Pennsylvania Wills and Trusts Lawyers
Talking about and creating an estate plan may be uncomfortable, but this process should not be ignored. However, many people spend more time organizing a family vacation than they do their financial plans. No matter what stage of life you are in, it is never too early or too late to begin building your estate plan.
At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we have over 65 years of experience working with clients to help them create customized estate plans that meet the needs of their loved ones. You have worked hard to acquire and build up your assets; allow us to help you preserve your legacy.
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Types of Wills and Trusts Our Skilled Attorneys Handle in Pennsylvania
We work to meet each client’s unique needs and carefully develop tax planning strategies to minimize death taxes and the burden on your loved ones. The Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. team offers a range of planning options and prepares advanced tax arrangement documents such as:
- Revocable living trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Living will declarations
- Family limited partnerships
- Special needs trusts
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Grantor retained annuity trusts
- Estate administration
- Estate Litigation
- Advance health care directives
- First and final accountings
- Lost wills
- Federal estate tax
- Pennsylvania estate tax
- Small estates
- Elder law
We can also prepare all necessary tax returns for your estate, like the Pennsylvania inheritance tax return and the United States estate (and generation skipping transfer) tax returns, so that the process will be as stress-free as possible for your loved ones.
The wills and trusts team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. also have experience handling Orphans’ Court matters. This includes litigation between fiduciaries and beneficiaries and representation of estates before the Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
How is Property Passed After Your Death in Pennsylvania?
It is all too easy to put off creating a detailed estate plan, but you should be able to choose who will take over the assets that took you a lifetime to achieve. Since you cannot take assets with you when you pass, they must be passed on to other parties. How that property gets distributed should be determined by you.
Following your death, your property will become one of two types of property:
- Non-probate property: This type of property is passed automatically, such as by beneficiary designation. Non-probate properties do not have to pass through a court process to get to your heirs.
- Probate property: Assets that do not have a beneficiary designation are known as probate properties and must be processed through court proceedings before they can be given to their new owners.
All probate property will be distributed to your heirs as laid out in the terms of your will after the will has been proven in a special proceeding. An appropriately executed will allows you to determine which people and organizations you would like to receive your assets after you pass.
In the event your will is contested, the court will enforce your commands regarding the distribution of your property. However, in all fifty states, the disinheritance of spouses is prohibited. Your spouse has a right of election and may demand a percentage of your estate regardless of what your will declares.
What Happens to the Property of Married Individuals After Death in Pennsylvania?
Most married couples own their assets jointly with the right of survivorship – meaning once one spouse dies, the surviving spouse automatically receives complete possession of the property. This distribution is unable to be changed by a will.
However, this does not mean that this type of ownership means that you do not need a will. An estate plan that provides everything to the spouse is not the best route for everyone. It is also impossible to know which spouse will survive the other, so both spouses will need a will that determines the disposition of the property at their subsequent death. Simultaneous death of two spouses could entrust the care of minor children and distribution of assets to the state of Pennsylvania.
Generally, Pennsylvania provides equal distribution among the children after the death of two spouses. Suppose you would prefer unequal distribution (for instance, providing a more significant share to a disabled child in a special needs trust, rather than their healthy sibling). In that case, you will need to have a will in place to allocate this distribution preference.
Why You Should Have a Will in Pennsylvania
Wills are an essential part of any estate plan and is the legal document that will determine where your assets are transferred upon your death. Many people assume that wills are only for the wealthy or people with complicated assets, but that just is not true. Even if you feel like you are too young or do not have assets worth saving, everyone should have an end-of-life plan.
Wills are essential for appointing:
- Who will inherit which assets,
- When your heirs will receive your assets,
- Who will manage your estate as executor or trustee,
- A guardian for your minor child, and
- Who will take over or sell a family business.
Should you die without a will, the assets in which you are the sole proprietor will be distributed in accordance with Pennsylvania’s law of descent and distributions. This may not necessarily be the distribution you prefer. If there are no heirs to your estate, your property could pass on to the state of Pennsylvania rather than to your friends and family.
What are the Benefits of Having a Will in Pennsylvania?
If you would like to determine how your property is distributed to family, friends, or charities, you will need to have a will in Pennsylvania. Anyone who owns property should have a will so that they can select which individuals and organizations will receive said property after your death. Wills also allow you the ability to:
- Provide for your family and friends
- Organize for efficient management of your property
- Speak when you are no longer able to speak
- Pass your assets along as you intended
Real estate, bank accounts, and personal property will all need to be distributed to another party after your death. The best way to ensure that your family is cared for and your preferences in regard to your medical care and asset distribution is to partner with an experienced will and trusts lawyer that can draft up the necessary documents that outline your wishes.
Hire an Experienced Wills and Trusts Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Preservation of your money and other assets for your loved ones and future generations takes hard work and impeccable attention to detail. A single mistake could lead to severe financial implications for generations. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we have over 65 years of experience ensuring that every detail of our clients’ estate plans is in order.
No matter what your individual needs and goals may be, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help create customized wills and trusts just for you. Our attorneys fully understand Pennsylvania’s estate laws and federal regulations governing wills, trusts, and estates. Call us today at (215) 822-7575 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an estate planning lawyer today.