What can I do to ensure my estate plan is legally binding in Pennsylvania?

two people signing documents

Creating an estate plan can provide the necessary peace of mind. However, you may be unaware of errors or issues that can influence the validity of the documents. Not only is this frustrating, but it can also be devastating as the people named in your will may not receive the assets you wanted to leave to them. If you’re unsure how to guarantee that your estate plan is legally binding, you’ll want to keep reading to learn the measures you can take and how Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys can help you provide peace of mind.

What estate planning documents should I consider?

When planning your estate, you’ll face many options, which can leave you feeling overwhelmed about which one may be right for you. However, understanding the benefits of the primary documents can help you make an informed decision.

The most essential document that everyone needs is a last will and testament. This document contains vital information about how you would like your assets distributed to the named beneficiaries. It also allows you to name guardians for children or pets, and you can detail your burial wishes.

However, you may also consider setting up a trust, which allows assets to be held and distributed based on the terms of the document. For example, you may want to pass on funds to your grandchild, but only after they’ve reached a certain age. Similarly, assets held in trust funds are not subject to the probate process. Another process you may want to consider is granting power of attorney to someone. This person, known as an agent, can act on your behalf. You can specify what their authority is and when they can serve. For example, you may give a business partner power of attorney while you’re traveling overseas, or you may grant your daughter who is a medical professional, medical power of attorney which allows her to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

How can an attorney help ensure they are legally binding?

Ensuring these documents are legally binding is vital to ensuring your wishes are followed before and after you pass. One of the most effective ways to ensure that your estate plan is legally binding is to enlist the assistance of a qualified attorney to help you navigate the process. These attorneys have the experience to help ensure that any issues you may face with planning your estate are taken care of.

For example, if the language in your plan contradicts Pennsylvania law, your estate plan may be ruled invalid. An experienced attorney will be able to examine the wording and phrasing used in your will and help modify it so it fits your wishes while still adhering to the law. Similarly, when many people download “DIY” estate planning documents online, they can forget to sign in certain areas or fill out a section of the document. As a result, your plan can be ruled invalid, and your estate will be subjected to intestacy laws.

When you need help ensuring your estate plan is impenetrable, Friedman Schuman can help. Our dedicated legal team can walk you through the process of planning your estate to provide peace of mind. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you.

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