Estate law is a practice area that provides protection for people while they are alive, and helps them make certain that their assets go where they want after they pass away. While many assume that only the wealthy need an estate plan, nothing could be further from the truth.
Estate planning includes documents such as powers of attorney and living wills, which allow people to make medical decisions for you and pay your bills if you should become incapacitated. It includes guardianships, which provide the ability to manage the affairs of an elderly loved one who is unable to care for themselves any more. And yes, it includes wills to make certain your assets go where you want them, and planning to minimize tax consequences for your estate.
Estate law also includes estate administration. When someone passes away it is normally necessary to take their estate through probate. In Pennsylvania, this means filing with the Orphans’ Court, a special court that handles inheritance and related matters. It is also important to make certain that all final bills are paid and last taxes are properly filed. Failure to do so can cause long-term financial issues for the beneficiaries of the estate.