Create Wills And Trusts That Meet Your Needs

When you are planning for the future of your family and loved ones, there are several different options you can choose from in your estate plan. I have been helping clients create meaningful estate plans for more than 34 years. I value my clients' input and their preferences, allowing them to voice their goals and objectives for the future. Each individual has a different asset base and family circumstances and will need to create a plan for their unique needs.

As a Pittsburgh-area attorney with significant experience in estate planning and probate law, I understand how each element of your plan will affect future recipients. Upon your passing, your family will be left with the responsibility of distributing your assets. They may deal with it directly or be required to appear in court for probate purposes, depending on how you set up your estate. If you are interested in receiving legal support for your estate plan, contact my law office today. I will work with you to design a plan that fits your needs and helps you pursue your goals.

Wills: The Foundation Of An Estate Plan

If you decide to include a last will and testament in your estate plan, it is important to understand that wills are the foundation of many estate plans. A will is used to provide instruction for the distribution of a person's property after they have passed away. You can also use a will to name an executor and designate a custodian or guardian for minor children. If you want to leave instructions on how to pay for debts and taxes, you can include that in your will, as well. When a living trust is created, it is necessary to have a will as a backup — this type of will is called a pour-over will.

A will can sometimes be helpful for individuals with fewer investments who just want to have a simple document explaining how their property should be handled and distributed. If you have more assets, your loved ones will have to go through probate courts to receive any property. In this case, I would suggest my clients consider a living trust, which protects from probate court proceedings.

Is A Living Trust Right For You?

A trust is a legal document that authorizes a trustee, who can be the grantor (or the creator of the trust), to hold title to and manage assets. The grantor retains the ability to revise the trust up until death.

A revocable trust, commonly called "living trust," is an effective estate planning tool for avoiding the costs and hassles of probate, preserving privacy and preparing your estate for ease of transition after you die.

Unlike in a will, assets in a living trust will generally pass to heirs sooner. Although probate in Pennsylvania is a very easy process, having a living trust does have advantages. Transferring assets into a trust could save months and thousands in legal fees — please note that this is not cooke cutter, i.e., every case is different and whether you should have a will or a living trust depends on your specific needs, goals, objectives, family dynamics and types of assets you own, among other factors.

Care must be taken in determining whether or not you should name a trust as beneficiary of retirement assets because it is easy to make costly mistakes. If not handled properly, income tax on the IRA proceeds could be accelerated.

Experienced Support For A Wide Range Of Trusts

There are many different types of trusts, some of which include:

  • Asset protection trusts
  • Bypass trusts
  • Credit shelter trusts
  • Dynasty trusts
  • Life insurance trusts
  • Special needs trusts
  • Spendthrift trusts
  • Testamentary trusts

Contact An Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Wills and trusts can never be created too soon, which is why it's important to discuss your situation with a lawyer.

Contact my law office online, or call 412-637-2596 today to discuss your future plans with a complimentary initial case evaluation.