If you are like the vast majority of Pennsylvania residents, you probably do not need a living trust. A living trust may be a useful vehicle to avoid probate in those states where probate is a lengthy and expensive process. Pennsylvania is not one of those states. In fact, probate in Pennsylvania is relatively simple and inexpensive. If you do not own real estate in several states, you will spend considerably more time and money now on creating and funding a living trust than your survivors will spend probating your will after your death. A living trust will not save your estate any Pennsylvania inheritance tax or federal estate tax. You will be best served with three essential estate planning documents: a will, a comprehensive power of attorney and an advance health care declaration (also known as a living will, which is a written statement of your desire for life support treatment). Stay away from mass-marketed and mass-produced living trusts.
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