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I Can Answer Your Estate Planning Questions

At Gregory L. Heidt, Attorney At Law, I have been assisting clients with estates of all sizes for over 40 years, and in that time I have acquired a deep understanding of the issues that my clients encounter and the solutions that are available to them. I have prepared this list of frequently asked questions so that you can get answers to some questions that you most likely have.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is a general term for the process of preparing legal documents that you need for when you pass away. It is recommended to have an attorney assist you with estate planning, as the process can be complex depending on your state and your assets. Having someone who is experienced in this process will help you avoid unnecessary issues that could delay or reduce the assets you leave to your beneficiaries.

What documents are needed for estates?

There are typically three basic documents, a last will and testament, a power of attorney and an advance medical directive or health care directive. A last will and testament will include a list of all of the assets that you own and what you wish to do with them. A power of attorney is a document appointing someone to be your legal representative and to take care of your affairs while you are living. An advance medical directive, also sometimes called a health care directive or a living will is a document which designates someone to be in charge of your medical decisions or enforcing your previously established wishes for medical care when you are incapacitated.

What is the difference between wills and trusts?

A will is a document that you and your attorney draft that includes a listing of all of your assets and what you wish done with them upon your passing. It does not have any legal status until you pass away. A trust is a legal entity, which can take on a variety of forms depending on what it is created to do. For example, a revocable trust is created to hold your property while you are alive, providing you with access to it. A testamentary trust is a trust created in a will at the time of your death, placing your designated assets into it and selecting a trustee to care for it for the sake of the beneficiaries which you designate.

What is the role of an executor in estate planning?

An executor is someone that you designate in your will as the one to carry out its provisions. They will be responsible for submitting the will to the appropriate probate court, managing the assets while they are in probate and ensuring that the appropriate beneficiaries receive their inheritance. Executors are also responsible for paying all of the necessary taxes and fees that the estate generates from the funds contained within it.

Call My Office If You Have More Questions

If you still have questions and need help with your estate planning, then you can call Gregory L. Heidt, Attorney At Law. My Erie office can be reached at 814-580-9495 or you can complete my online contact form to send me a brief description of your issues.