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Avoiding Wills Disputes? What Your Estate Planning Attorney Needs

Why Revealing Personal Information to your Estate Planning Attorney Is Essential To Successful Planning By: David M. Frees III, JD Ever wonder how much or what information has to be revealed to your estate planning attorney to make sure they do the job right? The more information you expose regarding relationships as well as other …

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Pennsylvania Revocable Living Trust Attorney | Trust Distribution

Question: When would I use revocable living trust in Pennsylvania? Answer: A revocable living trust can be used by you to distribute your Pennsylvania assets and properties in 3 different ways. While you are still living – this option allows you to see and enjoy giving your designated beneficiaries your outlined benefits over a period of …

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Choosing A Charitable Remainder Trust | Pennsylvania Charitable Trust

Question: When would I use a charitable remainder trust in Pennsylvania? Answer: Learning if a charitable remainder trust is truly right for you is best left to the advice of a Pennsylvania charitable trust attorney. But generally, a charitable remainder trust is recommended for individuals whose properties and assets being distributed fall under 1 or …

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Revocable Living Trust Attorney | Pennsylvania Estate Administration

Question: What is Pennsylvania revocable living trust? Answer: A revocable living trust is a document to outline how someone’s properties and assets are to be distributed. It may be best to enlist the help of an experienced revocable living trust attorney who can guide you through the process in Pennsylvania and handle all the tedious paperwork …

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Non-Probate Property | Pennsylvania Will Attorney | Estate Planning

Question: Why do I need to coordinate non-probate property with my will in Pennsylvania? Answer: You must coordinate your non-probate property with your will in order to avoid expensive estate taxes and align the distribution of both probate and non-probate property. Failure to properly coordinate your non-probate property can jeopardize your estate; however, a Pennsylvania …

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GRATs Used To Perfection By Facebook Creators

It is being reported that in 2008 Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz transferred a significant portion of their Facebook stock into a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT). Facebook had not yet “gone public” and therefore the value of the stock was far below what it would be following the initial public offering (IPO). The Facebook …

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$5 Million Gift Tax Exemption Makes Gifting of Small Business Easier

Many families have developed significant wealth in closely held small businesses. Historically, it has been difficult to transfer these small businesses because of the relatively low gift tax exemption available to the person or persons making the gift. For 2011 and 2012 the unified gift and death tax exemption is $5 million per person. Therefore, …

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Veteran’s Benefits Can Help With Assisted Living Costs

Many clients prefer to remain in an assisted living setting rather than make the move to a nursing home. The Veteran’s Administration Aid and Attendance Benefit can help extend your or your family member’s stay in an assisted living facility and delay the transition to a nursing home. Assisted living facilities cannot receive Medicaid payments …

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Getting an inheritance tax waiver on investment account

During an estate administration process there are probate and non-probate assets. Non-probate assets typically transfer with ease to the surviving joint owner or named beneficiary. Now there may be an unexpected additional requirement that can slow the transfer process. Investment accounts such as stock, bond or mutual fund accounts owned through an adviser or investment …

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Roll Back Taxes and Natural Gas Leases

As previously discussed, we have many clients who have found themselves in the midst of the Oil and Natural Gas craze that has swept through Pennsylvania (PA). As I have come across nuances in the leasing process and potential pitfalls I have tried to apprise you of them. Recently, we had a client who …

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Protect your Mineral Rights: Oil and Gas Leases

I work with many clients to assist them with the estate planning and elder law issues relating to the mineral rights they own in certain real property throughout Pennsylvania and other states. The focus on the mineral rights ownership interest has increased exponentially as the Pennsylvania (PA) Marcellus Shale discoveries have broadened. Many people …

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Take Advantage of Generation Skipping Tax Repeal For 2010

We have had a lot of discussion here and with clients about the future of the federal estate tax. We have not talked as much about the generation-skipping tax (GST) which was also repealed for 2010. This presents an opportunity for grandparents and great grandparents to pass wealth to future generations that was not previously …

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Inherited IRA: What You Need to Know

The Inherited IRA can provide powerful tax deferral benefits for named beneficiaries. In order to optimize the tax deferral options, the original owner must properly structure beneficiary designations in accordance with I.R.S. rules and regulations. The I.R.S. has laid a mine field of beneficiary designation traps that can either serve to reduce or eliminate the …

