Looking for an Estate Attorney Near You?
The estate lawyers in our nearby Doylestown and Norristown law offices can help you plan for retirement and long-term care. They take a holistic approach that deploy a variety of strategies to protect you. Those strategies include caregiving, will preparation, powers of attorney, advance directives, and taxation considerations.
Our estate lawyers at our nearby law firm provide comprehensive legal services to assist in all of these matters. Services include:
- Advance Directives
- Estate Administration & Probate
- Estate Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Special Needs Trusts
- Will & Trust Litigation
Benefits of Estate Planning
Estate plans are not just for wealthy or retired people. More than ever, they are the right decision for anybody who has a family or a business or wants to be in control of personal health and wealth.
According to Caring.com, only 42% of adults in the U.S. have estate planning documents. If you are one of those individuals, here are some reasons to consider talking with an estate planning attorney.
Manage Your Own Needs
An estate plan isn’t just for planning your death. It also protects you in the event you become incapacitated or incapable of making decisions for yourself.
Electing Estate Trustees
Estate planning simplifies the administration of your estate. You can assign authority to an executor or trustee to save money reduce the burden on your family.
Taking Care of Your Family
With an estate plan, your state of residence typically decides how your assets get distributed after death. Having appropriate documentation removes any question about how your assets get dispersed.
The IRS places limits around how much money you can transfer without taxation. An estate plan can help minimize tax payments. Money transfer involves three different taxes – estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax.
Protecting Family Wealth
Estate planning helps preserve wealth by removing your name from assets and placing them into legally-protected vehicles like trusts or limited liability entities.
The estate planning attorneys at our law firm support your decision to be proactive in protecting your family’s future. Our firm can protect, preserve and manage your estate to reach your goal of safeguarding assets, planning for orderly business succession, minimizing inheritance taxes, and ensuring the benefits of your hard work go to your family, not to the government.
What goes into an estate plan?
Whether your estate is modest or complex, estate planning requires some foundational items:
Wills and Trusts
A will or trust is a key component of your estate plan. It expresses your final wishes regarding how you want your estate distributed. Your will takes effect when you die.
A trust takes effect immediately and is generally used to set aside funds or property for a specific purpose.
Many people elect to create their will through web-based tools. Just remember, the wording of that will is critical. It must be crafted consistently to reflect the way you’ve bequeathed assets. Otherwise, the will could be contested.
It pays to talk with an estate attorney near you who can guide you through the process of creating wills and trusts that meet your estate planning needs.
Also known as living wills, advance directives for healthcare in Pennsylvania allow you to decide what type of healthcare you want should you become incapacitated or unable to express your wishes regarding accepting, rejecting, or discontinuing medical treatment. You might also consider including a second agent in the event your primary agent is unavailable or unable to act on your behalf.
A living will also determine painful decisions about your care for your loved ones. You can learn more about advanced directives here.
Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney lets you appoint someone you trust to manage your financial or medical affairs should you be unable or unavailable to do so yourself. Sans a POA, a court may decide what happens to your assets if you’re found mentally incompetent. The court’s judgment may be contrary to your wishes.
A POA empowers your agent to transact on your behalf and make legal decisions for you. With the pandemic impacting so many lives, it’s important to consider appointing a power of attorney, even for your college-bound children.
If your will or trust fails to include a clause regarding guardianship of your children, selecting a guardian is important, but often overlooked.
Independent of a guardianship designation, a court may rule that your children live with someone you may not have selected. In extreme cases, the court could even rule your children become wards of the state.
Estate Administration & Probate
Estate administration is the process of managing and distributing the assets of the deceased. The tasks of estate administration and probate fall to the executor or personal representative named in the will. If there is no will, the court will designate an administrator.
Probate is the specific manner by which your estate gets distributed to family members through the legal system. In Pennsylvania, small estates can go through a simplified process.
If the estate has more than $25,000 in assets, regular probate procedures are required. In either case, our estate attorneys can guide you through the executor or personal representative responsibilities, assuring that you meet deadlines and are in compliance with your fiduciary duties.
What Happens if an Estate Plan is Disputed?
When a will or trust is in dispute, families can be torn apart at the very time they should be pulling together. Our estate lawyers help by looking for an estate dispute resolution that causes the least financial and emotional distress. If litigation becomes necessary, our estate planning attorneys provide vigorous advocacy on behalf of our clients.
Ready to Talk to an Estate Lawyer Near You?
A well-crafted and regularly reviewed estate plan is the best gift you can give your family. As an experienced and well-recognized law firm, our estate attorneys can help you create a plan that works for you and helps you meet your goals
Substantial estates are managed with care and foresight by estate lawyers at our local law offices in Doylestown and Norristown. Our estate lawyers can counsel you about preserving your assets for future generations.