estate planning & probate Archives

Wills, trusts and more for millennials

If you are one of the many millennials in Pennsylvania, the thought of creating a will, a trust or any other type of estate planning document seems like something far off in the distant future. In fact, you likely think about it only in terms of something your parents or grandparents should be doing. This could not be further from the truth. Certainly, your parents and grandparents can benefit from these things but so can you.

Understanding the probate process

When a friend or loved one passes away, it is often difficult to deal with the aftermath involving property and assets. It can be difficult to make critical decisions when dealing with the emotional despair of losing someone. The deceased may have left behind an estate filled with possessions, property and assets he or she wanted to distribute to heirs after passing. In some cases, a will may have been left behind. However, there are other situations where a person may have died without creating a last will and testament. Either way, the case may enter the probate process to help in finalizing the estate.

How do you prevent ademption?

Ademption decisions could potentially subvert the intent of your will. At the very least, they would probably diminish the value of your estate somewhat, as your beneficiaries and executors drew funds therefrom to research your intentions. You could potentially avoid subjecting your beneficiaries to the complexities of ademption with a few simple gestures.

Common estate administration errors and how to avoid them

If you live in Pennsylvania and another Pennsylvania resident named you the executor over his or her estate, you face unique responsibilities that you must take care of within a timely, efficient manner. Serving as someone’s executor can require that you perform any number of duties, among them publicizing the estate, paying off any debts and seeing to it that beneficiaries receive their allocations. The process can prove complicated, however, and many first-time executors make similar errors. John A. Cochran recognizes the many areas in which executors commonly make mistakes, and he has helped many clients in similar situations work their way through the process.

Understanding a power of attorney

It can be scary to think about, but at some point in your life you may become too old or infirm to competently manage your financial affairs. Mental incapacitation can leave you open for manipulation by an unscrupulous party seeking to siphon off your wealth, or at least, leave your finances vulnerable to other parties who may simply not have your or your family’s best interests at heart. That’s where a power of attorney comes in. You have the option of granting someone in Pennsylvania power of attorney duties to handle your estate in the event you are unable to do so.

Step 1 is have a will. Step 2 is to constantly update it.

Many people are overwhelmed by the thought of tackling their estate plan. It is an inherently difficult topic to ruminate and discuss because at the center of it all is the idea of death. You are preparing for your inevitable death, and what happens to your life savings and collections when it arrives. That's incredibly hard to get past, and it can drive people away from the estate planning process -- even though it is an incredibly important part of your life.


John A. Cochran, Esquire
140 S. Main St.
Suite 301
Greensburg, PA 15601

Phone: 724-216-0704
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