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GRAT Planning For Federal Estate Tax Savings Under Scrutiny

The Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) has been an excellent and widely used federal estate tax savings tool.  However, President Obama took aim at the GRAT in his 2011 budget proposals.  Additionally, the House has included provisions targeting short-term and rolling GRAT planning tools in legislation that has passed at that level.  Although that particular House …

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Federal Estate Tax Law Not To Be Addressed Until Fall or After

No Federal Estate Tax Answers forthcoming this Summer. By: Douglas L. Kaune, Esq. Congress is entering its August recess and there has been no progress made on the topic of Estate Tax Reform. Analysts are clearly thinking that the Estate Tax issue will not be addressed until the Fall or later. Interestingly, everyone, including members …

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Steinbrenner’s Death In 2010 Saves Heirs $500 Million!!

Some people are very skilled at making money and protecting what they make from taxes during their lifetimes. Now, some wealthy individuals can even manage to make/save money just based on their dates of death. George Steinbrenner, an amazing businessman and majority owner of the New York Yankees, is the most iconic symbol of this …

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Special Needs Trusts: Using a Trust Protector

We prepare special needs trusts for beneficiaries to help insure the recipient of inherited or gifted assets can continue to qualify for government or private benefits. Clients who are creating these trusts often struggle to decide who they should appoint as trustee of the trust. We want to make sure that we select the correct person …

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Estate Planning for Same Sex Partners: PA Inheritance Tax

It is very important that same sex couples review the estate planning and estate/inheritance tax issues they are confronting.  In Pennsylvania alone there will be a hefty tax consideration.  The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax rate on transfers to a surviving same sex partner at the death of the first partner will be 15%.  For transfers of jointly …

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How Much Does Long Term Care Insurance Cost?

So many clients are interested in purchasing long term care insurance (LTCI), but are scared to pursue the coverage because of the perceived prohibitive cost. There are so many different types of policies and levels of coverage that there may be a policy to fit your budget. That being said, you should become an educated …

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Updating Your Will and Estate Plan Upon Divorce

Your estate planning documents such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney require periodic review and updating.  Changes in your life circumstances such as a divorce necessitate modification of your estate planning documents.  Regardless of whether or not you created a will or other planning documents during your marrieage, you should have these documents prepared after a …

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Elder Law & Medicaid: Protecting the Family Home

The Family Caregiver Exception is one opportunity available to protect the family home from nursing home spending. Generally, there is a 5 year ineligibility for Medicaid qualification that results from a transfer of the family residence to a child. However, there is no penalty for a transfer of a primary residence if a son or …

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Inherited Roth IRA Distribution Rules

As a result of the more lenient Roth conversion rules, we have been reviewing the federal estate tax, income tax and distribution issues relating to Roth IRA conversions with clients. I thought this article provided a nice synopsis of the distribution rules facing beneficiaries of a Roth IRA. Here is another article with some …

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Elder Law: Medicaid Asset Protection Trust Series

Elder Law: Medicaid Asset Protection Trust Series.  Many of our clients want to guard against losing large portions of or even their entire estate to the costs of long term nursing care.  They recognize that the ever rising cost of nursing care coupled with increased life expectancies could result in significant expenditure of estate assets.  Clients …

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Limited Step-Up In Capital Gains Tax Basis In 2010

Although there there will likely be no federal estate tax in 2010, the beneficial “step-up” in capital gains tax basis on property owned by a decedent at death, is now limited to $1.3 million. The limited “step-up” may be allocated among the decedent’s assets by the Executor or Administrator unless otherwise directed in a decedent’s …

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Key Medicaid Figures For PA In 2010

It is important to keep up with the annual change Pennsylvania (PA) Medicaid Numbers. These key Medicaid figures help us to properly prepare Medicaid applications and to provide proper Elder Law advice to clients. Click this link to review the updated Medicaid numbers. They include, Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA), Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, …

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Medicaid Answers at the PA Medicaid Policy Center

