Estate Planning & Administration
We help you reach your estate planning objectives, while reducing or eliminating tax liabilities.
Our attorneys explain the available estate planning options in order to ensure that our clients’ testamentary objectives are accomplished and that inheritance and estate tax liabilities are reduced or eliminated.
We prepare the full range of estate planning documents.
Wills are used to ensure that one’s assets pass to those persons or organizations that he or she desires to benefit. Without a Will, a person’s assets will pass under Pennsylvania’s intestate laws, which could result in a distribution of assets in an undesirable manner. Additionally, Wills are used to appoint executors to administer the estate, trustees to manage property (something that is very important for persons with minor children), and guardians to raise minor children. Without a Will, undesired persons may be appointed to fulfill these important functions.
Health Care Declarations
Health Care Declarations (sometimes referred to as Living Wills or Advanced Directives) are documents in which a person declares in a way that is legally binding on others (including health care professionals) whether he or she desires life-saving or life-sustaining treatment. Without a Health Care Declaration, treatment could inadvertently be administered or withheld in a manner inconsistent with the patient’s wishes.
Powers of Attorney
In an estate planning context, Powers of Attorney are used to ensure that in the event that a person becomes unable to handle his or her personal and financial affairs, an appointed person (the “agent”) may act on behalf of the disabled person without the necessity and expense of petitioning the court in a guardianship proceeding.
Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
Trusts can be used to ensure the protection and administration of assets during the life of the creator of the trust, as well as after he or she has died. Trusts created during one’s
lifetime can be designed to be revocable or irrevocable, with each having differing advantages and tax consequences.
When a loved one passes away, with or without a Will, we guide families through the probate and administration process to assist with the orderly transfer of real and personal property, including the preparation of Pennsylvania Inheritance and Federal Estate Tax Returns. The process of administering an estate can be daunting. If the client desires, we can handle all aspects of the administration, from the collection and liquidation of estate assets, the payment of administrative expenses and debts of the decedents, the preparation of all required tax returns, and the distribution to devisees or heirs of the decedent.
If the client desires at the time of retaining Voelker & Associates, we will undertake to the estate administration on an hourly fee basis. This often results in lower fees to the estate than those charged by other attorneys who base their fees on a percentage of the value of the estate.