We Listen.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

By: David M. Frees, III November is National Family Caregivers Month. More Americans are now able to live independently and with dignity thanks in a large part to family members who act as caregivers. Looking after a family member can be challenging, so states and local agencies connect individuals …

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Have you recently filed a deed? Be aware of this latest scam!

A change in the titling of a deed could be beneficial or necessary in the course of updating your estate planning. For example, sometimes you deed a house into a revocable trust to avoid probate or an irrevocable trust to protect it from a nursing home. But, after the deed is filed, the information is …

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Family Business Owner?

A Few Questions for Planning For Family Business Succession Some family conversations are too important to put off ð       1. Do you have an estate plan including a will, power of attorney and a living will? ð       2. Do they specifically include powers to deal directly with real estate and closely held business investments? ð       …

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Selecting a Trustee- What Matters?

Who Do You Trust? Choosing a trustee requires an appropriate balance between kinship or friendship, expertise and technical knowledge. As a trust attorney one challenging aspect of my practice is the very personal decision by a client about choosing a trustee or trustees (and their substitutes) for his or her many types of trusts. There …

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Estate Planning- Is It A Family Affair?

At some point your surviving spouse or partner or even your children will assume responsibility for investing the family’s wealth. Your children’s portfolio may be in the form of a personal trust owned by the children, or due to illness or death the entirety of the family’s invested assets. Children should be prepared to take …

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Reasons Why Your Trust Should Contain a Residuary Clause

By creating a trust, you are stating your wishes as to how you would like your assets and possessions distributed. Many trusts have a series of specific gifts. However, you should be sure that your trust also contains a residuary clause to best protect the distribution of your assets. Please click here, for more …

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Current Pennsylvania Estate Cases- Promissory Note Forgiven

A recent Pennsylvania case involved an insolvent estate (this means that the assets of an estate are insufficient to pay its debts, taxes, and other miscellaneous expenses), there was a promissory note owed to the descendant by his son. The question arises, can a direction in the will to forgive this debt be valid since …

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Determine What Court Has Authority Over an Adult Guardianship?

Determining Jurisdiction for an Incapacitated Person? Figuring out how and where to file for guardianship for an incapacitated person can be very confusing. Therefore, many states have adopted the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act to try and solve the confusion. Click here, for more information about where and how to file for guardianship. For more …

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Where Is The Best Place To Store Your Will?

What Are The Smartest and Safest Places To Store A Will? There are many different locations that you can store your last will and testament. Please click here, for suggestions as to what are the smartest and safest locations for your will.  For more information regarding estate planning documents please contact Unruh, Turner, Burke …

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How to Gain Access of A Decedents Online Accounts Once They Have Died?

What Happens To Your Online Assets Once You Die?? Since, the trend of “going green” or being digitally social continues to spread, the issue of what happens to your online accounts is becoming more popular. Please click here, for more information regarding your online accounts and how to gain access of a decedent’s account. David …

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Accepting Executor’s Fee vs. Denying Executor’s Fees

Executors May Want to Rethink Accepting their Executor’s Fee Many executors will receive money for the administrative work they have carried out. However, it may be in the executors best interest to waive their fee for tax saving purposes. For more information as to to when and why executors may want to waive their fee click …

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Domestic Asset Protection Trust Explained by Malvern Trust Lawyer

What is a Malvern domestic asset protection trust? Knowing what a domestic asset protection trust is can be an important part of estate planning, especially for people with significant assets that they want to protect from creditors and protect from a potential future divorce.  Using a Malvern trust lawyer can ease …

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Changing Your Estate Plan With a Malvern Estate Attorney

Malvern Estate Attorney Discusses Implications of Moving on Estate Plan  Having an estate plan is very important to making sure your estate passes smoothly, and with minimal taxes, to your heirs upon your death. However, you may not devote much time thinking about the plan once it is created, considering it has already …

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Special Needs Trust: Why is it used? Contact An Attorney

What is a special needs trust? A special needs trust, also called a supplemental needs trust, is used to provide mentally or physically disabled beneficiaries with money without them losing their eligibility for public assistance (such as disability, Social Security, etc.). A special needs trust created by an  attorney helps provide …

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Tips for a Successful Mediation

By: David M. Frees III & Steve Lagoy Once you have been acquainted with the basics of mediation, you can help to facilitate a settlement by applying some simple principles to the negotiation process. Although the mediator’s job is to guide the discussion and help formulate unique resolutions based on each person’s …

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What is mediation of a Pennsylvania trust or estate dispute?

