Answering All Of Your Estate Planning Questions

At the Pennsylvania law firm of Bowe, Lisella & Bowe, our lawyers have been helping people throughout the Tamaqua area develop comprehensive estate plans since 1979. The following estate planning questions are some of the most common ones we encounter. However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone's situation is unique and nothing can replace the advice you receive from speaking with a qualified attorney. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 570-225-0032.

When should I begin thinking about creating an estate plan?

It is never too early to begin thinking about an estate plan. Most people think that estate planning is something for older people to worry about. However, a major component of an estate plan is that it is designed to help give you some control over the unexpected, such as an accident that requires extensive hospitalization or results in a disability. It can also help decide who should care for your minor children in the event of your death.

These may seem like morbid topics. It helps to think of an estate plan as a type of life insurance policy. You hope that it will never be necessary, but it can help give you peace of mind should the unthinkable ever occur.

Is there a difference between a will and a trust?

Yes. A will, as you likely know, determines who will receive your assets after you have passed on. A trust places control of your assets with a trustee, who can manage and distribute your assets to your designated beneficiaries. A trust may take effect during your life, upon your death or both.

I already have a will. Do I really need a trust?

It depends on what your goals are. Trusts are useful tools for protecting your assets from creditors. A properly created trust can also help your estate avoid the often lengthy probate process. A trust also enables you to set the conditions by which a beneficiary can receive your assets and how those assets may be used.

Is it possible to change the terms of a will?

Yes. In fact, we encourage people to review their estate plan occasionally. Perhaps you have divorced, remarried or have welcomed a new member into your family. No matter what reasons you may have for changing the terms of your will, our attorneys are here to help guide you through this process.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, your estate will enter probate. This is the process by which the courts distribute assets according to the law. It does not matter who you may have promised your assets to during your lifetime. If your wishes are not stated in a valid will, the court is required to follow the rules set forth by the Legislature.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants another person the power to make decisions on your behalf. These decisions may involve medical treatment, finances and other matters. A power of attorney is designed to take effect when you are no longer capable of making decisions on your own. This could happen following an accident that requires you to be on life support or when dementia or another medical condition renders you incapacitated.

I've seen ads for do-it-yourself estate planning documents. Why do I need a lawyer?

"Canned" documents can be useful for getting you to think about what you would like your estate plan to accomplish. However, these documents are not "one-size-fits-all." Everyone's situation is different and the desire to save a few bucks in the present can result in major expenses down the line. Nothing can replace the advice and guidance of legal counsel when it comes to getting your estate plan right.

Contact Our Attorneys To Begin Planning For Your Family's Future

We are available to answer all of your estate planning questions. Call us at 570-225-0032 or toll free at 866-586-9855. You may also contact us online. We offer free consultations for many matters, are available for weekday, evening and weekend appointments, and are committed to charging reasonable and affordable rates.