West Chester Pa Estate Lawyers
West Chester Pa Estate Law comprises many areas of law. However, all of these areas of law focus on taking care of one’s person and property.
Pa Estate law is all of the laws that impact how a person makes decisions and issues directives about their personal affairs. These areas are listed below.
John provides a full range of services for Pa Last Wills: drafting, review, amendment, revocation, execution and probate. He provides reliable guidance for Pa Testators and Pa Executors.
His experience in the probate court, resolving issues related to the validity of wills, enables him to provide practical advice for testators from all walks of life.
Similarly, his work in the formation of wills gives us keen insight into how executors should interpret various aspects of a will that may initially seem unclear.
Whether you are a testator formulating an estate plan or an executor implementing a decedent’s wishes, John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. can simplify many complex aspects of the tasks before you.
He offers pertinent and personal legal advice to obtain the results you need in a timely manner with the least stress possible. Once executed, your will remains your final statement of your intentions until you amend or revoke it.
He recommends reviewing your will every three to five years and updating it to reflect your current wishes.
There are many factors that can affect the distribution of estate assets. In some cases, there may be a will that identifies you as a beneficiary; in other cases, there may not be a will at all. In still other cases, there may be a dispute involving the administration of the estate. For example, a beneficiary may disagree with how the executor or personal representative is distributing assets.
I have represented thousands of beneficiaries during my thirty (30) year career practicing Pa Estate Law. i can provide the necessary advice to protect your rights in nearly any estate planning matter.
When a loved one passes away, it can be an emotional time. In addition to grieving their passing, those that survive them must tie up all the legal and financial loose ends related to their life and estate.
This includes addressing their will and following its instructions.
The first step of the Pa Estate Administration requires the named executor to apply for Pa Probate. Pa Probate grants the Pa Executor the legal right to be able to administer the Pa Estate.
The Executor must then have the estate valued in order to determine if any tax is owed upon its proceeds. If any taxes are due, the amount owed must then be paid by the executor of the estate before any other monies are distributed to the departed person’s beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may eventually have to file Pa Inheritance tax returns as well.
An attorney who specializes in Pa Estate Planning can help you create a complete plan (including Pa Last Wills, Pa Powers of Attorney, and Pa Living Wills, etc.) to protect your spouse and children if you become unable to manage your financial affairs.
Pa Estate Planning allows you to make decisions now so your wishes can be carried out if you die or become incapacitated.
When you execute a legal document called a Pa Power of Attorney, you are authorizing another individual (your Pa Agent) to make certain decisions on your behalf. The person who signs the document is called the principal and the person who is authorized to make decisions is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.
A limited power of attorney restricts the permissible activities of the agent to a specific period of time. For instance, if you are in the military and are being deployed overseas for six months, you can set up a limited power of attorney with an individual you trust. That person may be granted access to your bank account so they can pay your mortgage or other monthly expenses while you are away from home.
A durable power of attorney, unlike other forms of this type of legal document, does not expire if the principal becomes incapacitated. The agent may continue to make financial and medical decisions as indicated in the original document.
A Pa Living Will (Advance Directive for Health Care in Pa) is a legal document that communicates your desire in the treatment of serious medical problems in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.
They do not go into effect unless you are incapacitated and unable to express yourself.
Having a living will can relieve your close relatives from the burden of having to make the decision about whether to remove you from life support.
Trusts are legal documents that allow you to control how your assets will be allocated or managed. You are considered the grantor and the person that manages and distributes assets in the trust is known as the trustee. Individuals who receive money or other assets are the beneficiaries.
Property placed in a trust, unlike wills, is not subject to probate. You can also create a revocable trust which can be canceled or revoked at any time while you are alive. Trusts can be set up for a child’s education or to reduce estate taxes.
A Pa Last Will is an important document to execute in order to avoid disputes about how your assets will be divided when you die.
The Pa Executor who administers the distribution of assets from your estate will allocate your possessions as you specified. You should periodically review your Will to make sure it is still relevant and accurate. Life changing events, such as the birth of a child or a marriage, may require amendments to the original document.
