PA Trusts & Estate Blog

How Does the New Tax Law Affect You?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 (TCJA) changes are effective for 2018. The 500 page law makes lots of changes but the net effect across the board is a very small benefit to low and middle income taxpayers, and more benefits for the very wealthy. The new law keeps the seven income tax brackets but… Read More

Courts Weight Adult’s Children’s Responsibilities in Parents’ Care Costs

Can an Adult Child be Held Responsible for a Parent’s Nursing Home Costs? On May 7, 2012 the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued an opinion in the case of Healthcare Retirement Corporation of America v. Pittas. The court found a son liable for his mother’s $93,000 nursing home bill under Pennsylvania’s Filial Responsibility Law. This high-profile… Read More

Pulpit Freed on Sunday vs. IRS on Tax-exempt Status

The Alliance Defending Freedom is pushing a project it calls “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” The event has taken place every year since 2008. On October 7, which is designated “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”, pastors across the country are encouraged to “preach sermons that will talk about the candidates running for office” and then “make a specific recommendation.”… Read More

Limits and Tax Treatment of Political Contributions

Are My Political Contributions Limited? Can I Deduct Them On My Taxes? Campaigns and Parties. Contributions to political parties and campaigns, generally, must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) which publishes the information. Contribution amounts are often limited, and the contributions are not tax-deductible. For example, contributions by individuals of more than $200… Read More

There’s No Such Thing as a Simple Will

“For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution and it is always wrong.” H. L. Mencken “I  want a simple will.”  Estate planning attorneys often hear this from clients. What do they mean? Simple to them means short and inexpensive. Short is not always better. If you need open heart surgery do you… Read More

Spousal Consent or Who Owns your Retirement Plan?

In general, property law is state law. There are a few exceptions and one of them is Spousal Consent to change a beneficiary on qualified plans. Many employees are surprised to find out that they must name their spouse as primary beneficiary of their retirement benefits unless the spouse consents to their naming another beneficiary.… Read More

Snowbirds and Taxes

Where you live and where you are taxed.  Many folks like to spend the cold winter months in Florida, or some other warm state, and return to northern climates for the summer. Many of these folks think that their tax status is determined by the number of days spent in each location and claim residency… Read More

Stay Away From Expensive Joint Accounts!

Few things cause more trouble than titling assets jointly, especially bank accounts. What does it mean if your name is on someone else’s bank account? It depends. For all deposit accounts, the rights of the parties to a multiple party account are determined under the Pennsylvania Multiple-Party Account Act. Here is the applicable provision: 2010… Read More

Talking About Estate Planning – Part I of 2

In many families, there is an uncomfortable silence when the subjects of death and money come up. According to Eileen and Jon Gallo, authors of Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children (McGraw-Hill, 2001), most adult children have no idea of their parents’ net worth, let alone the details of their estate plan.… Read More