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Estate Planning with Wills

When you come in to have a will prepared, we will go over the following:

List particular items. Perhaps the camp in Tionesta will go to the son who has always loved it. Perhaps the grand piano goes to the granddaughter who excels at the piano. Perhaps you want a certain amount of money to go to each grandchild, or to certain charities. We will review those items and determine the best way to be sure they go where you want them to.

The residuary clause. Most important is the paragraph that says "Everything else goes to…."  Usually this is where you name your spouse, your children, your siblings, your closest friends. But it may be that favorite charities are your ultimate beneficiaries.

Provisions for minor children. If you have minor children, you will want to state who should raise your children if something happens to both parents. You may also want to dictate at what age children should be able to receive their inheritance.

Establish trusts. You may not want a child or loved one to receive all of the property that they are inheriting at once. This typically happens when minor children are involved, or a child with special needs, or an heir who isn't a good money manager. In that case you may establish a trust that comes into effect when you die. The trust will hold that person's inheritance and it will be managed by whoever you designate.

Naming executors and trustees. A will should state who will be the "executor" of your estate. The executor is the person who will carry out your wishes as listed in the will. The executor's responsibilities are to collect all your assets, deal with your house if you have one, pay your bills, pay taxes, and distribute the net to your heirs. These are important responsibilities and are usually carried out with the assistance of a lawyer.

Wills created without a lawyer's input can lead to unpleasant surprises. Properly drafted, your will will ensure that your wishes are carried out with a minimum of discord.  


Olds Russ & Associates, LLC is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the North Hills section of Allegheny County. The firm provides representation to clients in nearby communities such as Etna, Shaler, Allison Park, Westview, Glenshaw, Gibsonia, and Wexford, as well as clients throughout Western Pennsylvania.

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