The Law Offices of Suzan G. Leonard, P.C. focuses on the practice areas encompassing estate planning and administration. Creating an estate plan is a crucial step to take towards ensuring your end-of-life plans and your final wishes are carried out. However, it’s something that many people, unfortunately, put off. Read on to learn more about estate planning and how the Law Offices of Suzan G. Leonard, P.C. provide estate administration:
Estate Planning and Probate
Probate is the legal process of finalizing a person’s affairs or estate after their death. Not all estates have to go through the process of probate. According to Pennsylvania law, an estate that contains less than $50,000 in assets can skip the process of probate. The following are assets that don’t have to go through the probate process, no matter the size of the estate:
- Property the deceased person owned jointly with another person. This could include a bank account or house for example owned by the deceased and their spouse.
- Assets that have a designated beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy or retirement account.
- Any asset that the deceased person held in a living trust.
The Probate Process in Pennsylvania
The probate process in Pennsylvania can be lengthy and involve many specific steps. That is why it’s a good idea to have the legal help of an estate administer at your side when going through the probate process. You also need to be aware that Pennsylvania imposes an inheritance tax return. This means anyone other than the surviving spouse who inherits assets from a deceased person will have to pay the estimated inheritance tax within nine months of the death. If the person pays within three months, they receive a discount on their tax bill. This is good information to keep in mind when creating an estate plan.
Why Having an Estate Plan Can Make Things Easier
The process of probate as was just discussed can be confusing. Thankfully, having a good estate plan in place along with a living trust can make the process of dealing with a death much easier. Admittedly, no one likes to think about their death, but it’s something that will happen. Therefore, having an estate plan in place is a great way to take care of your family, even when you aren’t physically present to do so any longer. Call us today to learn more about our estate administration services and how we can help you prepare your will and estate.