Estate Planning Attorneys in Montgomery County

Estate planning is the process of preparing for death, incapacity and future health care decisions with the creation of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directives. Probate and estate administration is the process of carrying out a deceased loved ones intentions as set forth in a Will. Estate Litigation is a legal challenge to a Will, a Trust or the actions of an executor or trustee.  For over 15 years, The Martin Law Firm, P.C. has helped individuals and families with their estate planning, estate administration and estate litigation needs.

Last Will And Testament

A Last Will and Testament, commonly referred to simply as a “Will,” is a written declaration of a person’s intentions for the distribution of his or her property upon death. A Will directs how and to whom a deceased person’s property is to be distributed and is often the cornerstone to an effective estate plan. A properly executed Will serves as legal assurance that your personal wishes for asset distribution will be honored, including specific bequests and disposition of the remainder of your estate. Other advantages of a Will include the following:

  • Naming a guardian for children
  • Establishing trusts for minor children
  • Naming trustees to administer trusts for children including how the trust funds should be distributed (e.g. health, maintenance, support and education of the children)
  • Designating charitable or religious gifts
  • Naming a personal representative (executor or executrix) to administer your estate
  • Implementing tax savings strategies

Revocable Living Trust

Some individuals and married couples choose to create a Revocable Living Trust as the cornerstone of their estate plan instead of a Will. To create a Revocable Living Trust, the settlor of the trust (the creator of the trust) will prepare a trust document. The settlor will then transfer property into the trust (e.g. naming the Trust on the deed to the home) and he or she will retain the right to income and principal and the right to amend or revoke the trust at any time prior to his or her death. When the settlor dies, the trust becomes irrevocable, and the assets in the trust are distributed pursuant to the terms of the trust instrument.

In Pennsylvania, the Will is usually the preferred estate planning option. The Revocable Living Trust can have several advantages over a Will including avoidance of Probate which can save costs and avoidance of ancillary estate administration (estate administration in another state). In Pennsylvania, probate costs are relatively inexpensive and some of the other advantages are not always significant. As such, individuals and married couples should discuss their particular needs and circumstances with an estate planning attorney to determine whether the Will or the Revocable Living Trust is the better option.

Durable Powers of Attorney

Estate planning also involves planning for incapacity. A Durable Power of Attorney is a written, legal document by which a “Principal” (you) confers certain financial and related powers to an “Agent” (often a spouse or close family member).

Many people think that it is unnecessary to have a Durable Power of Attorney if they do not have much money or if they hold all property jointly with a spouse or partner. However, there are many actions that an agent will need specific authority to do, including the following:

  • Banking and paying bills
  • Buying and selling real estate
  • Running a business
  • Making changes to life insurance or retirement plans
  • Filing taxes
  • Hiring workers for personal assistance
  • Hiring lawyers or accountants
  • Making gifts
  • Creating or transferring assets to a trust
  • Applying for work-related disability or income continuation benefits
  • Applying for public benefits such as Social Security Disability

Durable Powers of Attorney allow the Principal two options. First, the Principal may give the Agent the “immediate” power to act on the principle’s behalf. Married couples often choose this option. There are no conditions that are necessary for the Agent to act on behalf of the Principal. Second, the Principal may give a “springing power”. A springing power means the Agent can only act on behalf of the principal if and only if the Agent obtains a written certification from a physician that the Principal is incapacitated or disabled.

Medical Powers of Attorney

The Medical Power of Attorney enables a person to designate an “Attorney-In-Fact” to make medical decisions for the person when the person becomes incapacitated or disabled and is unable to make his or her own medical decisions. The Attorney-In-Fact has the legal authority to make any and all decisions regarding the person’s medical care, including medical and surgical treatment or procedures and the administration of medications. A carefully drafted Medical Power of Attorney will incorporate all of the necessary powers and will refer to any incidental powers that may be necessary to effectuate the document. The person who is named as an Attorney-In-Fact under a Medical Power of Attorney is usually a spouse, another family member, or a close friend.

Living Will

The Medical Power of Attorney enables a person to designate an “Attorney-In-Fact” to make medical decisions for the person when the person becomes incapacitated or disabled and is unable to make his or her own medical decisions. The Attorney-In-Fact has the legal authority to make any and all decisions regarding the person’s medical care, including medical and surgical treatment or procedures and the administration of medications. A carefully drafted Medical Power of Attorney will incorporate all of the necessary powers and will refer to any incidental powers that may be necessary to effectuate the document. The person who is named as an Attorney-In-Fact under a Medical Power of Attorney is usually a spouse, another family member, or a close friend.

Estate Planning Attorneys - The Martin Law Firm, P.C.

Standard Estate Planning
Our standard estate planning services often include the following:

Customized Estate Planning
In certain instances, Trust planning can help our clients best achieve their objectives, especially for asset protection and minimizing taxes. This advanced estate planning may include:

Estate Planning For Children With Special Needs
We also provide highly customized services for children with special needs. Our firm can help you set up a special needs trust so that a child’s eligibility for government benefits can remain intact while at the same time the parent(s) can supplement those benefits.

Please call 215.687.4053 to schedule an appointment.

Practice Areas

Our legal team provides individualized legal solutions for our clients by offering high quality legal counsel and representation in diverse areas of law. Our attorneys regularly represent clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Philadelphia County

Healthcare Law

We provide transactional and litigation services for all types of licensed health care providers.
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Family Law

We provide personal and effective representation in divorce, child custody, property rights, support and maintenance matters.
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Estates Law

We help individuals and families with any of their estate planning, estate administration and estate litigation needs.
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Debt Collection

We handle debt collection cases in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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Criminal Law

We represent individuals who are charged with a misdemeanor, felony, DUI, or traffic offenses.
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