By: David M. Frees III & Steve Lagoy It’s no secret that the next few years will see a flurry of complex trust and estate disputes in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. As estates become larger and more complex, and as more and more people try to plan their own estates with do-it-yourself …

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Who uses mediation to solve a will dispute in Pennsylvania?

By: David M. Frees III & Steve Lagoy A benefit of mediation is that control of the resolution remains in the hands of the conflicting parties. Since mediators can only offer neutral suggestions based on the facts provided, and because those suggestions are non-binding, parties can opt whether or not to implement those …

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Creating Trusts for Children in a Will | Pennsylvania Trust Attorney

Question: Can I create trusts for my children under my will in Pennsylvania? Answer: Not all trusts are created equally, so although you can leave trusts for your children in your will (known as a testamentary trust), you should do so with extreme care and preferably with the assistance of a dedicated Pennsylvania trust attorney. …

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Co-Fiduciaries as Executors of Pennsylvania Estate or Guardianship

Co-Fiduciaries as the Executors of an Estate, Trust, or Guardianship in Pennsylvania In some instances, you may have difficulty selecting an executor of your estate or successor trustee for your trust or guardianship, or you may want to have a family member involved but still have the assurance of utilizing a bank or trust company. …

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Pennsylvania Trusts: Different Types for Spouses and Children

5 Different Types of Trusts for Pennsylvania Spouses and Children   There are a number of different trust law options you can pursue in Pennsylvania if you want to leave your children their inheritance with additional protections. A bypass or family trust (alternatively known as a “credit shelter” trust) enables you to leave a …

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Executor Responsibilities in Pennsylvania Probate | Estate Planning

Executor Responsibilities in Pennsylvania Probate In Pennsylvania probate, an executor is essentially responsible for: finalizing someone’s financial and legal affairs; protecting property and assets; ensuring that debts and taxes are paid; and transferring the remainder to those who are entitled to it.   Although it is not legally required that executors have a financial …

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Pennsylvania Probate and Executor Responsibilities | Estate Planning

Executor Responsibilities in Pennsylvania Probate After the owner of an estate dies, an executor is appointed or selected to manage certain responsibilities of the estate, and such executor responsibilities can include: setting up an estate bank account that will hold money owed to the Testator, such as paychecks or stock dividends; utilizing estate funds to …

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2011 Gift Tax Returns Are Due Now!

2011 Gift Tax Returns Or Extensions Are Due Now By:  David M Frees III, JD Chairman – Trust Estates and Wealth Preservation Failure to file a gift tax return can subject a tax payer or their family to serious problems both during lifetime and at death (when the IRS often detects the failure to file). …

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How Mediation Can Save Family Wealth and Family Relationships in Pa.

By: David M. Frees III, JD Estate and Trust Dispute Mediation Estate disputes occur when the heirs of a decedent cannot agree on the division of property or assets of the decedent’s estate, either because no will was left, because the will did not incorporate or cover all assets or property being disputed, or because …

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A Failed Family Limited Partnership

Family Limited Partnerships A family limited partnership can clearly be a great estate and business-planning tool but if it is drafted or implemented incorrectly it could cost you money and headaches.  Family Limited Partnerships allow families to own and operate a business or series of investments as part of an executor estate plan …

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Your Worst Nightmare…… A Bad Executor

Picking an executor is a critical part of any sophisticated or even simple and effective estate plan. Having the wrong executor or someone that does not fully understand your wishes can wreak havoc on your estate’s administration and more importantly on the execution of your wishes. In fact, other than the decision to create and …

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Is It A “Probate Asset” Or Not?

