It may be possible to obtain a template will, trust or other estate planning document from a Pennsylvania library or government office. You may also be able to download these documents from a government website. However, it’s generally in your best interest to have an attorney review these documents after you have filled them out.
No two estates are exactly alike
The primary drawback of using a template document is that it assumes everyone’s estate planning needs are the same. However, this is generally not the case. For instance, you may want to designate an alternate beneficiary in the event that a child, spouse or friend predeceases you. It may also be a good idea to name an alternate executor in the event that your first choice is unwilling to serve in this role after you pass.
Your needs could change after documents are executed
There is a good chance that your estate planning needs will change as you get older, which means that you’ll need an estate plan that can adapt to meet them. An attorney may be able to make changes to an existing will, revoke an existing trust or take other steps to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. Legal counsel might also be able to ensure that you’re taken care of in the event that you become mentally incapacitated.
It’s always a good idea to meet with an attorney when creating an estate plan. Doing so may help to ensure that plan documents conform to state law, which may reduce the odds of a legal challenge after you pass. Your lawyer might also facilitate conversations with family members as to why your plan is constructed in a certain manner and what it’s designed to achieve.