At Klenk Law, there are common estate planning questions that many of our clients ask. The following are ones we hear frequently. Contact our Allentown, PA office for more detailed information and to find out how an estate lawyer can help with your estate plans.
What assets should be included in a will?
A last will and testament is an estate planning tool that individuals can use to designate who they want to receive their assets and property they leave behind when they die. Assets that should be included in a will are those that do not already have a beneficiary named. Other assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, assets contained in a living trust, and property or assets that are co-owned with others are excluded from wills.
What is a revocable living trust?
Living trusts are estate planning tools that many individuals take advantage of. The person who sets up the trust maintains control of the trust and assets placed in the trust and can change or revoke the trust at any time. A living trust is set up so that ownership of the contents of the trust will transfer to the beneficiary named. Transferring assets through a living trust instead of a will has several benefits, including avoiding the probate process.
Can I just use a living trust instead of a will?
As mentioned above, there are many benefits to transferring assets via a living trust instead of a will, however, a last will and testament is still an important document to have as part of your estate plan. There may still be issues that need to be addressed in a will. For example, if you have minor children, you can use your will to designate who you want appointed as guardian for your children.
Do I need an Allentown, PA estate lawyer or can I just write my own will?
Although there is no law that prohibits an individual from drafting their own will, there are multiple reasons why you should retain the services of a qualified estate lawyer for assistance. Each will must abide by the laws of the state you live in and failure to do so can invalidate the will. If the will is invalidated, then the estate will be distributed by the laws of the state and not the wishes of the of the person who died.
How many beneficiaries can I have in my will?
There is no limit to how many beneficiaries you name in your will. Even if you only have one beneficiary, it is recommended that secondary beneficiaries be named. For example, if your will states that your estate is to be divided up equally among your adult children, you may want to specify that if something should happen to one of those children, their share of the estate would then pass to any children they have. Otherwise, their share would automatically be divided between your remaining adult children.
For more specific information for your particular situation, contact an estate lawyer Allentown, PA clients recommend from Klenk Law today.