We have many clients searching for information about Medicaid, Medical Assistance and payment for Nursing Home Care. The rising cost of Long Term Nursing Care and longer life expectancies have spurred the desire to protect assets and learn more about the PA Medicaid System. I found the following site for the Pennsylvania Medicaid Policy …

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Difficult IRA Beneficiary Designations-Naming A Trust

Although you are permitted to name anyone or anything as the beneficiary of an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), there are many pitfalls that must be avoided. Naming a Trust as the beneficiary of an IRA is an important estate planning opportunity, but the Trust and the beneficiary designation language must be drafted properly to insure …

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Douglas Kaune, Esquire Attends 11th Annual PA Elder Law and Estate Planning Symposium

Douglas Kaune, Esquire Attends 11th Annual Pennsylvania (PA) Elder Law and Estate Planning Symposium.  It is great to get an update regarding the law changes, new cases and politics that shape Elder Law, Estate Planning, Trust Planning and Probate.  Here is a link to this Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) course and the interesting topics covered.  I will …

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Medicaid Exception: A Trust Used By Parents With A Disabled Child

There is an important exception to the typical Medicaid transfer rules (Deficit Reduction Act (“DRA”), 42 U.S.C. 1396p) which allows parents to transfer assets to trust for a disabled child and still qualify for Medicaid immediately. Read here to learn more about this exception and the Medicaid rules generally. This is an often …

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Save Your Personal Injury Award With OBRA Special Needs Trusts In PA

Save Your Personal Injury Award With OBRA (42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)) Special Needs Trusts in Pennsylvania (PA) and elsewhere. Many individuals injured in an accident, through negligence or medical malpractice find themselves disabled to varying degrees. Among the things they can no longer do is maintain a job. Therefore these individuals receive public benefits …

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Remember To Review The Tax Allocation Clause In Your Will or Trust

Remember to Review The Tax Allocation Clause In Your Will or Trust. by Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire. Most people do not realize that they can choose which beneficiaries will be responsible for paying the PA inheritance tax and federal estate tax on their taxable estate. Many wills are written automatically and sometimes incorrectly to say …

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Executor and Attorney Fees For Probate In PA

Executor and Attorney Fees and commissions For Estate Administrations and Probate in Pennsylvania (PA).  This is often a mysterious topic for many who find themselves involved in an estate administration as executor or beneficiary in PA.   There is not a perfect answer as to what the executor , attorney and probate fees will be in each case, …

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In PA Changing a Will After Death and Probate: Qualified Disclaimers

Beneficiaries can use a qualified disclaimer to change distribution under a last will and testament after date of death and after probate in Pennsylvania (PA) and other states. A beneficiary can actually refuse all or a portion of his or her share of a decedent’s probate or non probate assets.  Click here for the technical requirements …

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Early Intervention for Special Needs Beneficiaries (Autism)

Special Needs Trusts and Supplemental Needs Trusts: Autism, an Early Intervention by Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire Pennsylvania Attorney Wills * Trusts * Probate * Elder Law * Estates * Estate Planning * Asset Protection Planning Malvern, Phoenixville, and West Chester Law Offices Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia, Berks and Bucks County We work frequently with clients …

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Know Your Nursing Home Rights: Avoiding Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Long Term Care Rights: Avoiding Abuse by Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire Pennsylvania Attorney It is difficult to see a loved one enter a nursing home or elder care facility. It is heart wrenching to see them abused, neglected or their rights infringed upon once they enter the nursing home or elder care facility. …

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Roth Conversion in 2010? It is Almost Time to Decide.

by Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire Pennsylvania Attorney Roth IRA’s can have significant income tax benefits for you and for generations to come. However, many wealthy individuals have been unable to take advantage of the Roth IRA because of low income ceilings set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, in January 2010, the IRS …

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Initiating Probate In Pennsylvania (PA)

Who Will Initiate Probate: Probate is the court adjudicated process that an Executor or Administrator follows in the estate of someone who dies in Pennsylvania (PA). The Executor is a person or trust company named in a will. The Administrator is a person or trust company appointed by the Court where no will exists, …

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Strengthening Your Special Needs Trust

by Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire A special needs trust (SNT) (or special needs trust provision in a Will or in another trust) is an important planning option if you are considering a significant gift to a beneficiary who is considered “disabled” or “incapacitated” and either has or is likely to qualify for government benefits such as social security …

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Divorce and Asset Protection For Beneficiaries Cont.

