Category: West Chester Pa Estates Settlement

West Chester Pa Payments Family Funerals

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West Chester Pa Payments Family Funerals

There are alternatives for settling small estates instead of the traditional Probate process. Payments to Family and Funeral Directors is one of them. The profession of law, in general, and the focus of Estate Law, in particular, is a constant balancing act between science and art. Our true hallmark as professionals is when our knowledge of the intricacies of the science is solid enough to lend itself easily to the art of the various situations with which we are presented. Most of the time, our estates do – and rightfully should – follow the traditional, time-tested route of the Probate and Estate Administration process.  Although this line of thinking is in no way wrong, it may be short sighted in certain circumstances where the formal procedures may be neither desired nor required. The essence of our dilemma lies in being able to readily identify and handle those situations where a streamlined approach would be better suited.  Being creatures of habit, however, this is easier said than done.

West Chester Pa Payments Family Funerals – The Statute

The Pennsylvania statute, 20 Pa.C.S.A.  § 3101, Payments to Family and Funeral Directors (Section 3101), contains a few alternatives for use in the settlement of small estates.  Simply stated, it allows for the payment of a decedent’s assets in certain situations with no court documents or no court supervision.  However, despite Section 3101’s simplicity, a stand-off can, and often does, exist between the statute’s theoretical ease and the world’s practical complexity.

On the one hand, the holder of a decedent’s assets does require that certain items (i.e., Short Certificate, Letters Testamentary, Small Estate Decree, etc.) be provided for release of the assets.  As they have the duties to both safeguard the decedent’s assets and release them only to the proper payee, they are certainly allowed to ensure that the one (payment of the assets) will work to cancel out the other (possible future liability).  In light of these responsibilities, any organization which has custody of a decedent’s assets (i.e., banks, brokerage firms, transfer agents, etc.) is often hesitant to release the decedent’s assets without any court documents or to anyone other than the estate’s personal representative.

On the other hand, Section 3101 does not require that any paperwork be provided to the holder of a decedent’s assets.  Reluctance may appear from those unfamiliar with this statute insofar as they don’t understand what to do when they are not provided with their traditionally required items.  As a practical matter, providing the holder of the asset with a copy of Section 3101 could be helpful, because it shows them that they can properly pay the asset and be released from liability.

Section 3101 contains five subsections.  Each subsection handles a particular situation where a decedent’s assets may be paid in the absence of any court documents.  Each subsection contains differences.

They each address different types of assets that can be paid, different organizations by whom they can be paid, different people to whom they can be paid, and different requirements for them to be paid.  More importantly, each subsection contains similarities.

The similarities lay in the fact that they each share five parallel traits which virtually overshadow their differences.  Accordingly, as Section 3101 addresses five scenarios, all of which contain strikingly similar attributes, it may be appropriate to view these parallel characteristics as the five traits.  Further, as the five scenarios, in essence, are exclusions to the dictates of its sister statute, Section 3102, and can be exclusions from the probate process itself independent of Section 3102, it may be convenient to refer to these five scenarios as the five exclusions.  With an understanding of the five traits and the five exclusions, the implementation of any of Section 3101’s situations can occur with relative ease.

West Chester Pa Payments Family Funerals – The Five Traits

Section 3101’s five scenarios share similarities which virtually overshadow their differences, and they are referred to herein as the five traits.  These traits are the asset of the payment, the amount of the payment, the recipient of the payment, the protection of the payor of the payment, and the liability of the recipient of the payment.

Asset

The first trait (of the five traits of Section 3101) describes the asset that can be paid.  These assets include wages, salary, and employee benefits; deposit accounts; patient care accounts; insurance and annuities; and unclaimed property.

Amount

The second trait (of the five traits of Section 3101) describes the amount up to which an asset can be paid. The amounts are $10,000.00 and $11,000.00.

Prior to the statute’s update, these various dollar amounts comprised the sums of $5,000.00 (of wages, salary, and employee benefits); $3,500.00 (of deposit accounts); $3,500.00 and an additional $500.00, for a $4,000.00 total (of patient care accounts); $11,000.00 (of insurance or annuity proceeds); and $11,000.00 (of unclaimed property).

