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Mar 18, 2013 - Pedestrian Accidents

MAN STRUCK AND KILLED WHILE WALKING ON SHOULDER OF INTERSTATE

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Pedestrian Accidents on Monday, March 18, 2013. Residents across the nation may witness delays, traffic and road closures due to accidents on the roadway. A pedestrian accident can cause a very graphic and tragic accident site, which will often require that the roads be closed while emergency crews tend to the incident and authorities begin investigating the incident. The details surround the accident may not always be clear, and when there is a fatal pedestrian accident, police attempt to effectively and timely complete their investigation for the mourning loved ones of the deceased pedestrian. At around 10:51 a.m. on March 9, police responded to a call about a pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle. The incident occurred on Interstate 83 near the 13th Street exit in Harrisburg when a vehicle struck a man who was walking on the north shoulder of the southbound lanes. The impact from the collision caused the man to be tossed over the barrier landing in the northbound lanes of the interstate. No cars in the northbound lane hit the man when he landed. Emergency crews responded to the pedestrian-vehicle accident, but the man who was struck by the vehicle did not survive the injuries he suffered from the collision. The investigation of the crash is still ongoing, and the driver of the vehicle that struck the man is cooperating with authorities in the investigation. No citations or changes have been issued at this time. A […]

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

Will I Have to Pay Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax?

The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is imposed as a percentage of the value of almost any transfer from the estate of a decedent who was a resident of Pennsylvania. It does not matter whether the transfer occurs due to a gift (specific or residuary) under a Will to a beneficiary, by virtue of intestacy to an heir, or by operation of law to a transferee. The tax rate varies depending on the relationship of the beneficiary, heir or transferee to the decedent. The rates for Pennsylvania inheritance tax are as follows: 0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child aged 21 or younger; 4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs; 12 percent on transfers to siblings; and 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax. Property owned jointly between husband and wife is exempt from inheritance tax. Effective for estates of decedents dying after June 30, 2012, the Pennsylvania inheritance tax for farming families, previously levied when property was transferred from one generation to the next or between family members, is eliminated. Inheritance tax payments are due upon the death of the decedent and become delinquent nine months after the individual’s death. If inheritance tax is paid within three months of the decedent’s death, a 5 percent discount is allowed. Preparation of the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return can be tricky. At Drake, Hileman & Davis, we have been helping individuals successfully […]

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

How Long Does Probate Take?

Unless there is a Will contest or other litigation, a probate estate should take about one year to administer from the date of death of the testator of the Will. There are several deadlines that affect the length of a probate proceeding, including: (1) the deadline for filing notice of the probate proceeding; (2) the one year creditor claim period; and (3) the nine month deadline for filing the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return and, if required, the Federal Estate Tax Return. If a Will or the proceeding are contested, administration of an estate can take much longer. At Drake Hileman & Davis, we work hard to avoid contests if at all possible. Please contact one of the helpful and experienced attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis for an evaluation of the estate and an assessment of the amount of time required for probate administration. Click here to contact us regarding probate, estate or trust administration matters. Avoid expensive probate mistakes, delays and unnecessary litigation. Contact an estate administration lawyer at the Doylestown law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis for helpful legal advice and satisfying results.

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

How Will I Pay for Probate?

Probate costs are paid out of the funds of the Estate as an expense or administration, at least in the case of a solvent estate. You should not have to pay for attorney fees or other costs, expenses or fees of probate or administration out of your own pocket. Contact Drake, Hileman & Davis for an assessment of the fees, costs and expenses of probate or estate administration and the best means for paying same. Click here to contact us regarding probate, estate or trust administration matters. Avoid expensive probate mistakes, delays and unnecessary litigation. Contact an estate administration lawyer at the Doylestown law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis for helpful legal advice and satisfying results.

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

What Does Probate Cost?

In Pennsylvania, there is no legally prescribed amount for fees payable to the probate lawyer or commissions or fees payable to the executor or administrator of the estate.  However, all fees and commissions must be “reasonable” in amount. At Drake, Hileman & Davis, we believe that lawyers should charge by the hour for their work and that a law firm should employ qualified paralegals to do as much of the work as possible in order to keep fees reasonable. Some lawyers charge a fixed fee for estate administration work based upon a percentage of the gross value of estate (regardless of debts). We believe that such an approach may result in a windfall payment to the lawyer. The fees paid to the Register of Wills for opening probate are also based on the value of the Estate and vary from county to county and have tended to increase over the years. We can help you with a quick calculation of how much probate might cost you. Please contact the law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis for an evaluation of whether or not probate of the estate is necessary, and for a careful estimate of what the fees, costs and expenses of probate will be. Click here to contact us regarding probate, estate or trust administration matters. Avoid expensive probate mistakes, delays and unnecessary litigation. Contact an estate administration lawyer at the Doylestown law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis for helpful legal advice and satisfying results.