The Answer May Not Always Be What You Expect Simply “Probate” means at death an estate (the deceased person’s property) is administered and supervised by the court, often called probate court. The court will make sure the Last Will is administered correctly and if there is no will state law is followed by a court …

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Estate Administration 101

For Executors and Maybe Trustees Losing a loved one is hard. But if you’re an executor or trustee hopefully this step-by-step guide to Estate Administration will ease the burden of knowing the business of what to do when a close family member or friend dies. Whether or not your loved one has a will or …

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Is Your Will Out of Date? Want Peace of Mind?

In just 20 Minutes You Can Have A Free Will Review and Make Sure That Your Old Will, Trust, and Power of Attorney Aren’t Out of Date or Invalid Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees Offers Free Will Reviews This Fall Have you been wondering if that old will, trust, or …

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Which Side Are You On? Is Marcellus Shale Drilling Good For You?

There have been a series of New York Times stories on Marcellus Shale and “fracking” and how gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania has polluted rivers or ground water. But, many Pennsylvania regulators like Commissioner John Hanger of the Department of Environmental Protection does not think “fracking” is so bad. A testing done …

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Mediating Family Estate and Inheritance Disputes

What happens if you and your brother or sister inherit property together? Do you work well with your brother or sister? Find out how to mediate costly will and inheritance disputes by reading our article Mediation of Will and Inheritance Disputes. Mediation is a great tool to resolve estate or real estate matters involving …

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Mediation of Will and Inheritance Disputes

How Well Do You Work With Your Brother Or Sister?   Are you inheriting a home or Pennsylvania real estate with your brother or sister? Whether you answered yes or no imagine you and your brother inherit a parcel of land in Pennsylvania. Your brother thinks the parcel is worth more than the local …

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The Solution to Losing Your Keys Is

The Lost Keys Program at Unruh, Turner, Burke, and Frees is a simple solution to the inevitable problem of losing your keys. Visit or call us today to find out about this special program we have for our clients and our clients families. * To find out about this free program for …

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Can Trust Lawyers Be Trusted?

Have you ever left a meeting with a lawyer more puzzled than when you arrived? Well, one reason is that many lawyers including “trust” and “probate” lawyers use language they are familiar with and use on a daily basis but forget that most of us do not know that language or, for that …

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Revoke Your Prior Will

Reasons to Update and Clauses You Probably Need but Might Not Have Any good will should have a revocation clause. A will should not be thought of as set in stone. Times and circumstances change. You should review and change your will on a regular basis in order to keep it current. You may not …

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U.S. Rep Ross Wants To Kill The Estate Tax

Ross along with a small pro- agriculture group of legislatures wants to eliminate the federal estate tax. In the past year there has been a surge of enthusiasm for the repeal of the federal estate tax as congress tried to figure out what do for 2011 and 2012. This past  December  congress approved legislation that …

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Do You Have a Trust and Is It the Right Trust?

If you answered no you need to read our trust guide How to Find the Right Trust for You to see what you are missing. There are trusts that help you and your estate save money in taxes. There are trusts that help you care for a loved one with special …

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Why Do People Hate Most Trust Lawyers?

  Lawyers, like doctors and other professionals, habitually use language that is practically impossible for many of us to understand. They use language familiar to them but sometimes forget that it may be unfamiliar to you if you do not work in their field of trust and estate law. So how are you supposed to …

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What Type Of Trust Is Right For You?

Have you heard other people talk about trusts or have you thought about incorporating a trust into your estate plan or asset protection planning but are not sure where to start. We have written this trust guide, How To Find the Right Trust For You, which  explains  many of the most …

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Marcellus Shale – Neutral and Reliable Sources of Information

Has Marcellus shale changed the issues faced by your family? Do you want or need better sources of neutral information on the issues you now face? Families with mountain property, vacation homes, and hunting camps located in regions rich in marcellus shale gas deposits are now faced many difficult decisions ranging from: * How will …

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What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is a way to provide your disabled loved one without the assets affecting their government eligibility into programs like Medicaid and Social Security Disability. Find out if a Special Needs Trust is right for you. Read the entire Report on Pennsylvania Special Needs Trusts/ Supplemental Needs Trust here.