If you die without a will, you are said to die intestate. In such a case, the state will handle your estate and your assets may not get to the people, institutions or charitable causes that you wanted.
Most estates, especially when there is a proper will in place, are easily settled. Yet there are times when other factors complicate the issue, creating a situation that requires more careful consideration. For example, a family business, an estate that is in bankruptcy or an estate that holds significant amounts of real estate may become complicated quite quickly. This is where estate litigation comes into play.
When an individual acts in a fiduciary capacity such as a Pa Executor of a Pa Last Will or a Pa Trustee of the financial assets of another person or entity, they have the responsibility of keeping accurate financial records.
Those records should show how money was spent, invested or distributed while under the fiduciary’s care and control. Proper accounting can bring to light the mismanagement or bad investment of funds should an issue arise with an interested party.
Model Court Accountings
Certain procedures must be followed when reports are prepared to explain how the assets in an estate or trust were managed. Approved fiduciary accountings require the separation of principal and interest. You can not commingle funds that are considered principal with those that are considered income.
- Principal = original investment + capital gains – capital losses – expenses – distributions
- Income = money generated from the investment or use of principal
The main reason for keeping principal and income in separate accounts is that the beneficiaries of income in a trust or estate may be different than the beneficiaries of the principal in the same estate or trust.
Fiduciary Tax Returns – Form 1041
A trust or an estate is considered a separate legal entity from an individual who may be a beneficiary of that trust or estate. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the fiduciary administering the estate or trust to file a federal tax return under certain conditions.
The IRS requires a trust to file a tax return if it has any taxable income or has gross income of at least $600, regardless of whether it is taxable or not. Estates must file Form 1041 if they have gross income of $600 or more. A fiduciary must also file a return if any of the beneficiaries of the estate or trust is a non-resident alien.
Form 1041 is similar to the 1040 return used by individuals. The form is designed so estates and trusts can report income, deductions, gains, losses and any other pertinent financial information. Before funds or assets can be distributed, any tax liabilities of the estate or trust must be satisfied.
Closing Out a Fiduciary Relationship
Once all of the assets of an estate or trust have been distributed or otherwise settled, it is customary that the fiduciary is released from further responsibility. That may be done by signing a release form through the court or an agreement with the beneficiaries of the estate or trust.
Dealing with estate taxation can be complex. Estate taxation attorney John B. Whalen, Jr., provides guidance to his clients when dealing with these complicated issues.
In United States law and terminology, “probate” refers to proving that a will is valid. In many U.S. states, a person would petition the court for probate, and then add the will that is to be considered to their petition. Once probate is approved by the court, the petitioner officially becomes the executor and then has full legal rights to be able to deal with the deceased individual’s estate.
Pa Inheritance Tax
An “inheritance” refers to what a benefactor receives from the estate of a relative who has passed on and included them in their will. Inheritance tax is the tax that is paid to the government on the money that has been inherited. In the United States, not everyone must pay inheritance tax; an estate must be worth a certain amount before a tax payment is required. In addition to federal inheritance taxes, state taxes are required in some states. Inheritance tax returns must be filed as well.
Pa Estate Administration
Dealing with legal, accounting and tax-related matters is often the last thing you want to do during this emotional time, but you don’t have to go it alone. Whether you need advice about probate, estate administration or inheritance tax returns, estate administration attorney John B. Whalen, Jr., can help. He is committed to making the entire process as efficient and stress-free as possible.
When an estate or a will is contested and the case has to go to court, the right Pennsylvania estate litigation attorney is required to ensure an individual’s best interests are protected. John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. is a Pennsylvania estate litigation attorney who is ready to fight for the interests of his clients in complex estate cases.
The Pa Guardianship process can be filled with emotions. Realizing that a loved one is no longer capable of caring for his or her self can be difficult to accept. That’s why you need an attorney who offers legal services with compassion. For the past thirty (30) years, I have built a reputation for providing compassionate legal care for his clients, putting their needs and interests first while navigating emotionally trying circumstances.
