Once you have completed your estate plan, we can ensure that the instructions of your will or trust are followed on your behalf. Alternatively, if you don’t have a Will or Trust, Pennsylvania law will govern how assets are distributed and who will be responsible.
Probate and Non-Probate Estates in Pennsylvania
Probate is a public court-managed process that manages the distribution of your assets after you or a loved one passes away. Probate is a court-supervised process that includes verifying the authenticity of a will, gathering assets, paying bills, filing taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Any assets owned in your individual name or made payable to your estate will go through probate. Most families want to avoid probate because it is a public court process and they wish to keep their family and financial affairs private.
Avoiding probate court and overbearing taxation is possible when an estate is properly administrated. Including a living trust as part of your estate plan can likely lead to no court-managed process. A will, while an important piece of an estate plan, does not cover every caveat. Without planning for every outcome with an experienced Pennsylvania attorney you could face high legal costs.
Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Returns
In Pennsylvania, there is no estate tax but there is an inheritance tax applied to any estate, whether inherited under a will or passing outside of probate. The tax is placed on all property owned by Pennsylvania residents, as well as on real estate and personal property located in the state of Pennsylvania that is owned by a nonresident. The individual named in the will is responsible for filing the tax return nine months after death. During a time of mourning, having an experienced estate administrator on your side to assist with the tax filings of your estate can ease the tension for your loved ones and avoid any costly errors.
Federal Estate Tax Returns
The estate planning process generally includes filing federal estate tax returns. This tax is due nine months after the date of death. Again, having an experienced estate administrator on your side to assist with the tax filings of your estate can ease the tension for your loved ones and ensure no costly errors are made.
Will Contest in Pennsylvania
A will can only be contested if you have legal standings to do so, and if contested you must be able to demonstrate that the will was not legally valid or that it should be set aside on other grounds. Each case is different and presents unique issues that can be addressed by an experienced Pennsylvania attorney, like the team at Bregman & Lantz Law. If you are considering a challenge to a will or have to defend a will being contested, the guidance of a professional is vital for best presenting your case to the court.
Legal matters can get complicated. Litigation is a process for handling disputes in the court system. This is a contested action where a third party, such as a Luzerne County judge, makes the final decision if the two disputing parties cannot agree.
Our North East Pennsylvania attorneys can assist executors in the collection and distribution of assets and help complete state and federal tax returns to ease the burden on the executor.
Bregman & Lantz Law is dedicated to supporting your Pennsylvania legal needs with Elder Law, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and Special Needs Planning through every step of the way. We welcome you to contact us to learn more about how our Luzerne County firm can help meet your Estate Administration goals.
Estate Administration can help prepare you for the milestones highlighted below.