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and Philadelphia Counties, PA
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Preparing for your death isn't easy so the Law Offices of Sand Gibbs LLP will help make your passing easier on your loved ones by creating a thorough estate plan that protects your property and your wishes so your family can focus on grieving.
When a person dies, their property becomes subject to probate. Probate is a process by which a court oversees that debts are duly paid and assets are properly distributed after a person dies. If you have a properly drafted and valid will, it will be probated and your assets handled in accordance with your intentions. If you do not have a will, or if you have a will that was improperly prepared, a will that was prepared and signed without the appropriate legal formalities, or a will otherwise subject to viable challenge, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy – meaning state law will apply its own rules regardless your wishes. In many cases, significant money will be needlessly wasted, or distributed in ways neither you nor your family would want, if you do not have a valid and enforceable will at the time of death.
A will which has been properly drafted by one of our skilled and capable attorneys and executed in our offices is certain to be properly probated, protecting your rights and interests. This will make probate a simple and smooth process - the court and all parties will be bound to see your desires and intentions carried out.
These trusts are a great way to supplement your will and direct the distribution of your wealth after your death. You can have us create a revocable living trust for you instead of a will or along with a will. It provides an additional level of protection to you and your loved ones that a will doesn't by completely avoiding probate for all the assets contained in the trust, allowing you to control it throughout your life (even if you're incapacitated), and allowing you to decide what happens to your assets when you die. Our attorneys can also answer any questions you may have about deeds of trust — we'll also review them for you.
Talk with us today about whether or not a revocable living trust is the best way to manage your affairs.
Have you been designated as the executor or administrator of a deceased family member's estate? We can provide you with the guidance, support, and advice you may need to handle the day-to-day tasks of administering the estate. Our legal team will help as little or as much as you need us to, and we will faithfully carry out your orders and directives — protecting your rights and the rights of the estate.
If you become incapacitated in some way, granting someone powers of attorney will allow assigning someone or an institution (acting on your prior instructions) the ability to manage your financial and medical decisions without a court appointee.
It's a very powerful tool, and if used incorrectly, can cause you a lot of problems. Our attorneys will guide you through the process of selecting the appropriate individual or institution to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so on your own.
We'll advise you to have a full general durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney (that includes an advanced health care declaration that prevents intervention from health care providers when you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness).
Pennsylvania imposes inheritance taxes whenever a death occurs — except in the cases of a husband and wife's joint assets. Because our attorneys are so familiar with these taxes, we know the deductions and mechanisms that will allow you minimize what that tax will be.
The federal government imposes estate taxes, where applicable, and they can dramatically reduce the value of an estate. Federal estate tax rates start at 40% and go up from there, but our estate plans can help protect your rights, and we can help you find the right deductions and mechanisms to minimize the impact of federal estate taxes.
Revocable Living Trusts
Durable Powers of Attorney
Inheritance and estate taxes