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Lawyer Trust Language Decoded

Many professions have their own technical language.  For an example, think about the last time you or a family member was hospitalized. Did anyone use expressions, drug names, or therapies that simply had no meaning to you? Were you ever confused? Do you remember the words the doctor or nurses used that left your brow …

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Can I Create My Own Special Needs Trust or Supplemental Needs Trust So I am Not Disqualified?

Yes. If you are disabled and receive benefits and a personal injury award and or inheritance and you do not want to be disqualified from government benefits a “self-settled” trust can help. A  “self –settled” trust is frequently created by individuals who have become disabled as a result of an accident or medical malpractice and later receive a personal …

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Income Taxes, Agents, and Preparers Oh My!

Are you thinking about having your return done for you? A Brief Income Tax Checklist for those hiring or changing their tax preparer For many clients, the thought of doing your own income tax return is tantamount to doing your own tooth extraction. You probably could, but who wants to. And, the likelihood of making …

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How Important is a Trustee in a Special Needs Trust?

The trustee of any trust is an important position. In special needs trusts the trustee has sole discretion to decide what the beneficiary, your disabled loved one, needs and what can be distributed under state laws or federal regulations without disqualifying the beneficiary. They may spend quite a bit of time at the job in order …

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Who Will Take Care of Your Disabled Child When You are Gone?

Special Needs and Supplemental Needs Trusts Are The Vital Tool To Protect Our Loved Ones When We No Longer Can A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust is a way to provide for your disabled child or disabled loved ones quality of life. The great thing about this type of trust is your child …

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Avoiding Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Ten of Ten

How To Avoid The Most common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To Do The Job Of Trustee by: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III This is the last in our series of brief articles about the most common  mistakes trustees make and how to avoid them. It is important to understand the language of …

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Avoiding Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Nine

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To Understand The Role Of Multiple Trustees by: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III One very big mistake trustees make is failing to understand their role as a trustee among trustees. It is important to understand what a trustee is and what duties …

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Avoiding Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Eight

    How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To File Tax Returns Or To Seek Professional Assistance by: Pennylvania Attorney David M. Frees III Too many trustees have been sued for failing to properly administer or invest trust assets under Pennsylvania law. Pennsylvania has recently become more highly regulated from …

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Avoiding Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Seven

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing to Properly Reform, Amend, or Terminate by: David M. Frees III As a trustee do you need to have all the beneficiaries consent to amend the trust? How does the trust I am managing terminate? Many Pennsylvania trustees fail to reform, amend, …

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Can Estate Planning or Will Make Your Spouse Happy?

Many spouses express fear and grave concerns that they would not know what to do if a spouse or loved one dies.  They are terrified when you don’t have a will, trust, or estate plan and a list of people and instructions to guide them. And, if you are the primary bread winner and/or have …

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Want Estate Planning That Works Under The New Federal Estate Tax? It’s Time Upgrade To First Class or Business Class Estate Planning(TM)

Are you are a business owner or professional, a real estate investor or entrepreneur who has been putting off your estate planning because it’s too time consuming, costly, or complicated? Have you been promising a spouse, children or other loved ones that you’re going to “get around to” this but just never do? Has it …

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The Federal Estate Tax and Pennsylvania Residents

Congress Acts On Federal Estate Taxes The New Estate Tax Law: Problems, Solutions and What You Need To Know Last night, the House of Representatives passed a bill extending the Bush era tax cuts which were about to expire, and, re-enacting a federal estate tax. And, while the new law looks favorable on it’s face, …

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Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes And How To Avoid Them Part Six

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To Communicate Properly by: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III You have heard that communication is vital in marriage and communication is important with your children but communication is also critical in trust administration. As a trustee to avoid unnecesary hostility from family and beneficiaries …

