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The Importance of Estate Planning

We Know You Don’t Like to Talk About It, But…

Here at the law office of Margaret Zylka House, Attorney at Law, in Connellsville, PA, we always stress the importance of estate planning. We get it; no one likes to think or talk about their passing. It isn’t light, pleasant conversation for the dining table or a gathering of friends on the patio. But really, death is inevitable. When you die or become unable to make your own decisions, how can you take care of your loved ones’ needs? How will they divide your estate? How can you be certain that they will honor your last wishes? You don’t want to leave the details for someone else to sort out after you are gone. That is a sure way to get your estate tied up in legal knots.

According to, estate planning has seemingly become less important to Americans over the past 16 years. In 2005, estimates stated that more than 50 percent of people in the United States had a will. Today, only roughly 30 percent of Americans have a complete estate plan. But while estate planning may not be one of your main concerns, it should be. It is extremely important. So, it’s time to think about it. It’s time to discuss it. And it’s time for you to begin or complete your estate planning.

Navigating the Legal Complexities of Estate Planning

First of all, estate planning is not as simple as just telling someone what you want to happen after your death or incapacitation. There is no guarantee that they will handle the estate and the situation according to your wishes. And if you have only left verbal instructions, that may open a Pandora’s box of messy contesting and litigation. You need to understand the legal ins, outs, and complexities of estate planning. To understand and navigate these legalities, you need the counsel of a trusted, knowledgeable attorney.

While, again, you must consult with an attorney to complete your estate planning, we would like to give you some basic components of a complete estate plan. This is not a comprehensive list. This, however, can help you understand what to expect, though estate planning is not “one-size-fits-all.” Your attorney will discuss your particulars with you to shape the perfect plan to fulfill your specific needs and wishes.

Estate planning usually includes:

  • Forming and signing a will. A will is a binding legal document to set down your wishes on the distribution of your assets and estate. It can also declare your desire for the care of your minor-age children, as to the “who,” “where,” and “how” of their care.
  • Name your beneficiaries. Your beneficiary or beneficiaries simply are those who will benefit from your asset disbursement after your death. Your beneficiaries can be almost anyone, including your loved ones and family members. You can also name charities or trusts as your beneficiaries. Your attorney can advise you on the specifics as it pertains to your situation.
  • Inventory your estate. You need to know exactly what you have for successful estate planning. What are your assets? What is your financial status? Do you own any properties? What are your possessions? These are all questions that will need answers as you complete the legal process for your estate plan.
  • Plan to reassess. Most people who create an estate plan have many more years to live. In those years, your financial situation may change, either subtly or drastically. It is a good idea to periodically reassess your estate planning to make sure that it still covers everything. Make sure it also covers any added wealth or other assets.
  • Create an advance healthcare directive. Another name for an advance healthcare directive is a “living will.” Estate planning is not just for when you pass. It also allows you to declare your end-of-life wishes. It allows you to choose how doctors and healthcare workers will handle your care when you can’t respond. This will help to prevent disagreements and confusion among your loved ones and alleviate the burden of difficult decisions for them.
  • Establish a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you name a person or organization to make decisions about your medical care in case of incapacitation or your assets after you are gone. There are, however, different levels of powers of attorney, with varying levels of control. Talk to your attorney about your specific wishes.

We Have the Knowledge and Experience to Handle Your Estate Planning

In Connellsville, Greensburg, Uniontown, Mount Pleasant, Scottdale, and the surrounding areas, our law office is the smart choice for estate planning. Our attorney, Margaret Zylka House, can help you successfully navigate the legal twists and turns inherent in the estate process. She has the knowledge and experience to make sure that your family and assets will be safe and secure in case of incapacitation or after you pass away. We care about our clients throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. You want your estate planning to be just the way you want it to be. So do we, and we will work with you every step of the way. Trust Margaret Zylka House, Attorney at Law, for your estate planning needs.

Margaret Zylka House: Your Advocate in Southwestern PA

No matter what your legal need may be, make your first call to the law office of Margaret Zylka House, Attorney at Law. We handle much more than just estate planning. Our law office can advocate for you in the areas of elder law, business law, family law, adoptions, divorces, and more. Legal situations can be confusing, stressful, and daunting. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, trust in the expertise and experience of Margaret Zylka House, Attorney at Law.

Call the law office of Margaret Zylka House, Attorney at Law, today at (724) 628-4955. Let us talk with you about the importance of estate planning.