Monday, September 27, 2010

Segway Company Owner Dies

You have seen the Segway. Police officers, tour guides, and then others all over started using it. They caught on and of course the money has followed. This is an estate to follow. Will keep you posted on the estate planning lessons to be learned.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Retitling Assets

This is a reminder of the importance of retitling assets when you get a Trust. Many folks ask for and obtain a Trust whether Revocable or Irrevocable, the most important step after the Trust has been signed is retitling. This means that all assets (or the assets to be placed in the Trust) that are in your name MUST BE retitled from your name to the name of the Trust, ie. ABC Trustee, for the XYZ Trust dated ______.

Without retitling your assets the Trust is pointless. It does nothing for you until assets are properly (legally changing title) placed into the trust.

We work with our clients during the retitling process. We do not leave it on them. They could forget, not understand or just procrastinate. Contact us for all your estate planning needs at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Now? Federal Estate Tax Legislation

I attended the Bucks County Estate Planning Council's meeting last night. The speaker's topic was on the Federal Estate Tax legislation or should I say the lack thereof. Since 2001 when the new law was implemented with a 2010 sunset, we have anticipated that Congress would be addressing the pending sunset. Well, we are half way through 2010 and nothing.

One third of the audience felt that Congress would act by year end, 1/3 felt they would act in 2011 and the other 1/3 felt they would not act at all. In other words, it is anyone's guess on the status of, among other things, the Federal Estate Tax which if Congress does nothing will take us back in time.

So what does an attorney advise a client? Flexible planning is the key with Disclaimer Trusts and QTIP trust being high on the list. Want to know more, contact us at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Business of Caring

What would you do if you were diagnosed with a debilitating disease? Would you (1) Get your affairs in order; (2) Be paralyzed by the prognosis; (3) Be in denial and do absolutely NOTHING; or (4) Seek out the best possible professional help and advice.

In my practice I do encounter individuals who find themselves in this situation. Of course, their visit to me is getting their affairs in order but just as important they are expanding their circle of support through what is a very difficult time.

So for me, my practice is all about the human factor. It is about caring at many levels for those clients that I encounter. I am happy for them when they have a baby, purchase a new home, get a new job or start a business. I empathize with them over the loss of a loved one or their concerns for their children. I have compassion for them as they struggle to overcome or manage their life's challenges.

I know that when it comes to getting your affairs in order it is not just about the legal documents but it is about the care that goes into the preparation. Contact us at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Marathon Progress Update

Since many of you have asked, How am I doing?, I decided to provide Monday updates.

Well, things are progressing. I am now at runing 9 miles which I did yesterday. This was a point that I really felt was going to be very difficult. I started feeling, I don't think I can do this 9 miles coming up on my training program. I just felt it was beyond my capacity. BUT, I did it and it meant a lot to me. I feel that I have reached a very important milestone in the training. My training partner/coach is to be commended. She talks just when I think, no more!! How she manages to talk and run, I do not know. I need all my energy just to run. BUT, she got me through it and afterwards I felt really good.

Soooo, I am still in it to finish it. I still have a long way to go and will need your constant encouragement. So, I thank you all for that. Shout out to Mary Ann who saw me training in Tyler Park and gave me a thumbs up!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Probate - Estate Administration

If you are the executor or administrator of an estate, remember the following when closing out the estate:

1. Make sure all deeds are properly titled to the beneficiary/ies.
2. Make sure all final forms are submitted to register of wills, including final status report; any formal accounting; or family settlement agreement.
3. Make sure final approvals are obtained regarding inheritance tax filings.
4. Make sure you close out the estate account after everything is finalized.

This is a helpful checklist of things that often get overlooked. However, it would be to your benefit to consult with a professional probate attorney. We have that expertise. Contact us at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You can be Sued As an Executor

It is important that everyone has a will so that you can name the executor over your estate. You need to ask the person you want to name whether they wish to serve. The role of executor is very important. They must make sure the distribution of your estate is done in accordance with your wishes and the requirements under the law. There are time frames that have to be met; forms that have to be filed; taxes that have to be paid; and, decision that you may leave up to the executor in your will, ie. who gets what household items, etc.

If anyone feels the executor is not performing, they can bring a legal action, ie. sue the executor. So, your executor may have to defend their actions before the court. Everyone should understand the potential risks associated with being an executor. The person making the will should pick wisely and the person agreeing to serve should understand their fiduciary role.

Contact us if you are serving as an executor. We can help you avoid litigation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Asset Protection Planning

We all want to protect and preserve the assets that we have accumulated through all our hard work. There are simple and complex ways to accomplish that task.

