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Written By: Brandy Miller | December 29, 2016 | No Comments

Every adult in Berks County and Reading, Pennsylvania, needs to consider estate planning. Without a solid estate plan, Pennsylvania courts may be making key decisions in the event of a death or serious injury. Estate planning helps ensure your assets are passed on as you wish, and your interests are protected in case you cannot make decisions for yourself due to an injury or illness.

Estate planning does not have to complicated. In fact, four key essentials may be all you need to protect yourself and your family:

  1. Create a will or trust
    A will designates who will get your assets when you pass away. If you have children, spouse or anyone else you would like to bequeath property to, a will ensures your wishes are respected. Without a will, the probate process can be longer and probate courts may determine who gets assets. Trusts can set up additional protections. For example, if you have a child with special needs, arranging a special needs trust allows you to leave your assets to your child without worrying that your child will be taken advantage of or will have their government benefits stopped because they have inherited property.
  2. Create a power of attorney
    In general, you’ll want two powers of attorney — a durable, general power of attorney and health care power of attorney. Both allow you to name someone who can make decisions on your behalf in case you become ill or incapacitated. A durable, general power of attorney gives someone the right to make decisions about your finances, legal matters and property. A health care power of attorney allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot. Powers of attorney ensure someone you trust has the authority to act in your stead if you are debilitated.
  3. Create a living will
    A living will can outline what you would like to have happen if you are on life support, are in a vegetative state or are in a situation where resuscitation may be needed. A living will ensures your decisions are respected, and it removes some of the burden of difficult decisions from your next of kin.
  4. Talk to an attorney about a personalized estate plan
    No two estate plans are the same. If you have children, for example, you may wish to designate a guardian to ensure your children are raised by someone you trust if you and your spouse pass away. If you have an elderly dependent, you may need to make special provisions to protect them even if you are incapacitated or pass away. An attorney can work with you to ensure you have a personalized estate plan to take care of you and your beneficiaries. An attorney can also update your estate plan as your life and finances change.

If you’d like to speak to estate planning attorney, contact Miller Law Group for a consultation. Our attorneys can review your concerns and can formulate a personalized plan designed to bring you peace of mind.