The Last Will And Testament

A Last Will and Testament is a legal declaration of your wishes regarding how your property should be distributed after your death. You can distribute your property to family members, friends, or organizations that are important to you. Those individuals and organizations that you want to inherit from your estate are known as Beneficiaries. An Estate Planning Attorney can help you to determine the best way to distribute property to these Beneficiaries.

You should be aware that a Will can only dictate who will inherit your Probate Property. Probate Property is property such as real estate, jewelry, clothing, money, and cars that are owned by you and you alone. If you own your home jointly with your spouse or maintain a bank account that is payable on your death to a friend, your Will will not govern the distribution of these assets and they will pass outside of your Will. This type of property is known as Non-Probate Property.

Non-Probate Property is distributed after your death based upon how the property is held by you and another or by a beneficiary designation associated with the asset. One example of Non-Probate Property may be a life insurance policy in which you name individuals who are to receive the proceeds from the policy after your death. Other Non- Probate Property may include IRAs, pensions, and 401(k) plans. An Estate Planning Attorney can also assist you in ensuring that the beneficiary designations for Non-Probate Property is appropriate in light of your wishes.

When the Beneficiaries of your estate are minors or have other circumstances that prohibit them from managing money appropriately, you want to discuss with your Estate Planning Attorney the possibility of including a Trust in your Will for the benefit of these Beneficiaries. By using a Trust, your Beneficiaries will have the benefit of their inheritance but the assistance of a Trustee who can handle the inheritance on their behalf.

Finally, in your Will, you should appoint an Executor. The Executor is in charge of administering the distribution of your estate, ensuring that Pennsylvania Inheritance Taxes and debts are paid, and filing the appropriate tax returns. The executor should be someone you trust to carry out matters regarding your estate in a timely and orderly fashion.

If you have more questions about your Last Will and Testament, contact an Estate Planning Attorney at the Quinn Law Firm.