Some ideas to consider include gifting to those whom you want to have your assets. Joint ownership will allow assets to pass to those whom you have made co-owners. There is so much that can be done with proper planning with insurance. Family Limited Partnerships are more complex but very effective planning tools as are different types of trusts.

You need to address all of these asset protection planning vehicle with a respected professional. Contact us at for all your estate planning, probate and elder law needs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tax Planning - Don't wait until the last minute!!!

Tax planning for 2010 is going to be a real challenge, and unintended consequences may adversely affect the best-laid plans. Minimizing the tax bill requires a true balancing act between the changes in the tax rates, the differences in the phaseouts between the two years, and the always unpredictable alternative minimum tax (AMT).

There are significant tax savings opportunities for anyone who can control the timing of either a large income item or an itemized deduction. The problem is determining which tax year will result in the greatest benefit. We urge you to reach out to your accountant or tax preparers and discuss the following issues:

Timing of your income (there are no phaseouts in 2010) – take an early bonus, make IRA withdrawals, or recognize some other type of ordinary income in 2010
Accelerating capital gains into 2010 – selling low-bases stock as capital gain rate is scheduled to increase to 20% and the favorable 15% rate is going back to the taxpayer’s marginal rate for qualifying dividends.
AMT tax – there is no “patch” approved for 2010 and the exemption will revert back to 1986 level.
Taking deductions in 2010 vs. deferring to 2011?
Roth IRA – should you convert in 2010 and pay the tax as the income rates are going up?

Leave your comments here or contact us at

Monday, September 13, 2010

Giving Birth is Like Estate Planning

I was talking with a client today about how estate planning is about everything we do. My client is a mid-wife. She thought awhile and then compared estate planning to giving birth. I thought that was very interesting.

She said you have to prepare for child birth and if you don't there may well be complications. Hello, the same is true for estate planning. If you do not plan for when you die, there may well be complications.

She said the baby is coming whether you are ready or not. Well, Well, the same is true for estate planning. Sooner or later, death will be our reality, ready or not.

Preparing for child birth is so very important for your health and the health of your baby. Preparing for death is so very important for your family and for the legacy you leave behind.

Contact us at

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Marathon is Like Estate Planning

Of course I would notice the similarities, because estate planning is what I do everyday. Training for a marathon, you have to follow a well developed plan. Just like estate planning requires the services of an expert, you want a traning program that has been developed by a professional and has been proven successful. You have to finalize your estate plan by signing the documents. You have to execute your training program by running the schedule.

Today and tomorrow, I run 6 miles then a day of rest before I increase to 7 miles. This gradual schedule along with some strength training, interval training, a few races in between and a lot of encouragement will get me to 26 miles by the end of November. Oh, did I forget to mention positive thinking!!!!

We all have to have a plan for our life events. You can rely on us for your all your estate planning and probate needs. Contact us at

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

This is a number one best seller from Swedish author, Stieg Larsson. There is a Swedish movie and plans for an American movie. The book was written as a trilogy, followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I have read the first book and I am half way through the second, fascinating read.

BUT, here is what is exciting from an estate planning perspective. Stieg Larsson died after his manuscripts were released but before his books were published. He is not around to enjoy all of the popularity his books have garnered nor the financial reward associated with the popularity. So what is happening with his estate?

You guessed it. There was no Will!! His brother and father are his only living heirs. Though he lived with his life companion of 32 years, he NEVER married. The beneficiaries of his estate are his brother and father. His life companion has no legal rights to any of his estate. So does it end there?

Of course not because there is rumors of a 4th book. Stieg Larsson apparently intended to write 10 books in this series. He had completed 3 and was well into the 4th which allegedly is in the possession of his life companion. Can a settlement be reached with the family that would be amendable to ALL parties?

What do you think? Leave your comments here or contact us at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marathon Update - First 10K EVER!!!

Yes, I ran my first 10k, ever. It was Labor Day when most folks relax and enjoy a cook out or two. But, not me, I was out there running through the neighborhood of Morrisville, Pennsylvania. I figured if I intend to do a Marathon, 26 miles, I should clearly start with some shorter races. So, the 10k (6.2 miles, my tag number for the run was 62, coincidence???), was my starting point. In my training schedule, I had run 6 miles a couple of times, so I knew I could do it.

BUT, running on your own and running an event is so different. The Pros: Folks cheering for you; Water breaks.....The Cons: The fast pace of all the runners. So what I did was just slow down to my own comfortable pace which meant I was soon all alone, just me, myself and I.

BUT the cheering carried me through to the end and I crossed the finished line completing my first 10k. A BAGEL and WATER never tasted soooo goood!!!

I run because Jonathan can't!!
I run because Jayla needs her full vision!!

Donate what you can!!!