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.