Different Types of Taxes Can Be Confusing

When I am reviewing taxes for an estate client sometimes I hear the comment “<y>ou told me the rate is 4.5%.  Why is this different?”  The rate for inheritance under the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax for children, grandchildren and other “lineal” descendants is 4.5%  If the beneficiary is a brother or sister of the decedent it […]

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Plans Underway For Affordable Housing Alternatives For Seniors

In October, 2022 AARP published a summary of a program they sponsored known as the “2022 AARP Livable Communities Workshop.”  The purpose of the program, the article, and the several publications and resources following, many of which are now available on line is “to <bring> together thousands of local leaders, housing practitioners, and AARP staff […]

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Reasons Why a Will Is Not Enough For An Estate Plan

With the beginning of the new year many readers may be looking to redraft their Wills executed years ago or starting out to review their estate plans generally.  Having attended several programs over time and drafted many estate plans I know the emphasis has almost always been on explaining Wills.  Today it is most often […]

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Year End Tax Strategies Can Include Qualified Charitable Distribution or QCD

At about this time Americans looking to save taxes for the 2022 tax year might be casting about for strategies.  One of these that can be beneficial for some taxpayers age 70 ½  and above is a Qualified Charitable Distribution or QCD. QCD’s can use the federal tax code to benefit taxpayers, mostly in the […]

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Considerations Before Disinheriting a Child

lending To Children

Frequently Wills drafted for husband and wife with surviving children designate assets to flow from husband to wife if husband dies first and from wife to husband if wife dies first.  Then, when the parents have both passed, assets would be distributed equally to their children. This testamentary plan works in most cases especially with stable […]

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Does A Life Estate Make Sense For An Estate Plan

Life estates have received some attention recently as a way to resolve partial ownership of a property.  Like any other estate planning tool it needs to be considered in light of the objectives of the parties involved.  A life estate is a form of joint ownership that allows one person to remain in the house […]

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Supreme Court Case Examines Right to Sue Regarding Nursing Home Care

A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could decide whether Medicaid beneficiaries and their families can obtain relief for some nursing home violations in federal court or be left to filing a complaint with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The case of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC) […]

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How Do You Know When You Need a Trust?


Trusts are sometimes offered as a “cure all” solution to estate planning problems. It is true that some issues lend themselves to the use of trusts. It is also true, however, that there are states like Pennsylvania, where a trust is not generally necessary and a simple Will will work just as well. So in […]

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The CLIO Conference and A Client Centered Law Firm


Lawyers and technology do not always work well together – or at least they did not often in the past. Some Americans actually still believe that, after a family member’s death, the lawyer “reads the Will” to assembled beneficiaries in a comfortable office preferably before a raging fire and, if a male, while smoking a […]

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Comparing Yesterday To Today – Can You Afford To Retire Now?


Recently, in describing situations before today for instance back when my father would have retired if he had lived that long or even just twenty or thirty years ago I have begun to fall back on an expression from nursery rhymes “once upon a time.” The expression is useful because it is sometimes difficult to […]

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What You Need To Change If You Get Divorced


When you are in the middle of a divorce you know you are confronting drastic change. This could be a reason to forget some things and focus on others that might be less significant. I recently attended a program that offered some intriguing advice that can be applied both to divorce and to other major […]

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Personal Choice Makes a Difference For Senior Living


After living in a house where you raised your children and you know every nook and cranny it is difficult to decide whether to stay where you are and, if you do decide to take the next step, where you should move. If you are one of a couple, your husband or wife or partner […]

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Lessons For Executor – What To Do Next


If you are appointed executor of your parent’s estate, others in the family – usually brothers and sisters – might think you were placed in a favored position. After listening to several newly appointed executors and after having served in that capacity myself more than once I realize the work involved can be more than […]

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Medicare Assistance At Home Distinguished From Medicaid


The first thing you need to know when searching for assistance at home for a parent, spouse, or other loved one is the difference between help received under Medicare and Medicaid. Because of the similarity of the terms there is often confusion. Medicare can offer much needed assistance especially after hospitalization but is generally limited […]

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Retirement Decisions – More Than Just Retire or Work


Some years back I remember hearing a fictional story of a businessman trying to convince an islander of reasons to go to work as a regular employee. The islander who was quite happy relaxing in the sun and living simply off the land did not understand reasons to do this. The businessman explained that, after […]

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