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Including charitable gifts in an estate plan

When people in Pennsylvania think about planning for the future, they may wonder about how they can include their plans for charitable gifts into their broader estate plans. While many people want to focus on passing on their assets to their family, others want to place a strong focus on philanthropy. Even more want to combine both in one comprehensive estate plan. Continuing that giving after they pass away can be a key concern for people who have contributed to charities throughout their lifetime.

The downside to using unrecorded deeds

In Pennsylvania and throughout the country, it is possible to create a deed to a house and have it recorded at a later date. This may be a technique that is helpful for estate planning purposes. However, there could also be problems with this type of strategy. For instance, there is a chance that the deed is lost, misplaced or thrown away.

Estate planning on a micro level

In addition to addressing inheritance issues, an estate plan can also be used to plan for the possibility of becoming incapacitated and to appoint a guardian for minor children. However, Pennsylvania parents may also want to think about making plans for the immediate aftermath of becoming incapacitated or death.

Estate planning can help prevent family feuds

When people in Pennsylvania pass away, family fights over inheritance can squander the value of the estates they leave behind. Planning to deal with hurt feelings and family drama can be an important part of preparing an estate plan on par with the writing of the actual key estate documents. In one poll by TD Wealth, 44 percent of trust officers, attorneys and accountants said that the biggest threat to the viability of an estate was family conflict and discontent. As families grow and change, the potential for conflict can increase. They could eventually involve current and former spouses as well as children from multiple relationships.

The benefits of a special needs trust

Pennsylvania residents can think of a trust as a relationship between three entities. There's the donor, who puts the funds into the trust; the trustee, who looks after the assets in the trust; and the beneficiary, who benefits from the assets in the trust. With that being said, a special needs trust is a unique type of estate planning tool that caters to people with disabilities who also receive benefits from the government.

Divorce may necessitate estate planning revision

Pennsylvania couples who are getting divorced sometimes overlook a key item on the separation to-do list: updating their estate plans. Spouses are often named as beneficiaries of life insurance policies and in wills. These documents should be updated to reflect that the couple is no longer together, and new beneficiaries should be named. There are some other estate planning issues to consider in connection with divorce.

The importance of reviewing beneficiary designations

When a Pennsylvania resident gets divorced, they should consider changing the beneficiary on their life insurance policy. If an ex-spouse is still listed as the beneficiary, they may be entitled to any death benefit associated with that policy. However, this may not be the case if a divorce decree contains language saying that the beneficiary designation is withdrawn as part of the settlement.

Protecting the future with estate planning documents

A survey conducted by Wells Fargo found that many Americans do not have critical estate planning documents put in place. In fact, the data shows that as many as 40 percent of older people in Pennsylvania may not have the documents they need to protect themselves and loved ones in case of incapacity or death. An estate plan can work to protect one's wishes for health care and provide protection from financial abuse and exploitation.

Passing on valuable collectibles in your estate plan

Traditionally families build net worth through the accumulation of currency and property, but many individuals, whether they're aware of it or not, also own rare collectibles that can be worth a lot of money. Passing on these items to heirs doesn't cross the mind of many collectors, but accounting for these valuables in an estate plan is important. Deciding how to distribute collectibles will likely prevent disputes in the family later.

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