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Estate planning devices are critical to protecting assets

Death, though inevitable, is a scary prospect for most Warrendale residents. Many people mourn the fact that they cannot do everything that they want to do in any given day, let alone think about the time when their lives will come to absolute ends. However, despite their good thoughts and attempts to distract themselves, all individuals will someday have to face their own mortality.

Though there is no easy way to consider the end of one's life, there are a number of steps individuals can take to ensure that when death comes they are prepared to leave their affairs in order and managed so that their loved ones can handle the administration of their estate. These steps include understanding one's own wealth, knowing what options one has for passing that wealth on to others, and recording those wishes in the proper testamentary devices.

A will is the most basic testamentary device that most Pennsylvanians have likely heard of. A will is a document that explains how a person wants to pass on his assets to his friends and family. It may also include stipulations for how the individual wishes to have his minor children cared for in the event that he does not survive to the time they become adults; like other testamentary devices, wills must conform to certain statutory guidelines and can be created with the support of estate planning attorneys.

Trusts and other estate planning tools can augment the plan that a person sets forth in his will. These and other estate planning documents are critical for protecting assets and preventing the loss of one's hard-earned wealth to the probate process and other legal quandaries that can result when individuals fail to prepare plans for their end of life estates. With many Americans yet to create even the most basic estate plans to protect their assets and wealth, the holidays may be an excellent time for them to begin the process of putting their estate plans in place.

Source: time.com, "Half of Americans Don't Have a Will. Here Is How to Fix That for Your Family," Kerri Anne Renzulli, Nov. 30, 2016

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