plan can eliminate confusion, prevent squabbles and help loved ones grieve by knowing the exact wishes of deceased loved ones.

Most individuals are aware that a will is essential to estate planning. A carefully considered and regularly updated will is key, but there are other elements to a good estate plan. While a will dictates distribution of assets after passing, a living will, power of attorney and advance medical directive give guidance regarding end-of-life decisions in the event a person becomes incapacitated. In addition to having discussions with loved ones, a written and notarized plan put in place before medical emergencies arise is the most prudent path to insuring one's end-stage wishes are followed. Giving a copy of medical directives to treating physicians and hospital providers is also a good idea.

Creating a detailed list of accounts, passwords and other assets helps detail specifics regarding estate distribution. Probate costs can eat into the value of an estate, so clarity is important to save time and money for loved ones dealing with the aftermath of death. Without clarity, courts may not execute the wishes of the deceased.

Part of caring for loved ones means making difficult decisions prior to passing so that they are not burdened with uncertainty and family disagreements while grieving. A qualified estate planning attorney may help streamline the process and put firm estate plans in place to protect loved ones.

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