Estate Planning

Estate PlanningPennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney | Bucks County Lawyer

If you will be leaving property, investment shares and/or capital to your loved ones after you are gone, you will need a will or a trust to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Pennsylvania estate planning attorney John M. Kenney can advise you on the differences between wills and trusts and help you decide which one best fits your particular circumstances. Mr. Kenney has been helping individuals and families plan their estates since 1983. He has a great deal of knowledge about the complexities of living trusts and probate law and can assist you with any and all of your estate planning needs.

Pros and Cons of Wills and Living Trusts

Most people associate wills with small to medium-sized estates and think that trusts are for wealthy people. In truth, the benefits of using a will vs. a trust (and vice versa) have more to do with probate, tax laws and contestability than with estate size. Bucks County lawyer John M. Kenney will provide you with solid estate planning and provide you with important information about the distinguishing features of wills vs. trusts. Some of these features include:

Wills
  • Well-suited to estates with a small number of beneficiaries
  • Less costly to create
  • Easier to execute
  • Subject to probate
Trusts
  • Appropriate for estates with several pieces of property and/or multiple heirs
  • More difficult to challenge than wills
  • Can be used to manage inheritances for underage heirs
  • Subject to collection from creditors and the IRS
When Is Probate a Good Thing?

Although many people choose a trust instead of a will in order to avoid probate, the probate process in Pennsylvania is fairly simple and has some advantages, for example:

  • Probate is a court-supervised process which can be useful if the will is contested
  • It's less expensive to litigate a will than to litigate a trust
  • The probate process cuts off creditor claims much sooner than an estate held in trust
The Importance of a Living Will

In addition to a will or trust, every estate plan should include a living will. In Pennsylvania, a living will is a legal document stating your preferences for the type of care you would like to receive if you are ever in a terminal condition with no hope of recovery. Planning now and declaring your wishes in a living will can help your family avoid having to face an unthinkable decision.

Powers of Attorney

Durable powers of attorney enable you to name a trusted person to make financial and medical decisions for you in the event that you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Giving powers of attorney to someone you trust will give the named person the legal authority to pay bills, view medical records and make financial and health care decisions for you. Without giving a trusted family member or friend powers of attorney, you could suffer serious consequences such as:

  • Delayed or insufficient medical care
  • Misuse or embezzlement of your financial assets
  • Neglect of your home
  • Unpaid bills
  • Liens against your property

Fairless Hills attorney John M. Kenney will provide you with the personal service you deserve, and will take the time to answer all of your questions. For a free initial estate planning consultation, please call (215) 547-3031, email jmk@jkenneylaw.com, or fill out and submit our online "Contact Us" form.