Practice Overview

Bendick Law ...Estate Planning is something that every responsible adult should do. It not only involves the preparation of a will, but also other very important legal documents such as trusts, powers of attorney, living wills and others depending on each individual’s circumstance. The word “estate” often makes a person think of great wealth or large assets; actually if a person owns anything or has children, they have an estate and need to speak to a legal professional to see how it may be handled in the best way. The goal in estate planning is to take care of what you have and ensure that your assets are distributed to the persons or charities you desire after you have passed away. If you have young children, a will is a document in which you will name a guardian to take care of the children if you should pass away. A power of attorney is a document in which you give someone else the power to act on your behalf should you be in another location or should you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs. A living will or durable health care power of attorney is your chance to let your family and friends know the type of medical help you wish to receive or not receive should you be in a terminal medical state and be unable to communicate with medical professionals. Finally, through proper estate planning, you may be able to avoid or limit the amount of taxes your loved ones will have to pay upon inheriting your property.

Estate Administration is also referred to as probate in Pennsylvania. Probate is when someone dies owning assets in his or her name alone and an estate must be opened by a personal representative. The personal representative’s job is to handle the decedent’s assets and settle his or her affairs. If the personal representative was named in a valid will, he or she is referred to as the Executor or Executrix; if there was no will, the court will appoint someone to be the Administrator or Administratrix. The Executor or Administrator is the only person legally entitled to deal with the assets of the estate and handle matters of Estate Administration. There are many specific things that must be done in an estate and time limitations that must be met.

REAL ESTATE MATTERS ...There are many different subjects that fall under this heading. The first is when you are buying or selling your home or any other piece of real property. A lawyer should advise you every step of the way, as this may be one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. There are many steps throughout the process including the mortgage, the agreement of sale, title insurance and transferring the property through a deed. The real estate agent is usually not an attorney and cannot give legal advice.

Legal representation is needed if you are a landlord or a tenant. There are many rights and duties that both a landlord and a tenant have when renting residential property. It is wise to discuss the options of an oral or written lease along with the ramifications if there is no lease. It is important to protect your rights in this situation and know that the other party is adhering to the laws of the Commonwealth.

Many property owners in this area are facing higher property taxes due to a recent reassessment done by the County. This reassessment can be challenged if you feel it does not accurately reflect the value of your property. Your property assessment can be appealed every year, and it is beneficial to have an attorney with experience in this area guide you through the process.

Finally, there are the situations that come up with neighbor disputes, zoning issues, and other matters concerning the local municipalities.