PA Trusts & Estate Blog

The Importance Of Beneficiary Designations

Life insurance and retirement plans compose the largest part of the estate for many people. Insurance death benefits, IRAs, Annuities, and 401 (k)s do not pass under your will. They pass under contract law to those persons or organizations who are designated as the beneficiary. Yet many people don’t review their designations, and don’t make… Read More

Your Divorce Is Finalized: Change Your Beneficiary Now!

What happens if I divorce my spouse and I don’t change the designated beneficiary on my insurance policy? Every state has its own law governing this, but in Pennsylvania the insured’s spouse is considered to have predeceased the insured spouse unless it appears the designation was intended to survive the divorce based on the wording… Read More

Tangible Property Myths: Conclusion

3. I gave it to him so I get it back. It’s very common for family members to try to reclaim gifts that they made to the deceased. Again, there is absolutely no legal basis for this. If you bought a TV for Dad and gave it to him, when he passes it goes under… Read More

Tangible Property Myths

“But Grandma said I was to have her diamond ring!” Since before Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright and his father Isaac’s blessing, families have argued, fought, and become embittered over inheritances. Some of the most bitter disputes are over things – cars, silver, guns, china, clocks, and in one case I know of… Read More

Ten Stupid Things People Do To Mess Up Their IRA’S: Continued

4. Not beginning the required distributions on time. You are required to begin taking the minimum required distribution (“MRD”) by April 1 of the year following the year in which you attain the age of 70 ½. Making this withdrawal is your responsibility. It is not the responsibility of the broker or mutual fund or… Read More

Ten Stupid Things People Do To Mess Up Their IRA’S

1. Not getting professional advice. The complexity of the rules governing IRA distribution and beneficiary designations is incredible. Especially where substantial amounts of money are involved, don’t try to “do-it-yourself.” Who to name as beneficiary? When to take distributions? How much to take out? Should you use a trust? Is it best to name your… Read More

Trust-Busting: Un-planning Your Estate (Conclusion)

If your spouse or loved one has passed away without updating his or her plan and you find yourself now the trustee or beneficiary of a trust that is not needed, there are ways that you may terminate the trust and end the costs and hassles of trust administration. Now, not only is the exemption… Read More

Trust-Busting: Un-planning Your Estate

Teddy Roosevelt used to be called the Trust Buster because he forced the great railroad combination in the Northwest to break apart. He was the avowed foe of all sorts of trusts and monopolies. Now the term ”Trust Buster” may have a new meaning. Lots of folks find themselves with trusts set up for estate… Read More