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Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes And How To Avoid Them Part Five

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To Follow The Principle And Income Act by: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III As a Pennsylvania trustee what investment strategy should you follow? Is a “unitrust” right for you? A mistake that many Pennsylvania trustees make is not understanding the rules governing trusts …

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Avoiding Common Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Four

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To Follow The Uniform Trust Act by: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III The Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act has mandatory  requirements for the trusts creation, termination, modification among others. It is important to follow all of the rules and regulations as a trustee so you …

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Avoiding Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Three

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Failing To Follow The Prudent Investor Rule by: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III Are you a trustee of a Pennsylvania trust? Do you want to avoid personal liability and lawsuits? If you answered yes to either of these questions you will want to read the …

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Avoiding Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes Part Two

How To Avoid The Most Common Mistakes Trustees Make Making Trust Distributions Too Soon by:  Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III Throughout history, trustees have been sued for failing to properly administer or to invest trust assets under Pennsylvania law. And, to make matters worse, (or  much better depending on your perspective) Pennsylvania has  …

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Pennsylvania Trustee Mistakes And How To Avoid Them Part One

If you are a trustee of a Pennsylvania trust and you want to avoid personal liability and lawsuits by the beneficiaries, then you’ll want to read David Frees’ latest post on avoiding trustee mistakes and liability. It will take less than three minutes and might save you emotional pain and lost time, money, and energy. This …

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Estate Planning Sounds Hard But Our Clients Love How “Easy” It Is

Wills and Estate Planning Sound Hard But The Process Can Be Easy – Well Maybe Easy Isn’t Quite Accurate But It’s Easier Than You Think And You Feel Better When It’s Done Than You Can Imagine Many young couples with families, older couples who’s children are grown, and even seniors with grandchildren, avoid doing …

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What’s a $100,000 Charitable Trust Worth in 91 Years?

If you’re interested in using a charitable trust and want to know what happens as the money grows, or what happens when the charitable purpose of your trust no longer exists, the read this quick article about Charitable trusts. And, for more information about trusts, living trusts, charitable trusts, insurance trusts, and family trusts, …

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When Do My Children Need To Do a Will? The Answer Might Shock You

If you have children between the ages of 18 and thirty, chances are that they don't have a will. And, there are many reasons why that might be a bad idea. For example, many of our adult children have children of their own but have not done a will to name a guardian, executor and trustee to care for those children, or their finances

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When Plea Bargaining Doesn’t Get The Job Done — Murder Mediation 

By: Stephen P. Lagoy A judge in Bonner County, Idaho has appointed a mediator to attempt to resolve a first-degree murder case.  Unbelievable?  The judge’s action was in response to a joint motion made by the County Prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney.  The mediator will be paid with public funds.  The case involves …

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Why is Mediation Helpful to Businesses?

Watch attorney Steve Lagoy, a professionally trained mediator, as he explains some of the benefits to business of the mediation process. Why is mediation helpful? Mediation is both cost efficient and a time saver for all the parties involved in a dispute. With both parties setting the terms of the mediation as opposed …

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What Makes a Good Mediator?

Watch Attorney Stephen Lagoy as he explains the qualities of a good mediator. What are the qualities of a good mediator? A good mediator listens intently, understands human nature, and withholds evaluative judgment. A good mediator lets the mediation process unfold. A good mediator is patient. For more information on how mediation can …

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Baseball, Bankruptcy and Mediation: the Texas Rangers

By: Stephen P. Lagoy The Texas Rangers own the longest winning streak in the major leagues this year (eleven) and currently have a healthy lead in the American League’s West Division.  Success on the field has not translated to financial bliss, however.  The Rangers’ present ownership filed for Bankruptcy in May to complete a …

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What is Mediation?

Watch this video, the second in a series, in which Steve Lagoy explains what mediation is and why you or your clients should consider using this facilitated negotiation process to resolve your legal conflict. Attorney Stephen P. Lagoy is a partner in Unruh Turner Burke & Frees with offices located in West …

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Why Use Mediation to Settle a Legal Dispute?

