Estate Planning and Administration Attorneys in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Having a well-detailed estate plan is essential to leave specific instructions concerning how your assets, property, money, and final affairs should be managed upon your death or sudden incapacitation. Through proper estate planning, you can make suitable provisions for your surviving family members, work for a smooth transition of your business, and mitigate possible issues and disputes during estate administration.
At Rapa Law Office, P.C., we have the diligence and experience to advise and guide individuals, families, executors, and fiduciaries in estate planning and administration-related matters. Our trusted Pennsylvania estate planning and administration attorneys can educate you about the benefits of creating a comprehensive estate plan and help you draft your vital documents. In addition, we can guide executors and trustees through the complex procedures involved in probate, estate administration, and trust administration.
Rapa Law Office, P.C. proudly serves clients in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas of Palmerton, Lehighton, Walnutport, Bethlehem, and Jim Thorpe. No matter your situation, get in touch with our attorneys now.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the legal process of setting forth adequate plans, naming individuals or entities to receive your estate, and making specific instructions regarding how your affairs should be handled when you're no more or upon sudden incapacitation. Through various estate planning documents, you can establish detailed instructions to guide fiduciaries on how to manage your property, financial, health, legal, and tax affairs if you're unable or unavailable to act.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
Furthermore, estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of your age, health status, or how big your estate is. Being prepared for anything through estate planning allows you to achieve the following:
Prepare for the uncertainties of life.
Protect your property, assets, personal interest, investments, and business.
Gives you optimum control over who inherits your property, assets, and money.
Convey your final wishes should you become incapacitated suddenly.
Leave suitable provisions for your spouse, minor children, and other surviving loved ones.
Name a trustworthy person as your personal representative.
Bypass the time-consuming and expensive probate process (living trust).
Protects your assets and investments from creditor issues and frivolous lawsuits.
Helps your heirs and beneficiaries avoid or reduce gift, inheritance, and estate taxes.
Mitigate or prevent possible disputes and conflicts between surviving loved ones over property distribution.
Makes it so you don't die intestate (without a will).
Using various estate planning documents, you can provide instructions about property distribution, your favored medical treatments, financial and legal affairs, and final arrangements.
Documents That May Be Included in an Estate Plan
There are some important documents to include in your estate plan based on your unique situation, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and more.
A will is a legal document that you can use to provide specific instructions concerning how your property, assets, money, and personal belongings should be disposed of or distributed to inheritors after your demise.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement—a contract where a person transfers the ownership of one asset to another person—that lets you designate someone else (a trustee) to hold the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. When you die or become incapacitated, the trustee will distribute trust assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of the trust document.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you (the principal) appoint another person (an attorney-in-fact or agent) who will help manage your legal, property, health, financial, or tax affairs in the case that you become unavailable, incapable, or otherwise unable to act or make decisions yourself.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An advance healthcare directive is a legal document that lets you leave detailed instructions about the medical procedures and treatments you desire if you're unable to decide on your own due to a critical illness, mental incapacity, or disability.
Special Needs Planning
Special needs planning is a fiduciary arrangement that lets you name a trustworthy person who will handle any asset, property, or money you leave behind for your minor children or incapacitated adult.
Disposition of Remains
The Disposition of Remains is a written document that lets you indicate your wishes and preferences for final arrangements, funeral and burial ceremonies, and what should happen to your body when you're gone.
Probate and Estate Administration
Probate is a court-supervised process that occurs after a person dies. It is usually done to determine the validity of the decedent's will and appoint the named personal representative (executor) or someone else to administer the estate.
Once appointed, the executor will gather and evaluate the deceased person's assets, pay debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to rightful inheritors according to the provisions of the will or Pennsylvania intestate succession laws (if there is no will).
The Role of Executors or Personal Representatives
Executors or personal representatives play a vital role during estate administration. They will oversee the probate and estate administration process and help settle the decedent's financial affairs. Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of the executor:
Gather and evaluate the deceased person's assets and property.
Create a detailed inventory of all probate assets.
Notify heirs and potential beneficiaries named in the will.
Inform creditors about the probate proceedings.
Collect all the decedent's income, including rent, debts owed, claims, interests, and dividends.
Pay the valid claims to verified creditors.
Pay all final debts and estate taxes.
Prepare and file the deceased person's final income tax returns.
Distribute the remaining estate assets and property to rightful beneficiaries and heirs.
A seasoned estate planning attorney can walk you through the legal procedures involved in probate and estate administration and help you navigate crucial decisions. Reach out to us today for support.
Trust administration comprises different tasks and responsibilities related to managing the trust and distributing trust property to rightful beneficiaries—in accordance with the instructions and provisions of the trust document. Upon the sudden incapacitation or death of the trustor, the named trustee or successor trustee will handle the trust administration accordingly.
Estate Planning and Administration Attorneys in Allentown, Pennsylvania
If you need assistance with estate planning and estate administration, contact us at Rapa Law Office, P.C. today to schedule an initial consultation. Our dedicated attorneys can offer you the personalized legal counsel and knowledgeable advocacy you need to make intelligent decisions in your estate planning and administration matters. We proudly serve clients across Allentown, Palmerton, Lehighton, Walnutport, Bethlehem, and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.