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November 2013 Archives

Tips for minimizing estate taxes so your heirs receive more money

Estate planning is not something anyone really likes to think about. After all, thinking about one's own demise isn't pleasant. If you're not a legal guru, you may have a lot of difficulty understanding the complex legalese that goes into estate planning. Experienced estate planning attorneys can provide valuable advice as you determine who your heirs are, how your assets are to be distributed and who can make decisions over your finances and health care if you are incapacitated.

Heirs struggle to assume mortgages before foreclosures

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new guidelines for banks to deal with the growing problem of unnecessary foreclosures on homes after the named borrower passes away. The problem arises when the person with their name on the mortgage dies and their family must obtain all of the necessary information and access to make sure bills continue to be paid on time. This is problematic in several areas, most notably in the case of mortgages where notoriously difficult bank procedures make it hard for families to gain access to the loan account in time. 

Keep your estate plan current

Accomplishing the goal of putting together a comprehensive estate plan can be a big task, from listing and organizing assets to making the tough decisions about how to pass them along and to whom. Once this process is over, many people mistakenly believe that their work here is done, but the truth is that estate plans should be somewhat dynamic and it is often in one’s best interest to change it over time, making small adjustments to fit changing circumstances or making big changes to accommodate major life events like a birth, death, or marriage. 

Estate planning decisions: charitable giving

Charitable giving is a common part of many Pennsylvania residents’ estate plans. Designating some portion of an estate to a charitable cause can reduce tax liability and do something good for the community at the same time. When making this decision it is important to consider it carefully since diverting funds to charitable causes often reduces the share remaining for family members.

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