Watch Steve Lagoy in this short video as he explains why you and your clients should use mediation to settle a legal dispute. Individuals and corporations should consider using mediation as a way to resolve disputes outside of the courts.   In this short video, Attorney Stephen P. Lagoy describes what mediation is and …

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The Looming Federal Estate Tax – What’s Your View?

David M Frees Esq on Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, The Federal Estate Tax and What Worries You? For the next few months, there is no federal estate tax. Many states ( including Pennsylvania) still have an inheritance tax, and the federal gift tax laws remain in effect. But soon, estates of more than 1 million dollars …

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Mediating Family Business and Estate Disputes

By: Stephen P. Lagoy One of the advantages of a mediated resolution over a litigated verdict is that the former is more likely to mitigate tensions while building understanding and trust.  For parties who desire to preserve a future relationship with their adversary, mediation provides the basis for resolving future disputes and supports an ongoing …

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Delaware Clergy Abuse Cases To Be Sumitted to Mediation

By: Stephen P. Lagoy Facing 131 lawsuits filed by alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware filed for bankruptcy in October 2009.  In a breaking development that signals a desire by both sides to resolve the disputes quickly, the Diocese and abuse victims are reported to have agreed to …

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Four Reasons to Consider Mediation

By: Donald C. Turner When, during the course of litigation, the possibility of mediation arises, clients frequently ask why they should spend the time and money to hire an independent third party to assist them in seeking to resolve a dispute. This is a good question and there are a variety of possible answers, …

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Mediation Helps Solve Iraqi Tribal Disputes

By: Stephen P. Lagoy In the wake of the big War in Iraq, the country has become “the land of a hundred little wars.” American-trained mediators have come to play pivotal roles in resolving these local conflicts without bloodshed. Read the full story here: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/wellesley For more information, please contact

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Federal Court Looks to Mediators to Resolve Air Crash Lawsuits

By: Stephen P. Lagoy Not surprisingly, the crash of Continental Flight 3407 on its approach to Buffalo, N.Y. on February 12, 2009 has spawned lawsuits by the families of the 45 passengers, four crew members, one off-duty crew member, and one person on the ground, who died in the crash. The lawsuits have been …

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Consider Mediation to Resolve Elder Disputes

By: Stephen P. Lagoy Mediation has become an increasingly common approach in resolving elder disputes, including such issues as inheritances and care-giving. Advantages of mediation over litigation in the elder context include controlling costs, maintaining the confidentiality of private family disputes, and maintaining family relationships. It is important that the mediator selected be be …

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Our Estate Tax Issues May Not Matter According To Russia

By David Frees Law Office: Phoenixville, Malvern and West Chester You think retroactive taxation for estate tax purposes is a problem? Well, according to Russia, we have bigger problems…. click here to read more about estate planning and the pending fall of the United States governmentt. If you need more information about planning …

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Estate Planning For Families With Young Chidren – Attorney David Frees Presents At This Years PBI Estate Law Institue

Estate Planning For Pennsylvania Families With Young Children By: Pennsylvania Attorney David M. Frees III On Friday, December 12th 2009 Chester County Attorney David M Frees was a faculty memeber at the Philadelphia Convention Center to present his well attended program: Estate Planning For Families With Young Children. Frees, who spoke for the …

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Estate Planning For The End of The Year

By: David M. Frees III, Esquire Will, Trust and Estate Planning for the End of The Year. Want to make sure that you avoid the most common estate planning mistakes at the end of the year and that you are reviewing and doing what you need to complete to make sure that your new year …

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When Probating A Will Makes Sense – The Five Reasons

Everyone wants to avoid probate. The probate system is viewed as slow, expensive, and too public. But sometimes, if you’re an executor, you really want and need the probate system and the orphan’s Court judge. The truth is, that most of the estates where the executor hires us to do the administration, and to keep …

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Why is My Will Lawyer on PBS Television?

