The scenario plays out every day in Pennsylvania and across the country. People pass from this life without leaving behind plans for their estate. More tragic may be the families left to make their best guesses about the wishes of a loved one who has become ill or incapacitated. While creating an estate plan is important, some believe those plans are incomplete until the family has discussed them face to face. In fact, estate and probate law discussions may begin sooner than most people realize.
The basic questions loved ones may have about a parent's estate plan may involve the contents of a will and the financial circumstances of their parents. Adult children may have concerns about their parents' abilities to live within their means and the plans they have for retirement. However, serious topics may be left untouched, such as end-of-life decisions and health-care options should a parent require long-term care.
Advisors suggest that estate planning be an ongoing topic of conversation, perhaps beginning as early as when children go off to college. Such conversations may be especially crucial if one belongs to a blended or otherwise complicated family. Those wishing to discuss their plans with their children may have to determine if it is best to have such meetings individually or in a family setting.
Preparing an estate plan is a generous gift to leave for loved ones. Relieving family members of the burden of making difficult medical and end-of-life decisions, and sparing them the stress of an intestate probate will go far in establishing a positive legacy. For answers to questions about the estate and probate law options best for their situations, many in Pennsylvania seek the advice of an attorney.
Source: marketwatch.com, "How to talk to your family about your estate plan", Paul A. Merriman, Sept. 9, 2017