What to do if loved one dies without a will?

If a loved one has passed away without a will, the laws of intestacy will govern how their estate is handled. The closest kin can apply to the Register of Wills to be designated as the administrator of the estate. Other kin of the same degree may need to renounce their right to serve. The […]

What to do if loved one dies with a will?

After a loved one has passed, one of the first steps to be taken is to determine if they have a will. If so, you will want to locate the original will and make sure it has been properly signed. Ideally, the will has a self-proving affidavit so that the witnesses to the will do […]

What to do after adoption

After your adoption hearing, you can take steps to update your child’s name and/or birth certificate, where necessary. To obtain a new birth certificate you will need to submit a request through Vital Records in the state that issued the initial birth certificate. If outside of Pennsylvania, check with the local office regarding their specific […]

What assets will pass through the will?

Not every asset owned by a party at the time of death will pass under the direction of the will or through the laws of intestacy. It is important to understand the difference in how assets will pass to ensure proper estate planning. Probate assets, those passing through the will, are those for which there […]

Transfer of Real Property

A deed is the legal document to record an interest in real property. This is distinguishable from a mortgage which directs who is financially responsible for payments on a loan secured by real property. It is possible to be on a deed or a mortgage but not both. To the extent you are transferring ownership […]

Tips for Executors

An executor is the person designated to be responsible for the administration of a person’s estate. As an executor, you are required to act in a fiduciary capacity and carry out the decedent’s wishes as stated in their will. To start, the executor will need to take the will to the Register of Wills to […]

Timeline for Kinship Adoption

The rights of the other biological parent will need to be terminated in connection with any adoption. Their parental rights can be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily. With voluntary termination the other natural parent will sign a consent to the adoption which is subsequently attached to the Petition for Adoption. There must be at least thirty […]

Tax Returns for Decedents

In Pennsylvania, two tax returns are likely needed following the death of an individual. First, the person’s executor or closest kin should make sure their final income tax return is completed. If the party was married at the time of death and previously filed taxes jointly with their spouse, their spouse can file on their […]

Support Between Spouses

Married persons are liable for the support of each other according to their respective abilities to provide support as provided by law. Similar to child support, spousal support will be calculated based on a statewide guideline. Without children, spousal support is calculated by multiplying the paying party’s income by 33% and the receiving party’s income […]

Authority for Estate Administration

The executor or administrator is the party tasked with handling the decedent’s estate. An executor is named in the decedent’s will. An administrator is appointed when the decedent dies without a will and is often the closet kin of the decedent. The executor or administrator will be sworn in as the person responsible for handling […]