Pennsylvania attorney David M. Frees III on family communications and family businesses as well as his books The Language of Parenting: Building Great Family Relationships At All Ages and his Essay on Business in Einstein's Business.

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Want Resources For Financial Planning Data?

Many of our clients know that having an integrated financial and estate plan makes the difference when you want to both build assets for yourself and to protect assets for your heirs. And, many of our clients have financial advisers while others are self directing their investments. Either way, ultimately , you are responsible for …

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Mistakes Executors Make and How To Avoid Them

Click here to get your free copy of this valuable executor resource for Pennsylvania executors. If you are an executor, or, if you are trying to decide who to appoint as an Executor, make sure to order and read this important report for executors by David M. Frees III. This report examines the most …

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Is Your Pennsylvania IRA Still Protected From Lawsuits?

A recent case has opened a new door for someone suing you to try to reach or to attack your IRA. And, while IRAs usually have a heightened level of asset protection, my new article on this topic has a few suggestion – especially if you have a self directed IRA. Please click here to …

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The Will TO DO List For Parents

If you have children (old or young) you may have been thinking about doing a will or updating an old will to include new children, to appoint a guardian, and to do a trust to protect them from getting control over the inheritance too soon. In fact, new parents often report that they secretly worry …

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Avoiding Will Contests – How To Prepare For The Worst

Have you thought about disinheriting a child or grandchild? Do you intent to “write” an heir out of your will who might expect an inheritance? Are you leaving one child more than another child? Do you children have radically different needs and you are considering an unequal distribution or gift to your children? If you …

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Protect Assets Using Family Care Agreements

Family Care Agreements, also referred to as Caregiver Agreements, have increased in popularity as a result of the more stringent Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) Medicaid gifting rules. These agreements are usually established between an elderly individual who is agreeing to “pay” and the individual or individuals who is/are agreeing to provide continued care and assistance …

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Family Limited Partnerships – Victory and Some Pointers

In a recent case, the tax payer had a victory over an IRS challenge that sought to include the full value of FLP (family limited partnerships) assets into the decedent’s estate. Family limited partnerships are often used to manage family businesses, real estate ventures, and even in some cases, publicly traded securities and other more …

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Reminder: Medicaid Asset Protection is Alive after the DRA

There is a great deal of misinformation about the viability of Medicaid and Nursing Home asset protection planning after the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). I want to remind clients, friends and advisors that there are an abundance of planning options available to single and married individuals who want to protect assets from spending …

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What Controls? The Will or The Beneficiary Designation?

Are you a Pennsylvania resident? Do you know whether or not your will controls or the beneficiary designation for your life insurance, annuities, and other non probate assets controls who gets those assets? I recently ran across this great little article on the important question of which controls – The will or the named …

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Your Government Doesn’t Like Off Shore Accounts. Should You?

Off shore accounts have been getting a pretty bad rap in the news media with the leaders of both America and Great Britain making multiple appearances to clearly establish that tax havens are just for the big corporations and illegal players seeking to evade taxes and engage in unlawful activities. The attached article examines the …

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Want to know more about Pennsylvania and Asset Protection?

Asset protection is a practice of using certain strategies and tactics, to legally and ethically protect your assets from various risks such as litigation, taxation, divorce and other claims. It differs from ordinary estate planning but many professionals, real estate owners, and business owners now seek added levels of protection in Pennsylvania that go beyond …

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Joint Accounts Can Have Unexpected Pitfalls

Joint bank accounts are often established by individuals with the hope of creating an account with one or more of the following benefits: probate avoidance, reduced inheritance taxes or as a convenient way to allow family member to write checks and pay bills. Unfortunately there are numerous Medicaid/Elder Law Planning, estate planning and asset protection …

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New Alert ON RMDs From IRAs

If you are 70 1/2 or older there are new rules on required minimum distributions from your IRA. Just click the highlighted line to read more. David M. Frees III Pennsylvania Lawyer Avvo Rated 9.4 Superb. Visit our convenient offices serving Chester County, Montgomery County, as well as Lancaster County, Berks …

