Doing It for Your Family
According to a survey conducted by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 58% of adult Americans lack any estate plan. "An estate plan not only ensures your property eventually winds up where you want it to, but it can relieve your loved ones of the burdens of having to make difficult financial and medical decisions for you, if you are physically or mentally unable to do so for yourself," — Attorney Alan Kopit, Lawyer's.com, Legal Editor.
If you were to ask adult Americans why they do not have a proper estate plan, you would receive many different answers ranging from: "It is too expensive to set up a plan;" "I don't have enough assets to justify an estate plan;" "I have been meaning to set one up, but haven't gotten around to it;" "I am pretty healthy at this time and do not need an estate plan;" and "I really haven't thought about it."
The reality behind preparing an estate plan is that, generally, it is relatively inexpensive, fairly easy and is needed by everyone. At David K. Lucas & Associates, we help young parents and adults whose children are grown create the estate plans they need. We have more than 40 years of experience helping individuals throughout Western Pennsylvania create the estate plans they need.
The Importance of an Estate Plan
It is important to remember that it is your family members who will be burdened by your lack of an estate plan. For example, in Pennsylvania, an individual is permitted to designate a Power of Attorney to manage their financial affairs in the event that they become incapable of doing so. This document is called a General Durable Power of Attorney. By designating a Power of Attorney (normally a spouse or other family member), you allow this person to manage your financial affairs with limited or no court involvement.
If you wait until there is an incapacity, you will no longer be permitted to execute a Power of Attorney. Your family's only option is to secure a guardianship. A guardianship is a court proceeding where you and your doctor are required to testify in court as to your inability to manage your financial affairs. If the court agrees with your doctor, a guardian will be appointed to manage your financial affairs. There is no guarantee that this guardian will be a family member. A guardianship proceeding is both time consuming and expensive. Guardianship proceedings can be avoided by simply having a properly executed Power of Attorney.
We work with individuals to create the estate planning documents they need. This includes:
- Drafting a will
- Determining if you need a trust
- Naming a power of attorney
- Creating advance health care directives
- Understanding inheritance tax
- Effectively planning for Medicaid
- Providing for minor children
Creating Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania
Because the laws vary from one county to the next, it is important to work with Greensburg estate planning lawyers who have experience handling the substantive and procedural laws. We have handled thousands of cases in these counties. If you have questions concerning estate planning, contact us online or call 724-216-6433. We know it can be overwhelming to think about creating an estate plan, but we can help ensure the process is simple and efficient.