A Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and a Certified Public Accountant, Attorney DeDiana provides expert guidance to make sure you and your loved ones will be protected when you or they can no longer care for themselves. By properly planning with Chris, you will find security and peace of mind.
Estate planning consists of the planning and execution of those steps necessary to make certain that an individual’s person and property are properly cared for during his lifetime and that such property passes to his intended beneficiaries at the time of the individual’s death with the payment of a minimum amount of tax. The principal documents most commonly used in estate planning are a Will, Durable Financial Power of Attorney, Durable Health Care Power of Attorney/Living Will and, in certain cases, lifetime trusts. The estate planning process involves careful analysis of a person’s assets, life insurance, age, family needs, and intentions so that the estate plan can comprehensively deal with an individual’s person and property. Estate planning does involve some financial and tax planning; however, most attorneys do not engage in investment planning, in part due to inherent conflicts of interest.
Estate administration, commonly called “Probate,” is the process by which a decedent’s property and certain other affairs are taken care of at the time of his death. If the decedent made a Will, the estate administration is handled in accordance with the decedent’s desires as expressed in the Will. Attorney DeDiana has extensive experience assembling the decedent’s assets, paying his debts and expenses, filing various tax returns and filing an inventory of all assets owned by the decedent at the time of his death. Chris has handled estates with a wide range of complexity and provides you with security and peace of mind while your loved ones’ estates are properly taken care of.
Inheritance Tax Planning
The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is imposed on an estate at rates which vary according to the relationship between the decedent and the beneficiary receiving the assets. Basically, all of an individual’s estate is subject to Inheritance Tax, less certain exemptions and deductions. In addition, certain assets which are not included in an individual’s estate are taxable for Inheritance Tax purposes. With his expertise as a Certified Public Accountant, Attorney DeDiana guides you through complex tax rules so that less of your assets will go to the government and more will go to your intended beneficiaries.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a loved one with special needs, it is vitally important that they are physically and financially protected if something happens to you. Your loved ones can lose their much-needed government benefits with the wrong legal documents. Attorney DeDiana can help you establish an estate plan that protects your relatives.
Durable Powers of Attorney
As with a Will, every individual at least eighteen years of age should have a general durable Power of Attorney. By means of the Power of Attorney, you, the “principal,” give your agent the power to make various decisions on behalf of the principal, including decisions as to medical treatment and sale of the principal’s property. These powers are often split between a financial Power of Attorney and a health care Power of Attorney. The agent is legally obligated to act solely on behalf of the principal, and must not spend the principal’s money for the benefit of the agent. The durable Power of Attorney eliminates the need for expensive guardianship proceedings if the principal becomes legally incapacitated.
A living will is a document in which a person provides direction to his health care providers regarding the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment under certain circumstances. A living will is used to express your intentions if you later become incompetent, and are either in an end-stage medical condition or in a state of permanent unconsciousness. The living will is often combined in one document with a durable health care power of attorney.
Every individual of at least eighteen years of age should have a Will. The services of a lawyer experienced in estate planning and estate administration are essential, as the preparation of a Will requires a thorough knowledge of the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code, the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, and the Federal Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Taxes. Wills written without the assistance of a lawyer rarely accomplish all of the testator’s goals and often lead to disastrous results.
There are several important reasons to make a Will.
- A Will enables a person to give his assets to whomever he desires.
- A Will allows a person to appoint an executor to administer his estate at the time of his death.
- For persons having minor children, the Will provides an opportunity for parents to name guardians for their children.
- Depending on the size and composition of a person’s estate, a Will can accomplish valuable tax planning.
Medicaid Planning and Nursing Home Asset Protection
Medical Assistance (Medicaid) has complicated financial qualification rules that can prevent a long-term care recipient from qualifying for the program. An experienced elder law attorney like Mr. DeDiana can help you find your way through the qualification maze and qualify for Medicaid sooner rather than later. Long-term care can exhaust your assets. By planning for medical assistance, Attorney DeDiana can help you pay for long-term care and protect assets for your loved ones.