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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 (obtaining over 95 client reviews and peer endorsements) premier and prestigious Attorney and Counselor at Law. He is featured on Martindale.com, Nolo.com, Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, Justia.com, Lawyers of Distinction, and Linkedin.
John B. Whalen, Jr., JD., LL.M concentrates his three decade career in the legal areas of Pa Beneficiary Law, Pa Estate Administration Law, Pa Estate Law, Pa Estate Litigation, Pa Estate Planning, Pa Estate Taxation, Pa Guardianships, and Pa Probate Law.
I have 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. All of these awards mean the world to me.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.