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The Death Tax Update

Both the Senate and the US House of Representatives are now working on bills that would reform the federal estate tax (also known as the death tax) before the end of this year. Both bills contain a $3.5 million dollar exemption per person. This would allow an individual Pennsylvania resident to shelter $3.5 million dollars …

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The Top Mistakes of PA Executors and How To Avoid Them

I recently completed a great new report entitled “The Top Ten Mistakes Executors Make and How To Avoid Them.” This report is great for people who are or will be serving as executors of Pennsylvania estates for the obvious reason that it will help you to avoid personal liability. And, the report is also …

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What Are Executor Fees In Pennsylvania?

In many states, the fees that executors can charge are set by statute. In Pennsylvania, executor fees must be reasonable. They are always subject to court review. In general, many executors charge fees ranging from 1% to 5% of the estates value. The Supreme Court has ruled that a three percent fee is, on the …

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Update Your Tax Software For Protection and Tax Savings

Just a quick reminder that there were many changes in the tax laws for tax year 2008. And, to make sure that take advantage of any beneficial changes you should update the program and download any recent updates before preparing your return. For more, just click here to visit the Wall Street Journals article. …

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Do Proposed Benefits of Death Tax Reform Really Hide Dangers?

Many articles, websites, blogs and government talking heads have been out in force to reassure tax payers and particularly the owners of family farms and small businesses, that the reforms proposed by the Obama Administration to the death tax will be highly beneficial and pose no dangers to these groups. But see David Frees’recent …

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Possible Secret “Back Door” Death Tax Increase

There is currently a bill before the House Ways and Means Committee that would radically increase the federal estate (also known as the “Death Tax”). Are you trying to pass on assets, investments, family land or farms, or a family business? If you are, then things might be about to get a lot rougher. …

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Taxes and Estate Planning – What Tax Systems Really Matter?

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, there are many different taxes and tax systems that have to be considered in creating any truly effective plan. In addition to the federal estate taxes, you should also consider the effect of gift taxes, state and federal income taxes, the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, and in many cases, the …

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What is probate?

Probate is the court oversight of the estate administration process after a person passes away. Only certain assets are considered probate in nature. Probate assets typically are those owned by the decedent in the decedent’s individual name without a beneficiary designated. The Executor, where there is a will, or Administrator, where there is no will, …

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The Stimulus Package – Want To Know What It Really Says?

Many of our clients have expressed an interest in the Federal Stimulus Package. Now that it has become law, we have a link for you to visit and read the text (over 1,000 pages of it). You can also leave feedback and comment. Beware, that this stuff can put you to sleep so we strongly …

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Protecting Children and Granchildren Form Divorce and Lawsuits

Concerned that a child or grandchild might lose an inheritance to divorce or a lawsuit? There are techniques that can be used to protect lifetime trusts and transfers and transfers under your will. Often referred to as Beneficiary Controlled Trusts, or testamentary asset protection trusts, these vehicles can give an heir control over assets …

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More On The Federal Estate Tax – Straight from the IRS

At Unruh Turner Burke and Frees, the Trust Estates and Wealth Preservation section has developed a number of valuable resources for our clients to both understand and to manage their federal estate tax liability. We represent many affluent and moderately affluent clients and families who want to minimize or eliminate this tax, reduce inheritance taxes, …

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Obama To Keep The Estate Tax and Action Is Expected Soon

If you are interested in the status of the federal estate tax and how it may affect your planning as a resident of Pennsylvania please read more of the brief article that I posted this morning summarizing the Wall Street Journal’s analysis of the President and Congressional views on the need to move quickly on …

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Welcome to The Wealth Preservation Trust and Estates Section Blog

Are you – Worried about your children and grandchildren getting sued or divorced and losing their assets or an inheritance? Concerned that your estate plan no longer reflects your current thinking or the current laws? Wondering how to best protect your assets and your lifestyle for yourself and your heirs? An Executor or administrator, or …

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