Estate Planning Although our lives are temporal, we all want to leave some things for those who live on after us. One of the ways we do that is by passing our assets, estates, and wishes on to our loved ones or charitable organizations through wills, trusts, and direct transfers. Estate planning is that part of the law that establishes in our lifetime what will happen to our assets upon our death. It is the job of the estate planning attorney to listen to what his/her client wants to do, and then advise him/her regarding the best way to reach their goals, taking into consideration all appropriate laws.
In doing so, the following matters are discussed and a plan developed.
Family dynamics, including incapacity, public benefits, ages and health considerations of children, second marriages, and many other considerations.
Spousal and dependent protection. Assets and how they are titled. Non-Probate Assets, i.e. beneficiary or transfer on death (TOD) designations, insurance policies, annuities, bank accounts, real property, such as homes, which are titled in joint tenancy, etc. Although not a part of a probate estate, non-probate assets are counted as part of a taxable estate for the purpose of determining federal estate taxes.
Estate, Gift and Income Tax Planning Insurance, including life insurance and long term care insurance.
A typical estate plan usually includes the following documents:
Will, which may or may not include trusts.
Trusts, which vary significantly in nature and purpose.
Medical & Financial Powers of Attorney;
Probate Probate is the court process by which a decedent's will is administered. In Pennsylvania, every probate estate valued at over $25,000, or which has real estate of any value, must be probated. Estates less than $25,000 we handle through a small estate administration.
We can help you with your estate plan, as well as be there for your family when the time comes to probate your estate.