Estate planning is a very broad term in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, referring to a person's arrangements on issues that affect them and their family toward the end of their life. These might include instructions for end-of-life care, as well as drafting a will or other document with the intent of disposing of one's property after their death.
While the drafting of a will (the document that dictates what is to be done with the decedent's property after death) is typically the central component of any estate plan, there are many other elements which you may want to include, depending on your goals, and your financial situation.
For example, a knowledgeable estate plan will include a living will, which gives your family members and healthcare professionals instructions about your medical care, to be followed in the event you become incapacitated. You should also include your funeral arrangements, and your preference with respect to organ donation.
For anyone who has children who are still minors, it is very important to make arrangements for their custody and care, just in case the unthinkable happens. You should think of a family member or very close friend who you know would be willing and able to take care of your children, and designate them as the person who would take custody. Of course, it's crucial to discuss this matter with that person before you truly do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania?
The answer to this question depends largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is probably not a high priority. And at this point in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very dangerous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania is absolutely necessary: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take various steps to secure these rights, such as granting power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Cumberland County, Pennsylvania estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is crucial and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be an intricate process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.