While it may seem odd to dedicate a month to an estate planning tool, National Make-a-Will Month serves as a reminder of the importance of having a will in place in order to protect your loved ones and plan for the distribution of your assets.
If you don’t currently have an estate plan, consider scheduling a meeting with an estate planning attorney to discuss your goals, needs, and options. If you do have an existing estate plan, remember to review that plan regularly and make any updates necessary to address changes in circumstances or current law.
- Designates the beneficiaries of your assets at death. Without a Will, the laws of your state of domicile will dictate who inherits.
- Outlines how the beneficiaries under your Will inherit your assets. For example, outright or in trust.
- Appoints an Executor to administer your estate.
- Names a Guardian for your minor children.
- Provides for one or more charities.
- Incorporates provisions to minimize tax consequences.
In addition to a Will, an estate plan may include trusts, both revocable and irrevocable, which each offer additional benefits. Also included in a basic estate plan are powers of attorney for both finances and healthcare, which allow you to appoint an agent to act on your behalf in the event of incapacity. Finally, a living will captures your treatment preferences if in an end stage condition.
Leech Tishman’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group is engaged in the development of practical, effective estate planning and business succession planning for individuals, families, businesses, and non-profit organizations. If you have any questions about creating or updating your estate plan, please contact Stefanie Pate.
Stefanie Pate is a Partner in the firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group, as well as the Nonprofits & Tax-Exempt Organizations Group. Stefanie is based in the firm’s Pittsburgh office, and is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York. She can be reached at 412.261.1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.