Recipient

The third trait (of the five traits of Section 3101) describes the recipient to whom the asset can be paid.  These recipients include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and siblings, in that order of preference (referred to herein as the family hierarchy), and, in one case, a funeral director.  With the lone exception of a funeral director under Section 3010(c), it should be noted that only family members may take advantage of the five exclusions.  The wording of the statute implies that the exclusions are unavailable to agents, guardians, or other fiduciaries.

The fourth trait (of the five traits of Section 3101) describes the protection accorded to the payor of the asset.  This protection releases the payor to the same extent as if the payment was made to a duly appointed personal representative, and covers employers, banks, care facilities, insurance companies, and the State Treasurer.

The fifth trait (of the five traits of Section 3101) describes the liability attached to the payee of the asset.  This liability follows any person to whom payment is made (i.e., the family hierarchy and the funeral director), and holds the recipient answerable to anyone prejudiced by an improper distribution.

West Chester Pa Payments Family Funerals – The Five Exclusions

Section 3101’s five scenarios are, in essence, exceptions to the dictates of its sister statute, Section 3102, as well as the probate process itself, and they are referred to herein as the five exclusions.  These exclusions speak to employers, banking houses, patient facilities, insurance companies, and the State Treasurer.

(a) Wages, salary or employee benefits

The first exclusion (of the five exclusions of Section 3101) speaks to employers.  An employer is permitted to pay the decedent’s wages, salary, or other benefits in an amount up to $10,000.00 to the family hierarchy.

Upon payment, the employer is released and the recipient is liable.  There are no further requirements for payment under the first exclusion, Section 3101(a).

(b) Deposit account

The second exclusion (of the five exclusions of Section 3101) speaks to banking houses.  A banking house (i.e., bank, savings association, savings and loan association, credit union or other savings association) is permitted to pay the decedent’s deposit account in an amount up to $10,000.00 to the family hierarchy.

Upon payment, the banking house is released and the recipient is liable.

There is a further requirement for payment under the second exclusion, Section 3101(b).  The recipient of the item must provide written evidence that the funeral services have been paid (either by a receipt or an affidavit from the funeral home).  Seemingly, not included in the definition of banking house is whether a brokerage firm would fall within the statute’s grip of other savings association.  Presumably, a brokerage account with only a money market account would be included, but a brokerage account containing any other type of investment (i.e., stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) would not be included.

(c) Patient’s care account

The third exclusion (of the five exclusions of Section 3101) speaks to patient facilities, and is a two-step process.  A patient facility is permitted to pay the decedent’s patient care account in an amount up to $10,000.00 to a funeral home for the decedent’s burial expenses.  It is then permitted to pay the balance of the account to the family hierarchy.  The total payment by the patient facility can be in an amount up to $10,000.00.  Upon payment, the patient facility is released and the recipient is liable.

There is a further requirement for payment under the third exclusion, Section 3101(c).  The decedent must have been a qualified recipient of medical assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare.  Although the wording of the statute implies that this exclusion is unavailable to private-pay patient care accounts, perchance it may not be so restricted in practice.

(d) Life insurance payable to estate

The fourth exclusion (of the five exclusions of Section 3101) speaks to insurance companies.  An insurance company is permitted to pay life, endowment, accident, or health insurance proceeds or annuity proceeds, otherwise payable to the decedent’s estate, in an amount up to $11,000.00 to the family hierarchy.  Upon payment, the insurance company is released and the recipient is liable.

There are two further requirements for payment under the fourth exclusion, Section 3101(d).

The first requirement is that the insurance company must wait sixty (60) days before making payment of the proceeds.

The first requirement and, at the time that the insurance company makes payment of the proceeds, the insurance company must not have received written claim for those proceeds by the decedent’s personal representative.  Presumably, if the insurance company has received written claim for the proceeds by the personal representative, they are duty bound to release those proceeds to the personal representative, and the matter should be investigated further.

(e) Unclaimed property

The fifth exclusion (of the five exclusions of Section 3101), and the newest addition to Section 3101, speaks to the State Treasurer.

The State Treasurer is permitted to pay the decedent’s unclaimed or abandoned property in an amount of up to $11,000.00 to the family hierarchy.

Upon payment, the State Treasurer is released and the recipient is liable.  There are further requirements for payment under the fifth exclusion, Section 3101(e).

The recipient must provide a death certificate, a sworn affidavit containing various averments about the status of a personal representative, and any other information determined by the State Treasurer to be necessary in order to distribute property or pay funds under this section to the proper person.

