Probate And Estate Administration: Frequently Asked Questions
Almost everyone ends up dealing with probate and estate administration eventually. Listed below are some of the questions we hear from our clients at Blakley & Jones the most often.
Probate And Estate Administration FAQs
- Do I really need an estate plan? If you do not have a will or a trust when you pass away, you are letting the state decide how to distribute your assets after you’re gone. Households of modest means are often the ones that can benefit the most from estate planning when a family member passes away. Whether you own a mansion or live in an apartment, we can create an estate plan that makes sense for you and your family.
- Do I need to hire a lawyer? The laws concerning estate planning in Pennsylvania are complex and continually changing over time. Misinterpreting laws and statutes can result in a prolonged probate hearing that may not distribute your assets according to your plan. Hiring experienced estate planning attorneys like Blakley & Jones can help you avoid costly mistakes. We can help ensure that the state follows your directions on who your money, property and other belongings should be distributed.
- Will my beneficiaries have to pay taxes on their inheritance? A surviving spouse, charitable organizations and other tax-exempt organizations do not have to pay inheritance tax in Pennsylvania. Property jointly owned with a spouse and some agricultural property are also exempt from inheritance tax. Beneficiaries who are not spouses are taxed between 4.5 and 15 percent based on their relationship to the deceased. Inheritance tax payments must be paid within nine months of the individual’s death or they become delinquent.
- Can I set up a guardianship as part of my estate plan? Guardianship for children and special needs adults are very common in estate planning. If you do not designate a guardian, the state gets involved in identifying a guardian for your loved one after you are gone. Setting up guardianship as part of your estate plan ensures that your loved is cared for by the person you feel is best suited.
- Can someone with power of attorney make health care decisions on my behalf? This requires a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney that names a person (known as your agent) who has authority to make health care decisions for you on your behalf. When a doctor determines that you are no longer capable of making or able to make your own health care decisions, your agent becomes responsible for your health care decisions.
- When should I start creating my estate plan? There is never a bad time to start working on an estate plan. If you are married and/or have children, having an estate plan is a great way to make sure they receive your assets and are provided for after you are gone. When you have money, property or assets of any kind that you want specific people to inherit after you’re gone, it’s time to create an estate plan.
We Welcome Your Probate Questions
If you would like more information about estate planning or the probate process, contact us online or schedule a consultation by calling our office at 814-299-4079.