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Harrisburg Legal Blog

Estate administration and computer-accessed accounts

Computers are now a part of everyday life. Rather than write out checks to pay bills, most Pennsylvania residents simply login online, view their paperless statement and make a payment via the internet. There is no longer an easily found paper trail of accounts the individual has and how they are handled. While this online activity is convenient for both the company and the individual, it can become an estate administration problem upon the death of the individual.

Without statements arriving in the mail or laying on the table waiting to be paid, it is possible that family members are unaware of what bills are outstanding. Since many bank accounts are now paperless, access to checks used to pay any bills may be limited. In order to make things easier for others upon one's death, it is important that the individual be proactive and make plans for access to his or her digital assets prior to the need becoming apparent.

Prenuptial agreement part of wedding in case of death or divorce

There are many items to take into consideration as one is planning a Pennsylvania wedding. Some of the more commonly thought of items include where the ceremony will take place, what type of reception will be held and who will be in the wedding party. Another important part of the planning process involves the discussion of and planning for the couple's assets and finances in case of death or divorce.

The average couple typically does not want to think about what could happen later on to bring an end to their marital bliss. However, there is always a possibility that something will happen, someone will get sick or the couple will simple grow apart. A prenuptial agreement is a tool that lets the couple go ahead and address these issues prior to the wedding ceremony.

Guidance on reaching dry land when drowning in credit card debt

Credit cards are often easy to obtain, and can be more convenient than other payment methods, at least at the time. While this piece of plastic might offer numerous benefits, a downside exists that many individuals have been unfortunate enough to discover. Perhaps you signed up for a card with the intention of using it for emergencies, yet found yourself using it much more often than planned.

Sometimes all it takes is one missed payment and your interest rate could skyrocket, potentially causing your minimum payment to be insufficient to cover accrued interest. If credit card debt is causing you to suffer a lesser quality of life, and you are unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel, you could be considering personal bankruptcy.

Basics of the probate process in Pennsylvania

Death is a basic fact of life that should be planned for as any other life event. The majority of Pennsylvania residents will owe debts and own assets upon their deaths. How these assets and liabilities are then handled becomes a function of instructions in the individual's will and the probate process.

In most cases, the probate process begins with the court appointing a personal representative to handle the individual's estate. If there is a will, this individual is generally indicated as a part of the will. This individual then searches for and gathers information regarding all assets owned by the individual. These assets often include real estate, jewelry, personal possessions, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance. It is possible that there are other assets as well.

How can you modify a child support order in Pennsylvania?

A divorce order that was once manageable and workable may not longer meet your needs or match your current financial needs. Due to significant changes to your income and other circumstances, you may no longer be able to meet your child's needs on the current amount of support or be able to keep up with the payments per the current terms of the child support order. In either case, a Pennsylvania parent may find that a formal modification of the court order is needed.

A modification may sometimes be granted for parents who need more money due to the changing needs of their children. The custodial parent may be able to seek more money for issues that include recently diagnosed medical issues, educational needs, insurance changes and more. Any change to a child support order must go through the proper legal channels.

Do estate administration duties seem overwhelming?

Dealing with the death of a loved one can cause you to experience a vast array of emotions. Your grief may seem overwhelming, but as the executor of the estate, you likely also feel a sense of duty in ensuring that your family member's estate administration goes smoothly. Because many responsibilities come along with this administration, you may worry about attending to the necessary tasks correctly.

Hopefully, your loved one left behind instructions in a will or other estate planning documents that you can use when it comes to distributing assets. However, acting as executor means handling more personal matters for the deceased in addition to ensuring that the necessary parties receive the proper assets.

Pennsylvania estate administration basics

"What will happen to my possessions when I die?" This is a question that many Pennsylvania residents ask themselves; however, it is also a question that many do not take the time to answer completely. The answer depends upon one's estate plan, or lack of one. In order to answer this question, the first step is typically to create a will. With this will, when one dies, the estate administration process can begin.

Appointing a personal representative is generally the first thing that needs to be done. This individual or company is typically named in the will and is sometimes called the executor. If there was no will, it will be up to the courts to appoint a personal representative, often called an administrator in these circumstances.

Should you reaffirm your car loan as part of a bankruptcy filing?

Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an important, life-changing decision. However, other choices must be made as part of your debt discharge, one important one being what debts to discharge and what loans to reaffirm.

One of the assets many debtors want to keep is their cars. You may have to balance forfeiting the money paid towards the loan by surrendering it versus the vehicle selling at auction that prevents your lender from suing you for the deficiency.

Protect yourself financially during a divorce

No one would argue that divorce is difficult for everyone involved. It’s a very emotional time, there is an inordinate amount of stress, and that’s true even if the end of the relationship is reasonably amicable. However, marriages usually do not end on a friendly note. And even if things begin well, the situation often turns into War of the Roses when arrangements need to be made regarding alimony, assets, child support and custody, and visitation arrangements.

It must be remembered that a divorce isn’t just the end of a marriage. It’s also the end of a financial relationship. And opinions will most likely differ as to how everything should be sorted out. Therefore, it is wise to take steps to protect yourself financially during a divorce. What can you do to safeguard your financial assets?