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Scranton Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Estate Planning > What Happens to My Investments After I Pass Away in Pennsylvania?

What Happens to My Investments After I Pass Away in Pennsylvania?


Many residents of Pennsylvania have placed enormous amounts of wealth in stocks and other investments. But what happens to these investments after we pass away? Like many individuals, you may have most of your net worth tied up in investments. You may be concerned about how these funds will be distributed or liquidated following your passing.

The stock market is a fast-moving world. You may not have time to write new investments into your will before your passing. In addition, you might be worried that your investments will be sold at an inopportune time. How do you ensure that your beneficiaries will actually manage your portfolio in a responsible and efficient manner? After all, the goal is to leave your descendants with as much wealth as possible.

These questions and concerns can be easily addressed by professionals, such as qualified estate planning attorneys. These qualified legal experts are quite familiar with how this overall process works, and they can alleviate many of your worries.

Your Debts are Paid First

Investments may be liquidated in order to cover your debts. This means that if you pass away with considerable debt, your stocks may have to be sold at inopportune times in order to pay your creditors. Once the debts have been paid, the rest of your portfolio goes towards your beneficiaries.

What if I Didn’t Write a Will?

If you didn’t write a will, or you failed to include specific investments in your will, your wealth will be handled according to the laws of intestate succession. This is a detailed, standardized process in which wealth is distributed to certain relatives. Although your estate won’t have control over which relatives receive the assets, your descendants will almost certainly receive your investment portfolio.

What if I Was Trading Stocks with an Online App?

Fortunately, most online trading apps have built-in systems that allow your assets to be transferred to family members after you pass away. Most of these apps also offer transfer on death (TOD) accounts that allow you to designate certain beneficiaries.

Joint Ownership

Another useful method is to simply establish joint ownership of your stocks. With this method, your investment simply transfers to the other owner upon your death. There is no need for a will or a trust in this scenario, and this is similar to a TOD account.

Establishing a Trust

If you’re concerned that your beneficiaries will not have the financial knowledge to adequately manage your investments, it might be a good idea to establish a trust. With a trust, you can lay out clear instructions for how your investments should be handled. You can also appoint a trustee with strong financial knowledge. This individual can either continue to manage your investments, or he can advise your beneficiaries on how to transfer your investments into less risky stocks that are easier to manage.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you want to ensure your investment portfolio is adequately protected and managed following your passing, an important first step is to get in touch with a Northern Pennsylvania estate planning attorney. Needle Law Firm can assist you with every aspect of the estate planning process, including details related to your investment portfolio. Reach out today and book a consultation.


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