Have you updated your wills and powers of attorney?

It is important to review your estate planning documents from time to time to ensure they accurately reflect your wishes. This is especially true when there have been changes in family composition or structure, such as the birth of a child, a marriage or divorce, or a child's attainment of adulthood. In addition, changes in the nature or value of a family's assets may produce new estate planning opportunities and concerns that should be considered and addressed. Alterations may also be needed when executors, trustees, or guardians have died, relocated, or shown they are not suitable to act in that capacity. Finally, changes in the applicable law may also require revisions to an estate plan. 

Please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP to have your estate planning documents reviewed with special attention to your unique needs and objectives.

Wills and Trusts

While many people believe that wills are only for the elderly or terminally ill, the truth is that it can never be too early to ensure that your family and assets are protected after you are gone. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP can help you plan for your passing in a way that takes your unique circumstances and goals into account. With the help our experienced estate planning attorneys, you can determine how you want your assets distributed to your family and friends, make charitable bequests, provide for guardianship of your children, and much more. Regardless of the size of your family or your bank account, the estate planning attorneys of Appel & Yost LLP can help you from start to finish in drafting and amending your will to ensure your wishes are known even after you are gone.

The attorneys of Appel & Yost LLP are also experienced in establishing trusts in cases where a trust is the best way to effectuate your wishes in providing for your loved ones after you are gone. There are a wide variety of trusts, both revocable and irrevocable, that accomplish a number of goals. Our estate planning attorneys will attentively listen to your goals and work with you to create a trust that distributes your wealth at the time and in the manner you wish. Our experienced attorneys can also help you create Special Needs Trust, which ensure that disabled children, elderly parents, chronically ill loved ones, and others are able to receive all the medical care and attention they need. Regardless of the type of trust employed, the estate planning attorneys of Appel & Yost LLP provide effective, cost efficient service to meet your needs.

Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directives, and Living Wills

The attorneys of Appel & Yost LLP have a great deal of experience preparing Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, and Living Wills. While most people avoid thinking about these issues, the reality is that nobody knows how, when, or if they will become incapacitated. It is therefore critical that each individual has these important documents prepared as soon as possible.

A Power of Attorney is a document which authorizes another to make legal, financial, and/or business decisions on another's behalf. Powers of attorney can be broad, allowing the agent to make almost any decision on the principal's behalf, or limited to only one or two specific functions or matters. We typically recommend a durable power of attorney, which allows the agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal until the principal's death, regardless of whether the principal is incapacitated. Of course, the principal may revoke the power of attorney at any time, assuming the individual is not incapacitated.

Healthcare Directives provide an opportunity to reduce to writing your decisions regarding the initiation, continuation, withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment such as feeding tubes, respirators, and hydration. Having a living will in place ensures that your loved ones will not agonize over these decisions because you have already made your wishes clear.

A Healthcare Directive can be established to appoint an individual to carry out these wishes and/or make any other medical decisions for you in the event of your incapacity. The healthcare directive should be a person you trust who is capable of making a medical decision on your behalf. This person also has the right to choose your medical providers and decide when it is or is not appropriate to place you under medical care. The attorneys of Appel & Yost LLP are happy to speak with you about the various options you have with regard to powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and living wells.

Estate Tax Planning Attorneys

Estates valued in excess of $5 million are subject to federal estate tax at a rate of 35%. Pennsylvania inheritance tax applies to estates of all sizes, but the amount varies based on the relationship of the beneficiary to the decedent. The experienced estate tax planning attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP can help you skillfully craft a plan aimed a minimizing taxes and maximizing the benefits to heirs and beneficiaries. After a careful and thorough analysis of our clients' goals and the composition of their estates, the experienced attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP present clients with a variety of simple and sophisticated estate tax planning techniques, together with the advantages and disadvantages associated with each option. Our attorneys also assist in effectuating tax-free lifetime gifts to loved ones as a means of reducing clients' taxable estates. The tax attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP possess the requisite knowledge and experience to effectuate these plans, hold advanced tax degrees, and bring to bear years of experience in these areas. Our attorneys regularly provide advice to closely-held businesses, entrepreneurs, large corporations and their shareholders, tax-exempt organizations, partnerships, and multi-generational families.

Elder Law and Medicaid Planning

A variety of issues can arise in our golden years, and it is often better to prepare for all possible contingencies sooner rather than later. It is important to ensure that you will have enough money to provide for yourself and any loved ones for whom you are responsible over the course of your life. The elder law attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP are dedicated to working with clients to prepare for all these contingencies. Because your resources can be exhausted quickly, especially when you have a home healthcare aid or are living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is absolutely imperative that you plan ahead of time to ensure your financial security for the remainder of your life. Our attorneys will review your long term care options and create a plan that will allow you to continue to live independently and with dignity. If you or someone you care for has special needs, we will evaluate your specific situation and tailor a plan accordingly. The experienced attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP will evaluate your financial situation and find the way that you can best utilize Medicaid planning to protect your assets for future generations.

The elder law attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP can assist in a variety of other elder law matters, such as establishing guardianships for loved ones who have become incapacitated. Our attorneys also assist in facilitating sudden changes in living arrangements, disability planning, terminal illness planning, and investigation of possible wrongful death claims when you believe your loved one should not have died while under the care of a medical professional or aide. Regardless of the type of elder law service you need, the experienced attorneys at Appel & Yost LLP are here to answer any questions you may have about elder law and Medicaid planning.