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Harrisburg Legal Blog

Estate administration and probate can affect one's assets

Estate planning is a critical part of protecting one's assets and providing for loved ones. Many decisions need to be made, including whether a will is adequate or if the Pennsylvania resident will benefit by creating a trust. These decisions can have a profound impact upon one's assets, how they are distributed and whether they are subject to estate taxes. There are many aspects to the estate administration and probate process that need to be taken into consideration.

With a revocable trust, the individual establishes the trust and designates its beneficiaries. Assets are transferred to the trust and a trustee is established. In many cases, the trustee and the individual creating the trust are the same. This type of trust is useful for transferring assets without the need for probate. Additionally, with this type of trust, the individual can make changes as he or she sees fit.

Unmarried parents can seek child support payments too

Raising a child is expensive. From smaller expenses, such as shoes and clothes, to more costly expenditures, like extracurricular activities and health insurance, Pennsylvania parents put a significant portion of their finances into their children.

For unmarried parents, these costs are not always fairly shouldered. Child support orders help ensure that both parents are providing adequate financial support and can ease the burden that custodial parents bear.

Pet custody and the Pennsylvania divorce

Pets are children too. At least this is the case in many Pennsylvania households. Although pets are still treated as a part of the property division process in this state, they are often considered to be a part of the family and can become an area of controversy when the couple decides to divorce.

In families without children, the pet often acts as a surrogate child. Both "parents" dote on the pet and cater to its every whim. In fact, there is often a competition to see who can get the pet to play or snuggle with each individual.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides opportunity

At first, it may seem like the end of the world. Bills have piled up, and there appears to be no end in sight. Yet, this is far from the truth. Many Pennsylvania residents quickly discover that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection actually allows them to start over again.

Some mistakenly believe that bankruptcy will only have negative consequences. In reality, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the individual's debts to be discharged and provides an opportunity to start fresh. Rather than struggling to pay bills, the individual can focus on the future.

These steps could make your divorce easier and less contentious

Let's face it, ending your marriage was probably at the bottom of your to-do list. When you married, you expected it to last, but for whatever reason, you find yourself at a crossroads. You can no longer remain married, but you don't really want to go through a divorce.

It may help to know that many Pennsylvania couples felt, and feel, the same way. Giving in to the emotional fallout could make your divorce messy, expensive and time-consuming. It may be a challenge, but if you can put those emotions aside and treat your divorce like a business transaction, things could go much more smoothly. In fact, you can take additional steps to make the process easier.

Is retaining the home a prudent financial decision in divorce?

In many Pennsylvania families, the home is the central focal point for many decisions. Couples spend time selecting the home, taking care of it and building a life in it. Then, when this life is altered by divorce, the dilemma of who gets the home can become an issue.

Many times, one of the individuals seeks to acquire the home as part of the divorce settlement. At times this is a prudent decision. However, in other cases, it may not be in the individual's best interest.

Do I qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When in need of debt relief, it can be difficult to know where to turn. You can take advantage of numerous options, but which one is right for you? What is going to make the biggest difference in your life? For some Pennsylvania residents, the answer is Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how do I know if I qualify? These are great questions with seemingly simple answers.

Probate provides appropriate method for transferring assets

There appears to be some confusion regarding the best way to handle one's legal estate. Some say that probate should be avoided while others insist that it is a necessary part of the process. The simple fact of the matter is that probate is simply the process in which the Pennsylvania resident's estate is transferred to beneficiaries.

Those who suggest that avoiding probate is best are often looking for the least expensive way in which to proceed. With probate, there generally are court costs, attorney fees and executor expenses; however, along with these costs are protections for those involved. The probate process is designed to protect the individuals involved and ensure that the deceased's property is properly handled.

The business of bankruptcy for your small business

Owning and operating a small business in Pennsylvania is not easy, and there are times when some businesses accumulate a large amount of debt. Like personal debt, business debt can lead to many inconveniences, including calls from creditors, repossession of assets and more. If you are a small business owner and your company is dealing with debt problems, you may consider the benefits of bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a common choice for small businesses in financial duress. By making this choice, you can confront the debts that are plaguing your business, all while maintaining operations and working for a better financial future. If you believe that your business could benefit from this step, you would be wise to take the steps necessary to protect the future of your company.

There are options in dealing with nonpayment of child support

Raising a child can be an expensive venture. Often, Pennsylvania families with the luxury of two incomes struggle to pay the mortgage, pay the car note, buy groceries and pay for all of the extras that come with providing for a child. This struggle is aggravated when a single parent is attempting to do the same but with only one income. Along with the numerous other benefits, child support assists with meeting the basic needs of one's child.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania parents recognize the need for making timely child support payments. In fact, Pennsylvania leads the nation with an 84 percent payment rate. This translates into more custodial parents receiving the funds needed to help take care of the children.