Same-sex marriage is currently legal in most states, including Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. Indeed, the shift has happened so fast and acceptance has been so broad that the issue almost seemed to be in simmer mode until the religious freedom law in Indiana sparked it back to a high rolling boil.
Pennsylvania is one of only 16 states, along with the District of Columbia, that seeks to impose taxes on inheritances. What that means is that one of the challenges in developing solid estate plans is understanding the tax landscape not in the here and now, but in the future, after you are gone.
Marriage takes work. Any couple that has stuck it out will likely tell you that. So many things can put stress on the partners. Moving away from the couple's hometown to another state has been known to throw a wrench into the works. Imagine what the tensions might be if you happen to become expatriates, moving yourselves and your family to a foreign country for work.
A will is an essential estate planning tool that protects your wishes and your assets. It can also provide critical direction for the loved ones left behind because without one, distribution of your assets can be left open to interpretation. Without a will, the courts will decide what happens with your estate, and this can be difficult if there is already some contention among your loved ones.
Estimates of how many couples divorce are easy to throw out. The one most commonly heard is that about half of all marriages end in divorce.
Last week, one of our posts featured the wisdom that as part of any solid estate plan, it's important to include distribution of possible life insurance benefits in the mix. Among the observations made was how valuable trusts can be.
Divorce is rarely a stress-free experience. The relationship of the spouses has already been choppy for some time before they decide to take dissolution action. If children are part of the equation, the turmoil is likely only to be worse.
More and more people seem to get that it's important to have an estate plan. Regardless if you are a well-heeled Pennsylvania resident or one of somewhat lesser means, if you have assets you want distributed in a particular way in the event something happens to you, you need a will.
It's kind of amazing to think about how fast the world is changing. Just a few decades ago, the practice of in vitro fertilization was unheard of. That changed in 1978 with the birth of Louise Brown in Britain -- the first successful test-tube baby.