The attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. provide estate planning services to clients in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Doylestown and surrounding areas of Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley. Whether you need an estate attorney to help prepare or revise a will, trust, or power of attorney, our attorneys create an estate plan that is tailored to the specific needs and goals of the client or family.
We offer a wide range of estate planning services to meet every need from simple wills and trusts to complex estate planning. Our attorneys prepare wills, revocable and irrevocable inter-vivos, charitable and testamentary trusts, foundations, living wills, and power of attorneys. In addition, we have the legal knowledge and expertise to help with creative estate planning, such as anatomical gift provisions, lifetime gifting arrangements, and family estate partnerships.
In addition to estate planning, we offer a broad range of estate administration services. We can handle testamentary estates and living trust estates with efficient and cost effective solutions to suit your specific requirements. Our attorneys prepare Pennsylvania inheritance tax returns, estate settlement agreements, and all ancillary documents for the Executor of the Estate or Trustee.
Why You Need a Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorney
In the estate planning context, your attorney will act as a comprehensive advocate:
- They will evaluate your estate and identify potential issues that could arise in asset distribution and administration;
- They will provide strategic guidance on how best to plan to minimize your liabilities and distribute the assets to the desired beneficiaries;
- They will draft and execute the necessary legal documentation to create an airtight and unambiguous estate plan; and
- They will administer the estate plan and ensure a smooth handover to the designated Executor/Trustee.
These tasks are interconnected and require a considered approach. As such, it’s important to approach an attorney at an early stage in planning so that they have the information and insights necessary to formulate a cohesive plan of action for your estate.
Planning Needs for Seniors
Seniors tend to have unique estate planning needs. Unlike younger individuals, seniors may be more willing to trade “flexibility” in exchange for preserving necessary assets/services.
For example, a senior may be willing to move assets into an irrevocable trust so as to preserve their Medicaid eligibility. This is a strategic decision that is much more common for seniors than younger individuals who are beginning their estate planning journey at a different stage of life.
Qualifying for Medicaid benefits while preserving the inheritance for your eventual beneficiaries is a challenging task. You’ll have to consider what assets you can keep (while still qualifying for Medicaid) — this may require that you pay off debts, purchase excluded assets, goods, and services, and transfer assets to loved ones through exempt gift transfers, among other strategies.
Irrevocable trusts are an effective way of moving assets out of your taxable estate, though it can reduce your financial flexibility (i.e., you cannot directly control the assets). This not only helps with qualifying for Medicaid but can help you minimize certain tax and debt liabilities.
Specialized trusts — such as a generational trust, charitable trust, special needs trust, or a qualified personal residence trust — allow you to establish unique terms associated with distribution that you may find valuable. For example, you can provide for a loved one (who has special needs), declaring the particular ways in which you would like their care handled.
Ambiguities, Conflicts, and Other Concerns
Conflict is best avoided. Sadly, the assets of an estate can be ripe for conflict if the beneficiaries (or those who were left out) have interpersonal disagreements. The key to minimizing conflict is to ensure that the estate plan is written without any ambiguity — the assistance of a skilled attorney is critical in this regard.
Our Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorneys Assist with Medicaid and Inheritance Planning
At Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C., our goal is to create an estate plan that will minimize taxes and maximize the estate. Whenever possible, we work to reduce or eliminate probate with creative estate planning strategies. Please browse our website to learn more about our firm, our estate planning attorneys, and the legal services we provide in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Doylestown, and the surrounding areas.
Contact DHD Law for Estate Planning Assistance Throughout Pennsylvania
Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our team boasts nearly four decades of experience working with a range of clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including seniors who are in the midst of estate planning.
Proper estate planning ranks among the most important legal tasks that a person will typically undertake over the course of their life. Estate planning can be challenging — after all, the client must evaluate how they wish to proceed so as to efficiently distribute their lifetime assets to the “right” people, and they must balance those needs with the desire to minimize tax and other liabilities.
For example, a client who potentially has debtors going after their assets may need to place some assets into an irrevocable trust form so as to protect it from said debtors. This will preserve the assets for the eventual heirs.
At DHD Law, we understand the unique considerations and challenges associated with estate planning, and are standing by to provide comprehensive guidance to Pennsylvania seniors who may be confused about the process.