Estate planning is something that every adult has to deal with at some point. It is also something a lot of people tend to put off. Everyone has an estate whether you are rich or poor. Estate planning simply means that when you do pass, what you own goes to whom you want to receive it.
While estate planning of course means a last will and testament, there are also several other legal devices that may be available to you, depending on your individual situation. These include, but are not limited to: the creation of trusts for children or loved ones, Special Needs Trusts designed to provide for relatives or other individuals with disabilities, living wills in which you decide what health care treatment you receive, should you become incapacitated, guardianship, health care, and powers of attorney.
It is always better to be prepared for life’s surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. Taking the time to carefully plan your estate will provide peace of mind for both you and your heirs. Generally, trusts give individuals more control over how their assets will pass to their decedents and loved ones. There are many kinds of trusts one can set up for various situations including a children’s trust, spousal trust, disability or special needs trust, revocable living trust, irrevocable trust, insurance trust, charitable remainder trust, and prenuptial or marital agreement trusts. An attorney can help you decide what type of trust best suits your specific needs.
Another important estate planning consideration for many individuals is guardianship. While guardianship is often thought of in terms of children, guardianship can also be for an adult who is incapacitated or no longer capable of making important decisions. Guardianship allows you to protect the rights of both you and the loved one who may be in need of a guardian, whether a child, a disabled child or adult or an elderly parent who is incapacitated or whose mental faculties may be diminished. Guardianship can also include the creation of a Power of Attorney, which gives someone the legal right to make decisions for a loved one who is no longer able to.
One area of estate planning typically not considered by the majority of people who have simple wills are the taxes and debts which can be inherited by family members following death. Assisting with any debts left over as well as tax returns for the deceased is an important part of estate planning.
An Executor of an estate is charged with the task of carrying out the wishes of a decedent laid out in that decedent’s will. In most cases, the court appoints an administrator when the decedent has not named an executor or has not left a will at all. Estate administration is an aspect of estate planning that can be often overwhelming for those individuals who are given the task. Conversely, some individuals find that a loved one has died without a will leaving nobody to ensure that their wishes are properly carried out. Attorneys can help administrators/executors manage many of the tasks they are responsible for carrying out. Additionally, an attorney may be able to help a loved one or family member become appointed to administer the estate of a decedent.
Frequently, the importance of estate planning is overlooked; creating contentious disputes between family members and loved ones. Planning in advance will help to protect your family against such disputes. However, the attorneys at Freundlich & Littman, LLC, are mindful that often times, disputes arise only after the death of a loved one or family member, and legal representation is needed during these delicate situations. Austin Freundlich and Gregory Littman are experienced in estate-related litigation and can help you receive what you are legally entitled to under the law.
If you need to plan your will and estate, or are concerned about a parent or elderly relative, contact Austin Freundlich and Gregory Littman for a free consultation. Austin R. Freundlich, Esquire and Gregory C. Littman, Esquire are attorneys experienced in estate planning and can guide and advise you on the best way to handle your estate. They have both not only had ample experience drafting estate documents, but frequently give lectures as to the different types of methods one can employ to ensure their families are properly protected. Contact us today at (215) 545-8500 or info@FreundlichandLittman.com to inquire about the dates and times for a lecture near you.