Probate is designed to ensure that a person's possessions are passed on to the individuals that they were intended to go to. Although this is a good thing, the process is one that is often time consuming and can be very costly. It can take months for a will to go through probate, and this is why many people create estate plans with the purpose of avoiding the process altogether.
When a Pennsylvania resident drafts a will, they may designate a person to serve as the estate's executor. The role of an executor is to oversee the distribution of the estate holder's assets according to the terms of the will.
A power of attorney is a legal document that permits another person to make decisions on the behalf of an incapacitated individual. It is important that married Pennsylvania couples have at least one power of attorney. Having certain types of these documents on hand before a situation arises can ensure that someone they trust will be making any important decisions.
Many Pennsylvania estate plans fail to take into account beneficiary designations in an appropriate fashion. These designations play a critical role in the management of assets like insurance policies and retirement funds. Owners of these types of assets should appoint living people as beneficiaries with the exception of benefits intended for organizations like charities.
Sibling rivalries can be frustrating enough during a parent's life, but they can flare up even more after the parents are long gone. Pennsylvania probate courts could play the role of referee in such cases, which could also result in the loss of some of the value of an estate Through court costs and attorney's fees. Parents might believe that appointing a child as the executor of their estate would prevent these issues, but even this situation could facilitate further bickering.
Most estate disputes among surviving family members in Pennsylvania do not warrant headlines, but another drama has erupted in the aftermath of Bobbi Kristina Brown's death. The conservator of the estate for the 22-year-old daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston has filed a legal complaint alleging that the co-trustees of a trust established for Ms. Brown have refused to pay for the administrative expenses of the estate.
When Pennsylvania residents are asked to be the executor under a person's will, they may have questions as to what this important duty involves. As there are several important legal responsibilities attached to such a role, people should make sure that they are both willing and capable of performing the variety of tasks.
Much is at stake in the administration of a loved one's estate, and it is not uncommon for executors to feel overwhelmed, especially with particularly complex estates or if the deceased's instructions are complicated or ambiguous.
It is never too early to think about and put in writing your desires about what you want to see happen if you should become incapable of making decisions for yourself. This is something that many of the baby boom generation in Pennsylvania may only be coming to realize now as they become the sandwich generation. Many still have children at home. At the same time, they have parents who need extra attention and care as they get into their 70s, 80s and 90s.
There was a historic decision that was made by the United States Supreme Court. The case of Obergefell v. Hodges paved the way for same-sex partners in all 50 states to have estate planning along with tax and benefits opportunities. There were 13 states, including Pennsylvania that did not recognize same-sex marriages.