Disclaimers vs Renunciations

Disclaimers and renunciations are forms that can impact the administration of an estate. As is true with all legal paperwork, the best policy is to consult with an attorney before signing. If you elect not to consult with an attorney, at least be aware of the purpose of each form. A renunciation is used where […]

Estate Planning – Last Will and Testament

Our firm recommends a few different documents as part of a basic estate plan one of which is a Last Will and Testament. This document allows you to provide for what should happen to your probate assets after you pass. Pennsylvania does apply a tax on assets passed through probate or intestacy. The amount of […]

Estate Planning – Power of Attorney

Another document to include as part of a basic estate plan is a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to act on your behalf regarding financial matters during your lifetime. A Power of Attorney may be durable or springing. A durable Power of Attorney is effective upon signing […]

Estate Planning – Living Will/Healthcare Directive

The third document to include as part of your estate plan is a Living Will/Advanced Healthcare Directive. A Living Will allows you to indicate what sort of measures you would like or would not like to the extent the measures would only serve to delay your inevitable death. Specifically, these decisions would come into play […]

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 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 […]

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 […]