Estate Planning

Estate Planning
A person is holding papers and using a pen

How We Can Help

Our experienced estate planning attorneys are here to assist individuals and families in Pennsylvania with all aspects of estate planning. We'll work closely with you to understand your goals and develop personalized solutions to meet your needs.

Contact Us Today

If you have questions about estate planning in Pennsylvania or need assistance with creating or updating your estate plan, don't hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Carla Trongone at (215) 647-6800. Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable legal team to discuss your concerns and begin the process of protecting your assets and providing for your loved ones through effective estate planning.

What is Estate Planning?

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of one's assets and affairs during their lifetime and after death. It involves creating legal documents and strategies to ensure that a person's wishes are carried out regarding the disposition of their property, the care of their dependents, and other important matters.

Key Components of Estate Planning:

  • Will: A Will is a legal document that specifies how a person's assets should be distributed upon their death. It allows individuals to designate beneficiaries, appoint an executor to oversee the distribution of assets, and make other important decisions regarding their estate.
  • Advance Directives: Advance directives, such as a durable power of attorney and a healthcare directive (living will), allow individuals to appoint trusted individuals to make financial and medical decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacity.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Beneficiary designations on accounts such as retirement plans, life insurance policies, and payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts specify who will receive these assets upon the owner's death, bypassing probate.
  • Guardianship Designations: Parents with minor children can use estate planning to designate guardians to care for their children in the event of their death or incapacity.
A woman sitting at her desk with papers and a laptop.

Will Preparation Services in Pennsylvania

Will Preparation Services in Pennsylvania

Crafting a Will is a crucial step in ensuring that your wishes are carried out regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of your loved ones after your passing. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to guide you through the process with care, attention to detail, and expertise in Pennsylvania estate planning laws.

Why You Need a Will In Pennsylvania: A Will is a legal document that allows you to dictate how your assets will be distributed and other important matters upon your death. In Pennsylvania, having a Will offers several key benefits:

  • Asset Distribution: A Will enables you to specify who will inherit your property, money, investments, and other assets. Without a Will, Pennsylvania's intestacy laws will determine how your assets are distributed, which may not align with your wishes.
  • Guardianship Designation: If you have minor children, a Will allows you to designate a guardian to care for them in the event of your death. This ensures that your children will be raised by someone you trust and who shares your values.
  • Executor Appointment: You can appoint an executor in your Will to manage your estate and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Your executor will be responsible for overseeing the probate process, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  • Charitable Giving: If you wish to leave a portion of your estate to charity, a Will allows you to specify these charitable donations

Comprehensive Will Preparation: Our law firm offers comprehensive Will preparation services tailored to your specific needs and preferences. When you choose us for your Will preparation needs, you can expect:

  • Personalized Consultation: We'll take the time to understand your unique circumstances, goals, and concerns to create a Will that accurately reflects your wishes.
  • Expert Legal Guidance: Our team of experienced estate planning attorneys has a deep understanding of Pennsylvania estate planning laws. We'll ensure that your will complies with all legal requirements and is valid under Pennsylvania law.
  • Executor Appointment: You can appoint an executor in your Will to manage your estate and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Your executor will be responsible for overseeing the probate process, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  • Peace of Mind: With our guidance and expertise, you can have confidence that your will accurately reflects your wishes and provides for your loved ones' future financial security.
A pen is on top of the last will and testament.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

What Happens if I Die  Without a Will?

Dying without a Will is also called dying Intestate. Your probate property will be divided in accordance with a specific statutory scheme. In Pennsylvania, the law for the intestate share going to a decedent's surviving spouse is as follows:

  • If there are no surviving children or parents of the decedent, the entire intestate estate goes to the spouse.
  • If there are no surviving children of the decedent, but he is survived by a parent or parents, the first $30,000 plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate goes to the spouse, the rest to the parents.
  • If there are surviving children of the decedent, all of whom are an issue of the surviving spouse also, the first $30,000 plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate goes to the spouse, the rest to the surviving children (who, by the way, will generally require a court-ordered guardian to oversee the money or a restricted account if they inherit more than $25,000).
  • If there are surviving children of the decedent, one or more of whom are not children of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate will go to the spouse and one-half to the surviving children.

There are additional rules if there is no surviving spouse. Be aware that stepchildren are not considered children for an intestate distribution of your estate. Generally, by law, they are left out of any distribution of intestate property.

Other Estate Documents

Other Estate Documents

A financial power of attorney is a legal document that grants another person (known as the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to make financial decisions and manage the financial affairs of the person creating the power of attorney (known as the principal). The agent is typically given the power to handle tasks such as paying bills, managing investments, buying or selling assets, and filing taxes on behalf of the principal. This document is often used in situations where the principal is unable to handle their own financial matters due to illness, incapacity, or absence.

Healthcare power of attorney, refers to a legal document that grants someone the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of another individual if they are unable to do so themselves due to incapacity or illness. This designated person, known as the healthcare agent or proxy, typically follows the wishes and instructions outlined in the individual's living will or advanced healthcare directive. The healthcare power ensures that medical decisions are made in accordance with the individual's preferences and best interests, even if they are unable to communicate or make decisions on their own.

A living will, also known as an advanced healthcare directive or medical directive, is a legal document that outlines an individual's preferences for medical treatment in case they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves due to illness or injury. It typically includes instructions about the use of life-sustaining treatments such as resuscitation, artificial nutrition or hydration, and the administration of certain medications. A living will helps to ensure that an individual's healthcare wishes are respected and followed by healthcare providers and family members.

A letter of instruction is a document that provides guidance and information to the recipient from the Decedent. It is typically a legally non-binding document that outlines the personal and final wishes, preferences, or instructions from the writer.

A letter of instruction can cover a wide range of topics, such as:

Funeral or Memorial Arrangements: These instructions may include details about the type of service preferred, burial or cremation instructions, or specific requests for the ceremony. Additionally, any veteran honors may also be listed here.

Financial Matters: Information listed here may involve the location, contact information, and numbers of bank accounts, investments, debts, insurance policies, and other financial assets.

Personal Belongings: Directions on how to distribute personal possessions, heirlooms, or sentimental items among family members or friends can be included in this letter as well.

Medical Preferences: Instructions regarding medical treatments, end-of-life care, or organ donation are often listed here.

Digital Assets: Information about online accounts, passwords, and instructions on how to handle digital assets, such as social media accounts or online subscriptions are listed here.

A letter of instruction is not a legally binding document like a will or a trust. However, it can serve as a helpful reference for the recipient, such as a family member or executor, to ensure the writer's wishes are carried out appropriately.