Category: Estates / Wills

Charitable Remainder Trusts

For many years the charitable remainder trust has been a popular vehicle for charitably minded individuals who are not quite ready to make outright gifts of assets. These trusts essentially provide for a lifetime (or other long-term) stream of payments to the donor (or other… Continue reading

Unsigned Wills and Attorney Liability

Wills and estate documents are not always signed before death makes its inevitable visit.  This is a recurring problem, and for law firms that plan estates it is not uncommon that reminders must be sent to clients regarding the status of the unsigned documents.  Usually… Continue reading

Planning for Your Digital Estate

For better or worse, an increased number of our financial and personal activities are conducted and logged on-line. This can prove difficult when a person dies or becomes incapacitated. Activities as varied as the relatively unimportant maintenance (or shutting down) of a Facebook account, accessing… Continue reading

Ownership of Joint Accounts vs. Will Expectations

Many times, upon the death of an account holder, issues arise as to who owns a joint account. The rules are straight-forward and are set forth in Pennsylvania’s “Multi-Party Account Act” (the “Act”). An important part of estate planning involves recognizing the results of joint… Continue reading

Whither the Death Tax

With a new President coming and with Republicans to control the House and Senate there is a distinct possibility that the estate tax will be repealed.  Indeed one expert, Michael Graetz, who teaches at Columbia Law School, is quoted in the Wall Street Journal as… Continue reading

Pennsylvania’s New Rules on “Unclaimed Property” and Retirement Accounts

As of September 10, 2016, Pennsylvania’s rules on when a retirement account is viewed as unclaimed property that “escheats” to the Commonwealth underwent significant change. Escheatment is the process by which “abandoned” property falls under the custody and control of the Commonwealth. Upon such transfer… Continue reading

Who Gets What in Intestacy?

We frequently advise clients about the importance of having a will to avoid the effects of the “intestacy” laws, which determine how a decedent’s estate is distributed when there is no will. But what exactly does the Pennsylvania intestacy law provide and is its application… Continue reading

Who Gets What in Intestacy?

We frequently advise clients about the importance of having a will to avoid the effects of the “intestacy” laws, which determine how a decedent’s estate is distributed when there is no will. But what exactly does the Pennsylvania intestacy law provide and is its application… Continue reading

Planning for Out-Of-State Real Estate on Death

Most people’s estates are probated in the state (and county) where the decedent resided. For decedent’s who owned real estate in a state where the decedent does not reside, the situation can be more involved. Typically, such out-of-state holdings will result in probating of the… Continue reading

Misbehaving Agents Under a Power of Attorney

Individuals often question the actions of agents acting under another family member’s power of attorney. Complaints can arise during the course of the family member’s life, but more often the questions seem to arise after a parent passes, when the heirs wonder where the estate… Continue reading