Losing a parent is an incredibly difficult experience for any child. As a probate attorney, I have seen firsthand how the lack of an estate plan can compound this pain. This is particularly evident in Pennsylvania, where estate law intricacies can pose additional challenges. One common struggle adult children face in such scenarios is the feeling that they cannot fulfill their parents’ unspoken wishes, which often leads to disappointment and regret. If the children are minors at the time of the parents’ death, the lack of an estate plan can create a very costly legal process for the surviving family and an even more emotional strain for the minors.
A well-prepared estate plan significantly reduces emotional stress and brings peace to your loved ones during these hard times. An estate plan offers clear guidance through the probate process, a journey that can be daunting without a proper plan in place. Many of my clients express the desire to complete probate quickly, primarily to ease the burden on their children. Estate plans are invaluable because they provide certainty and direction for resolving legal issues that arise during probate.
Some of the clarity a Will helps provide includes:
- Selecting an executor to carry out your wishes and control the property;
- Decide who receives the shares of the estate;
- Passing property to any minors without a costly guardianship process;
- Providing guidance on how debts, expenses and taxes affect the shares of the estate;
- How any real estate should be handled.
Without an estate plan, adult children are often left to make tough decisions without the guidance of a Will, which can be especially challenging if their decisions are scrutinized by other family members. This can lead to family conflicts and lengthy court proceedings which may overshadow the positive memories of the deceased. A thoughtful estate plan brings order and clarity to a difficult time. It allows you to choose how your estate is handled after your passing. In many ways, an investment in estate planning is a final act of care and consideration for your family.
I have guided many families through the probate process for all types of estates. My experience has shown me that there’s a clear distinction in the level of stress experienced by those with a well-crafted estate plan versus those without one. It’s not just about having a Will. There’s a significant difference between a self-written Will and a meticulously thought-out estate plan. It is often the self-written Wills that causes more problems than having no Will at all.
Estate planning helps your surviving family by ensuring they can navigate the probate process with fewer challenges and more peace of mind. If you or someone you know has questions about updating your Will or the role of an estate executor, please don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance.
By Phone: (215) 918-4242
Send Us an Email
If you are not quite ready for a consultation, download our complementary probate handbook HERE. We’ll send you helpful probate guides and resources so you know how to handle the estate.