What Does a Surviving Spouse Inherit?
The question of what a surviving spouse inherits from a deceased spouse is a complicated one. At common law, a wife was not an heir, although she might be entitled to support. Many people are surprised to hear that a surviving spouse does not simply inherit everything from the deceased spouse. That can be a… 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
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
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
Talking About Estate Planning – Part 2 of 2
Give your family the gift of telling them what you have planned for them. Decide who will be your executors, agents under your power of attorney and surrogate for health care decisions under a medical directive. Let the family know who is going to hold these positions. Make sure the persons you name are willing… Read More
Discussing ‘The Estate Plan’ with Beneficiaries
Estate planning aims at the transfer of wealth from one generation to another in a way which minimizes taxes and maximizes economic gain. It usually involves parents making gifts to their children, grandchildren, or charities. The problem is that while many clients spend hours with attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors crafting an estate plan, they… Read More