Wills/Powers of Attorney

Is a Will really necessary?

This is a question that we are often asked by clients who are new to the estate planning process.  In short, the answer to the question is “YES” you need a Will.  Why do you need a Will?  The reasons are many and varied.

Let us begin by dispelling a common misconception regarding dying without a Will.  Contrary to what many have heard, if you die without a Will, all of your assets will not pass immediately to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  However, what will happen is your assets will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which basically set forth which of your relatives and in what order your relatives will inherit your estate.  If you had prepared a Will, you would have made the decision as to where your assets were distributed.

A second reason for preparing a Will deals with the selection of an executor.  An executor is the person you nominate in your Will who will be responsible for gathering all of your assets upon your death, paying all of your bills and taxes and properly distributing your assets in accordance with the provisions in your Will.  Again, absent a Will nominating an executor, Pennsylvania law will determine who will handle the above tasks and the person(s) authorized under these laws may not be to your liking.

Yet another reason for preparing a Will is the nomination of guardians for minor children.  If you have minor children, you have the option of nominating guardians to look after your children in the event that you pass away.  There have been many cases in the past where guardians were not named for minor children and the parents subsequently pass away.  Often times a contentious legal battle will ensue between relatives of the minor children for guardianship.  By simply addressing the issue in your Will, you can head off many of these battles before they even begin.

The above reasons are but a small sampling of the reasons for preparing a Will.  Attorney Kessler has prepared hundreds of estate documents and is more than happy to consult with you regarding your personal situation.  Call us to set up a time prepare your estate documents.

What are Powers of Attorney?

Simply put, Powers of Attorney are documents prepared by a person wherein they grant certain powers to another individual to act on their behalf.  For example, you can prepare a Power of Attorney that nominates someone to handle your banking and financial matters in an instance where you can no longer handle these matters on your own due to mental and/or physical incapacity.  There are multiple types of Powers of Attorney including, but not limited to, Health Care Powers of Attorney and Financial Powers of Attorney.

Powers of Attorney are integral elements of any estate plan and should be considered carefully.  To discuss the benefits of Powers of Attorney with Attorney Kessler, call our office to set up a consultation.