West Chester Pa Payments Family Funerals – The Conclusion

A review of Section 3101 shows the five traits permeate its allowable payments.  These traits are asset, amount, recipient, protection, and liability.  Keeping these traits in mind, Section 3101 becomes easier to conceptualize.

A review of Section 3101 shows that the five exclusions speak to the various entities that may allow you to circumvent a small estate petition, as well as the probate process.  These exclusions speak to employers, banking houses, patient facilities, insurance companies, and the State Treasurer.

Keeping these exclusions in mind, Section 3101 becomes easier to utilize.  Being creatures of habit, perhaps, this may now be easier done than said.

West Chester Pa Probate Guide

The West Chester Pa Attorneys Guide is the core of this website. It consists of the best, most important articles, posts, and pages on this website. Their focus is to provide the best and most complete information on a particular topic, rather than to sell my services.

John B. Whalen, Jr., JD., LL.M., is an AV Peer Review Rated Preeminent 5.0 and Avvo Rated 10.0 Superb (obtaining over 95 client reviews and peer endorsements) premier and prestigious Attorney and Counselor at Law. He is located at 696 Pont Reading Road Ardmore Pa 19003. He serves all surrounding counties, on all 7 days, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and on evenings, weekends, and holidays. He provides free initial consults all seven days, provides home visits, and provides flat fee structures. He can be reached by email at jw60297@me.com, and by telephone at 1-484-417-6244. He has amassed over 60 prestigious and premier professional awards and over 5000 client reviews and endorsements. 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).

West Chester Pa Estate Administration Lawyers

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West Chester Pa Estate Administration Lawyers

Pa Estate Settlement (known as Pa Estate Administration) is the process of settling a decedent’s affairs.

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 Pa Last Will and following its instructions.

The first step of the Pa Estate Administration requires the named Pa Executor to apply for Pa Probate.  Pa Probate grants the Pa Executor the legal right to be able to administer the Pa Estate.

The Pa Executor must then have the Pa Estate valued in order to determine if any Pa Estate Tax and/or Pa Inheritance Tax is owed upon its proceeds.

If any taxes are due, the amount owed must then be paid by the Pa Executor of the Pa Estate before any other monies are distributed to the departed person’s beneficiaries. The Pa Beneficiaries may eventually have to file Pa Inheritance tax returns as well.

Most executors have never probated a will; many are surprised to learn the decedent’s will named them as the responsible party. I provide indispensable service for executors who have no prior experience in the probate court on matters that include:

  • Filing the will with the Pennsylvania probate court
  • Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously settling the estate
  • Finding and assembling assets
  • Pay creditors and claimants
  • Collecting amounts owed the estate
  • Closing and opening bank accounts
  • Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
  • Paying current and delinquent taxes as well as estate taxes
  • Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
  • Locating beneficiaries
  • Hiring experts, when appropriate

Executors can easily make mistakes due to inexperience, stress and hasty decisions. This can be costly, as executors can be held personally liable for beneficiaries’ losses. I guide executors through every step of the probate process, with reliable, detailed advice, so you can settle the testator’s estate as efficiently, quickly and easily as possible.

Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes between disappointed beneficiaries and the will’s executor. When representing executors, I strive for the utmost professionalism in negotiations and in the courtroom. Whether the issue is a will challenge or an accusation of mismanagement of estate assets, I advocate vigorously for the testator’s estate and the executor.

Probate

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.

Estate Administration

Pa Estate Administration is the process of settling a decedent’s affairs. 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 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.

About West Chester Pa Probate Lawyers

My Firm Handles Legal Matters in the areas of Pa Wills and Pa Probate, Pa Probate and Pa Trust Litigation, and Pr Probate Litigation.

Committed To Reliable Service

John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. advocates for clients in Pa Last Wills and Pa Probate, Probate and Trust Litigation and Probate Litigation cases. Based in Wayne, I am familiar with the courts throughout all of Southeastern Pennsylvania. I have the necessary skill to help you resolve your legal problem. With almost thirty (30) years of experience, I am focused on your success. Please read my profile to learn more about my professional background.

Practice Areas

He concentrates his three decade career in the legal areas of Pa Probate, Pa Estate Planning (including Pa Last Wills, Pa Powers of Attorney, Pa Living Wills), Pa Estate Administration, Pa Estate Taxation, Pa Estate Litigation, Pa Beneficiary Representation, and Pa Guardianships. 