We continue to receive inquiries from clients in search of ways to protect the assets they leave to their children and beneficiaries from divorce, law suits and creditors. Although clients protection from tax liability is of continued importance, asset protection in estate planning has grown in significance. Clients recognize that 50% or more of the …

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Nursing Care Abuse Claims

It can be a very emotional and difficult time when a family member enters a nursing home. We want the best for our loved ones and expect that they will receive exceptional care. Unfortunately, there are occasions when residents are victims of nursing home abuse, elder care abuse or nursing home neglect. It is important …

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Create Trusts For Children In Your Wills

I have had a recent addition to the family, my son, James Douglas Kaune.  Welcome to our lives James!! Taking my own advice, my wife and I immediately updated our estate planning documents including wills, powers of attorney and trusts.  We also modified our beneficiary designation forms in IRA’s, 401k’s and life insurance to name the testamentary trust for …

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Amend Your Estate Planning After Divorce

If you are going through or have recently completed a divorce proceeding, you should reassess your will, trusts, beneficiary designations, power of attorney, life insurance, medical power of attorney and living will. It is likely that all of these documents will need to be changed to insure that the proper beneficiaries, executors, trustees and guardians …

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Key Medicaid Figures for Pennsylvania for 2009

The Key 2009 Pennsylvania Medicaid Numbers can be found by clicking this link. They include, Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA), Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, Average monthly cost of nursing home care in PA, Estate Recovery, Home Equity Limit, Medicaid Transfers and Ineligibility for Gifts. These figures and requirements change annually. Review these important numbers …

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Getting Government Assistance For At Home Nursing Care

Many clients with family members and spouses in need of full time nursing care would like to provide care at home. Unfortunately, not everyone has the financial resources to pay for this care privately. There might be an alternative to private pay home care for you and your family. There are possible options such …

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Deciding How Much Money to Put in a Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust Planning for disabled beneficiaries is tremendously important. Gifts to disabled beneficiaries during lifetime and through wills should be made to specifically designed Special Needs Trusts. These trusts are designed to provide a safe and secure place for the gift or inheritance while allowing disabled beneficiaries to continue receiving government based benefits such …

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IRA Trusts, Providing Extra Creditor and Asset Protection

IRA’s and other tax deferred retirement plans can now be left to trusts for your beneficiaries instead of directly to the beneficiaries. These IRA Trusts are broadly categorized as either conduit trusts or accumulation trusts. These trusts must be written with care in order to insure that not only are the assets protected from the …

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Will Your Estate Owe Federal Estate Taxes?

Many of us are wondering whether or not our Executors, Administrators, beneficiaries or Trustees will have to pay estate taxes at the time of our death. I came across an excellent article in Smart Money that will help you answer the question, Will My Estate Owe Estate Taxes? This should help you get a …

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Beneficiary Designation Disaster

One of the most frequently neglected parts of the estate planning process is the proper use of beneficiary designations on life insurance, IRA’s, 401k’s, annuities and other similar assets. Failure to properly prepare and update a beneficiary designation can significantly change the disposition of assets someone intends to be carried out by his or her …

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How long does probate take?

The length of the probate process in Pennsylvania (PA) or other states varies greatly from estate to estate. The determining factors include the assets involved in the estate, the experience of the Executor/Administrator and counsel and the ease in dealing with the beneficiaries. Contrary to common belief, the process is rarely impacted by the actual …

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PA Inheritance Tax

The inheritance tax is a tax on the assets owned or controlled by a decedent at the time of his or her death and applies to assets individually owned, jointly owned and with beneficiaries designated. The tax does not apply to life insurance on the decedent’s life. It also applies to assets the decedent gifted …

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West Chester, PA
17 West Gay Street
P.O. BOX 515
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 692-1371
Phoenixville, PA
120 Gay Street
P.O. Box 289
Phoenixville, PA 19460
(610) 933-8069
Paoli, PA
43 Leopard Road, Building II
Suite 103
Paoli, PA 19301
(610) 240-0750