The time to discuss your family’s future is now. Planning ahead for emergencies and protecting your property and wishes is important. Sher & Associates, P.C. assists you in developing and maintaining your wills and estate plan. Through careful review of all aspects of estate planning, we create the documents that will best serve your needs and ensure the proper conveyance of your property and wishes. Sher & Associates assists many individuals and couples with their Estate Planning throughout Berks County, PA and Schuylkill County, PA.
- Preparation of Wills, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships
- Special Needs Trusts
- Charitable Remainder Trusts
- Probate and Administration of Estates
- Business Succession Planning
- Pre-nuptial Agreements
Are you ready to take the next step in setting up your Estate Planning? Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
Find out what information we will need to draft your Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney by filling out the appropriate form below. You’ll automatically receive the appropriate Check List in your email.
Power of Attorney Check List
Estate Planning FAQs
What is an Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan consists of legal documents that work together to manage the assets and the healthcare of the person creating the plan in the event of incapacitation or death. Plans are designed to minimize costs, avoid delays and ensure that go to the people you want to receive them.
What information do I need to create an Estate Plan?
See our information sheet link below, which explains the various options in these documents and the decisions you need to make have a basic estate plan.
Do you offer Couples Wills?
We offer a discounted rate for Husband/Wife Wills and/or Couples. However, each of you will still have your own will.
Do I need to list everything I own in my own Will?
Not necessarily. If the majority of your assets are going to the same person or persons or if you think you may exchange that asset for another in a year or two, it may make more sense to simply leave the residue (or portions of your estate not already distributed by your will) to the desired beneficiary.
How often should I revise my Will and/or my estate plan?
We recommend reviewing your Will and Estate Plan every 3-5 years for various reasons. First, your life circumstances have likely changed. Your children may be adults or other people named in your Will may no longer be in your life. Second, your assets may have changed. As your life changes, you may have upsized or downsized your home or shifted assets to different forms. For example, you may have moved your savings into an IRA or other retirement account or moved your retirement into a savings account. These changes may affect how items should be listed in your Will. Third, sometimes the laws change. For example, laws related to Power’s of Attorney were revised in 2014, with some of those changes taking effect in 2014 and others taking effect in 2015, with further adjustments occurring in 2016. These changes were designed to better protect the person who may be incapacitated and provide clearer language regarding the responsibilities of someone who is acting as a power of attorney.
Can I just draft these documents myself or use software from a store?
To avoid complications, your documents need to be properly worded, as well as witnessed by impartial parties and notarized. Thus, it is always recommended that you visit a lawyer to ensure these important documents are correctly prepared.
Why do I need a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney can provide someone you trust with authority to take care of your finances and assist with healthcare decisions and other matters. This becomes important if you have an illness or become incapacitated because without this document, it is likely a court proceeding will be necessary to give a trusted family member or friend the authority to manage your finances (for example, ensuring your mortgage is paid) or assist with healthcare issues (for example, talking to the health insurance company to get treatment authorization). A court proceeding not only delays the handling of these important matters, but can be costly. The power of attorney avoids this and can go into effect immediately. The power of attorney ends with death and can be revoked at any time.
What is a Living Will? Should I provide it to all of my doctors and the hospital?
A living will is a set of instructions as to what life-saving measures you may want or may not want, should you encounter an illness or injury that renders you terminally ill or in a permanent coma or persistent vegetative state with no significant chance of recovery. While it is your decision as to when to provide this document to relevant healthcare providers, our office generally recommends that you keep the document in a safe place and tell a trusted family member or friend where it is located so that it may be produced at the appropriate time. We can discuss the reasoning behind this suggestion further at the time of our meeting.
Our legal team routinely handles estates, working with executors throughout the entire process from compiling the estate assets to closure. In addition to handling all distributions, we prepare the necessary tax returns thus preventing any avoidable confusion and conflict. If you’re in need of estate administration, contact us today.
- Compilation of estate assets
- Probate – administration of the assets that are in the descendant’s name alone, which do not have a beneficiary designation. Examples include cars, bank accounts, and homes.
- Bill payment
- Filing of tax returns – estate and income tax
- Other legal matters of the estate
- Closure of the estate
Estate Administration FAQs
What is probate?
Probate is the official judicial process of proving the validity of your Will and establishing that the Will for is the true Last Will and Testament of the Descendant. Probate involves a court proceeding and documents, and is required for gathering your assets after your death to distribute them to your beneficiaries per the terms of your Will.
Can I avoid probate?
There are ways to ensure that your assets go directly to your intended beneficiary without having to go through a court process. This can save court fees, but planning is necessary to do this. Everyone always hears they should avoid probate, and while there are some good reasons to avoid probate (such as some cost savings and possible faster processing), having assets that need to go through the probate process is not as bad as people think. The probate process actually prevents fraud and ensures your beneficiaries actually get the assets you are leaving them. We are here to assist with the court process known as probate.
Do I need a trust?
A trust can not only help to avoid the probate process, but it can also appoint someone to manage the money you leave behind to ensure the person you are taking care of does not squander or mismanage it. A trust can also protect assets and help avoid some costs and taxes. However, not everyone needs a trust. We can discuss in detail at a meeting whether or not this option is right for you and your situation.
What is inheritance tax and who pays it?
Inheritance Tax is a tax assessed by the state on the net value of the deceased person’s estate that is either paid by the person inheriting the money or paid prior to distributing the money to the person inheriting it. The amount of tax varies and is a percentage based on your relationship to the decedent. For example, a spouse is taxed at 0%, while a child is taxed at 4.5% percent. Generally, if the estate is probated, a tax return needs to be filed even if you owe no tax. It is important that you speak with us early on, as many expenses can be deducted on the return. Give us a call today
to schedule a meeting to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.