Mr. Whalen has over 3,967 LinkedIn Profile Followers. 99 LinkedIn Peer Endorsements. 27 Avvo Peer Endorsements. 24 Martindale Peer Reviews. 12 Lawyers Client Reviews. 68 Avvo Client Reviews – over 5,000 Reviews

Mr. Whalen has achieved the AV Peer Review Rated Preeminentaward 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).

He has also been named as an Awesome Attorney in the field of Estate Planning Law (by the Suburban Life Magazine of the Philadelphia suburbs) for the years 2010 through 2018, and was Editor-in-Chief of the Delaware Law Forum at Widener School of Law.

Curriculum Vitae

Mr. Whalen is a frequent speaker and writer on the areas of Probate, Wills, Trusts, Estates, and has spoken for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, spoken at the Widener University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and spoken at the Delaware County Estate Planning Council.

He has also had his legal articles published by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Pennsylvania Law Weekly, the Philadelphia Business Journal, and the Martindale.Com website. He has had his law blogs published on the Lawyers.Com website.

Mr. Whalen is a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

He is past president of the Delaware County Estate Planning Council, a past Internship Instructor of Conestoga High School, and Villanova University School of Law. He is a past member of the Chester County Estate Planning Council, a past President of the Chesterbrook Picket Post Condominium Association.

West Chester Pa Beneficiary Lawyers

There are many factors that can affect the distribution of estate assets. In some cases, there may be a Pa 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.

West Chester Pa Estate Administration Lawyers

Pa Estate Administration is the process of settling a decedent’s affairs. 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 Pa Last Will and following its instructions.

West Chester Pa Estate Law Lawyers

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. Estate law is all of the laws that impact how a person makes decisions and issues directives about their personal affairs. A Pa Estate is anything that makes up a person’s net worth. Very simply, an estate is what a person has in their own name alone.

West Chester Pa Estate Litigation Lawyers

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.

West Chester Pa Estate Planning Lawyers

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.

West Chester Pa Powers of Attorney Lawyers

When you execute a legal document called a power of attorney, you are authorizing another individual 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.

West Chester Pa Living Wills Lawyers

Living wills are also referred to as an advance directive or a health care directive. It 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.

West Chester Pa Trusts Lawyers

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.

West Chester Pa Last Wills Lawyers

A Will is an important document to execute in order to avoid disputes about how your assets will be divided when you die. The 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.

West Chester Pa Last Wills Contests Lawyers

A loved one’s legacy can ease the pain of loss by reminding heirs of a departed family member’s enduring love. But when questions arise about the validity of a will or the management of estate assets, uncertainty can arouse animosity and prevent closure.

West Chester Pa Estate Litigation Lawyers

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.

West Chester Pa Estate Taxation Lawyers

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.

West Chester Pa Guardianships Lawyers

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 aProbaten attorney who offers legal services with compassion. For the past twenty-five (25) years, Attorney Whalen has built a reputation for providing compassionate legal care for his clients, putting their needs and interests first while navigating emotionally trying circumstances.

West Chester Pa Probate Law Lawyers

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.


West Chester Pa Probate Attorneys Guide

The West Chester Pa Probate Attorneys Guide is the core of this website. It consists of the best, most important articles, posts, and pages on this website. Its focus is to provide the best and most complete information on a particular topic, rather than to sell my services.


John B. Whalen, Jr., JD., LL.M., is an AV Peer Review Rated Preeminent 5.0 and Avvo Rated 10.0 Superb (obtaining over 95 client reviews and peer endorsements) premier and prestigious Attorney and Counselor at Law.

Mr. Whalen is featured on AV Peer Review Rated Preeminent 5.0Avvo Rated 10.0 SuperbAvvoJustiaLawyersMartindaleNoloQuora, and Thumbtack.

John is located at 696 Pont Reading Road Ardmore Pa 19003. He serves all surrounding counties, on all 7 days, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and on evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Mr. Whalen provides free initial consults all seven days, provides home visits, and provides flat fee structures. He can be reached by email at jw60297@me.com, and by telephone at 1-484-417-6244.

John has amassed over 60 prestigious and premier professional awards and over 5000 client reviews and endorsements. 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).

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