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

Does a Trust Require Probate?

There are many different kinds of trusts, and trusts can serve many different purposes. Some trusts are created during the life of the person who creates the trust (known as the “Settlor”). They are called “inter-vivos” or “living” trusts. Other trusts are created under the Will of a testator. They are called “testamentary” trusts, and don’t come into effect until the testator dies. A revocable living trust can be used to avoid probate, either in whole or in part, depending on whether all of the probate assets of the Settlor are titled to the Trust before the Settlor dies. A testamentary trust, on the other hand, requires probate of the Will before the testamentary trust can be established and funded. However, regardless of the type of trust, Pennsylvania’s version of the Uniform Trust Act (“UTA”) requires trustees to comply with various requirements. Failure to do so can result in substantial penalties. At Drake, Hileman & Davis we have the experience and expertise necessary to handle the administration of all kinds of trusts, including living and testamentary trusts. Click here to contact us regarding probate, estate or trust administration matters. Avoid expensive probate mistakes, delays and unnecessary litigation. Contact an estate administration lawyer at the Doylestown law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis for helpful legal advice and satisfying results.

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

What Is Required for a Valid Will?

A Will should be in writing (printed or typewritten), signed by the person making the Will (called the “testator”), dated, and signed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses and a separate disinterested notary public, all of whom must be of legal age and all of whom must be present at the same place and time and observe each of the other participants sign the Will. The document should clearly state that it is the testator’s Will. In order to make a valid Will, the testator must be of sound mind (that is, not subject to any undue influence, duress, coercion or fraud). If the Will meets all of these tests it is valid and may be properly probated. A Will that is not acknowledged by a Notary Public is still valid, but it will not qualify as a “self-proving” Will. In that case, the witnesses will need to appear before the Register of Wills and verify the testator’s signature on the Will. If the Will is handwritten (a holographic Will), then it must be entirely in the testator’s handwriting. It can’t be partially typed. The handwritten Will must be dated and signed at the end, and the testator has to be of sound mind. If it meets all of these tests, it does not need to be witnessed to be a valid Will. Contact us at Drake, Hileman & Davis for an evaluation of any Will, particularly if you are uncertain if the Will is valid or can or […]

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Mar 15, 2013 - Estate Planning

Will We Need a Formal Probate Administration of the Estate?

If there is a Will or no estate plan document at all, it is likely that a probate administration will be required. Some types of property, however, pass without probate, including the following: Assets held jointly, either as “tenancy by the entireties” between a husband and wife, or as “joint tenants with right of survivorship” between any two or more persons who are not married. (In the case of a husband and wife, it is often the case that probate is not required where all assets were owned jointly by the husband and wife); Accounts that are payable on death (“POD Accounts”) to a named person; Accounts that have one or more named beneficiaries, such as retirement accounts including IRA accounts, 401(k) accounts, and annuities; Life insurance policies having a beneficiary designation. Contact one of the knowledgeable attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis if you are uncertain whether or not probate is necessary or if you are confronted with issues regarding beneficiary designations, joint ownership, or payable on death accounts. Click here to contact us regarding probate, estate or trust administration matters. Avoid expensive probate mistakes, delays and unnecessary litigation. Contact an estate administration lawyer at the Doylestown law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis for helpful legal advice and satisfying results.

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Mar 15, 2013 - Car Accidents

POLICE OFFICER AND 3 OTHERS INJURED IN COLLISION

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Friday, March 15, 2013. Multiple accidents could happen in the same area and could be caused by a previous incident. Car accidents can occur for various reasons, but can often be attributed to hazards on the road, speed, negligence and reckless driving. A driver who is not paying attention to the road may in turn cause an incident. Texting while driving can be very dangerous and could result in a collision. In addition, if an accident occurred up ahead, the distracted driver won’t be able to properly slow down or avoid any upcoming hazards that could have resulted from the accident. An accident occurred in West Rockhill and involved four victims. At around 8:00 p.m. the incident happened southbound on Route 309. Two police officers were assisting the driver of an RV. The RV had been partially blocking the roadway and while they were providing assistance a vehicle struck one of the police cars. The impact caused the police car to strike the other police car causing the second car to hit one of the officers. The vehicle that struck the first police car was traveling with three people inside. Emergency crews responded to the crash and the police officer struck by the vehicle was transported to the hospital. The three inside the striking vehicle were reported to have suffered injuries, but the extent of their injuries was not known. The incident remains under investigation. Authorities […]

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"I was injured in an accident and my truck was totaled. The guy who hit me had a low insurance policy. I reinjured my neck and shoulder in the accident. I thought nothing could be done since the guy had hardly any insurance and I had a previous condition, but Jonathan Russell from Drake, Hileman & Davis was able to get me a nice cash settlement!"
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