Regardless of a person’s age, it is extremely important to plan for death and serious illness or incapacitation before it is too late to avoid the legal ramifications and burdens on family members. Without adequate estate planning or documented medical directives, your relatives and the personal representative of your estate will be left to bear the burden of extra taxes, higher probate expenses, difficult medical decisions for your care and administering your estate upon death without direction, which can lead to family disputes and acrimonious relations between relatives. Our attorneys understand that these are sensitive subjects, which are difficult to consider, but our attorneys have helped ease these burdens on many clients and their family members by offering counsel to plan for difficult times, including preparation of a Last Will and Testament, Medical Directive and Power of Attorney.
Estate Planning is important for both husband and wife, young and old, and couples who wish to pass their most precious possessions and maximize the amount of income to their beneficiaries with as little tax as possible. Estate Planning includes making lifetime gifts, constructing a will, and inclusion or elimination of trusts within the will or during lifetime. Estate Planning also includes providing sufficient assets to meet a client’s medical needs and delivering instructions to physicians and others with respect to the client’s healthcare in the event of his or her incapacitation. Medical Directives (Living Wills) and Powers of Attorney appoint persons to act for the client with respect to all financial and/or medical decisions when the client is incapacitated before death. The Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney are structured in accordance with the client’s needs and wishes to guide the person appointed to make those decisions to prevent a loss of assets during a client’s catastrophic illness or injury prior to the end of life. Such documents are also necessary and calculated to eliminate the unforeseen and significant expense of having the court appoint a guardian should the client be unable to voice or make decisions during portions of his or her life.Back to Top
A Last Will and Testament is one of the most important documents you can create to help your family upon your death. A Will provides guidance to your family on how your assets should be managed and distributed upon your death. Without a Will, Pennsylvania law dictates how the assets in your estate are managed and distributed, regardless of tax consequences. A Will allows you to select the individual who will administer your estate and who will receive those assets. A Will also enables you to select a guardian for any minor children upon your death or establish a trust to manage your assets for a minor. Our attorneys devote great attention to drafting wills to appropriately distribute the client’s assets upon death in accordance with the client’s wishes. As part of the construction of the will, we ensure that provisions are included to keep estate tax liability to a minimum and the personal representative of the client’s estate is able to administer the estate and conclude the client’s affairs after death with ease and minimal difficulty. Wills typically require the inclusion of trusts to govern the client’s assets upon death and our attorneys establish these trusts in a manner that is most advantageous to the client.
Almost all Wills drafted by King Legal Group attorneys for parents of minor children contain a trust for the children. These trusts permit the client to do for the beneficiaries as the client would have done for the beneficiaries if the client was still living. Many parents choose to establish these trusts to control and to avoid inappropriate spending habits caused by youth and a lack of investing sophistication. Many of the trusts also relate to funds being left for spouses and are drafted to ensure that the spouse bears the least possible tax burden. Such trusts are not limited to matters after death, but include inter-vivos trusts, also called Living Trusts, which are trusts created for use during the client’s lifetime. Living Trusts enable the client to manage his or her funds in a manner which avoids the expenses of probate and, in some circumstances, inheritance tax.
Our attorneys have personally acted as the personal representative for the estates of decedents in Pennsylvania and in other states. Such experience makes them familiar with the difficulties and decisions facing our clients who act as executors and administrators during estate administration. Although the personal representatives of estates are legally responsible for administering the estate, our attorneys advise, organize and simplify estate matters for the personal representatives from the start of estate administration to conclusion. Our attorneys also counsel personal representatives who are in the midst of disputes over issues or assets in the estate and strive to resolve these disputes amicably between the parties. We at King Legal Group are sensitive to matters that could cause future family disharmony, while offering a firm hand to see the estate concluded as envisioned by the decedent and expressed in the Will. As part of our services offered to estate representatives, all estate bookkeeping can be performed by the firm as well as tax return preparation on behalf of the decedent and representation of the estate in litigation if it arises during administration of the estate.
Our attorneys are fully prepared to resolve estate matters before the court should litigation be required to faithfully execute the wishes of the decedent. Some of the more common lawsuits that must be filed on behalf of the estate involve actions to recover assets that have been misappropriated by persons or beneficiaries, while the client was in a weakened mental state and unable to resist the directions of those closest to the client just before death. Lawsuits have also been necessary to contest or protect the Will and the wishes of the client when other people attack the contents of the Will to obtain a distribution not included in the Will. Our attorneys have also represented many beneficiaries of estates from estate representatives who misappropriate estate assets or fail to protect those assets, which should be distributed to the beneficiaries under the terms of the Will. Our attorneys are fully prepared to represent estate representatives or beneficiaries to enforce the wishes of the decedent and protect estate assets if litigation is necessary during the administration of the estate.