Guardianship is a legal situation granted by the court to appoint an individual to assist and protect the legal rights of someone who is physically or mentally unable to care for his or her own needs. Once appointed, the guardian is legally bound to act in the individual’s best interests. Guardians can be given specific authorities, such as the authority to handle the financial and legal affairs of the individual, or they may be granted larger authority, depending on the needs of the individual.
Setting up a legal guardianship can sometimes get complex, especially if other family members are not in agreement as to who the guardian should be. That is why the assistance of a Pennsylvania guardianship attorney is so valuable.
In a guardianship case, the interests of many parties need to be considered. First and foremost are the interests of the individual who needs guardianship.
The guardian needs to be someone who will protect the interests and safety of the individual who needs help. When working on guardianship cases, Attorney Whalen ensures that everyone’s best interests, including the individual who needs help the most, are protected and considered.
Yet that’s just one aspect of a guardianship case. Sometimes the children or loved ones of the individual are not in agreement about who should be the guardian. In other cases, the individual who needs support may not be willing to accept it, and the case may need to go to court to prove that guardianship is required. Handling these cases requires skill and understanding, and that is exactly what Attorney Whalen offers.
Compassionate Legal Care
The guardianship process can be filled with emotions. Realizing that a loved one is no longer capable of caring for his or her self can be difficult to accept. That’s why you need an attorney who offers legal services with compassion. For the past two decades, Attorney John Whalen has built a reputation for providing compassionate legal care for his clients, putting their needs and interests first while navigating emotionally trying circumstances.
If you or someone you love needs the help of a legal guardian, Attorney John Whalen is ready to help. Schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns and questions, and get started on the guardianship process.
The Pa Probate process, itself, is a very simple process. However, it is merely the beginning of the Pa Estate Administration (also known as the Pa Estate Settlement) process, which involves settling a decedent’s affairs, and can (and does) involve many, many other steps, depending on many, many other things.
Pa Probate – Definition
In United States law and terminology, “probate” refers to proving that a will is valid.
In many U.S. states, a person would petition the court for probate, and then add the will that is to be considered to their petition.
Once probate is approved by the court, the petitioner officially becomes the Executor and then has full legal rights to be able to deal with the deceased individual’s estate.
Pa Probate – Misunderstandings
Although some states do have onerous Probate procedures (where “avoiding probate” may be a prudent strategy), Pennsylvania is not one of those states, In fact, Pennsylvania is very “Probate-Friendly.”
The most common misconception that surrounds a Pa Last Will is the process called “Probate” and the seemingly universal theme that it should be avoided at all costs. Again, and virtually to the contrary, the word “Probate” is merely based on the Latin verb that means “to prove.” Nothing more!
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John B. Whalen, Jr., JD., LL.M., is an AV Peer Review Rated Preeminent 5.0 and Avvo Rated 10.0 Superb premier and prestigious Attorney and Counselor at Law.
He is featured on Avvo, Justia, Lawyers, LinkedIn, Martindale, Nolo, and Thumbtack. He has amassed over 70 prestigious professional awards and over 5000 client reviews and endorsements.
His main office is located at 696 Pont Reading Road, Wayne, PA, 19087, and he serves all surrounding counties, on all 7 days, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and on evenings, weekends, and holidays.
He can be reached by email at [email protected], and by telephone at 1-484-417-6244.
Mr. Whalen has achieved the AV Peer Review Rated Preeminent award from Martindale, AV Peer Judicial Preeminent award, the Avvo Rated Superb 10.00 award, the Avvo Rated Top Lawyer award, the Clients’ Choice Award, and the Top One Percent (1%) award.
He is the recipient of the Legum Magister Post-Doctorate Degree (LL.M.) in Taxation (from the Villanova University School of Law), a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Wills, Trusts, and Estates (from the Widener University School of Law), and a recipient of the ABA-BNA Law Award for Academic Excellence (from the Widener University School of Law).