Estate Planning

What is Probate of a Decedent’s Will ?

Probate and Estate Administration

Making Estate Administration and Probate Simple

I can help you deal with probate of a will in a decedent’s estate. Handling the affairs of someone who has dies is not  an easy process. I can take you through the steps necessary to have a will officially recognized. Next, I will assist in the distribution of the estate assets and work out disagreements between the parties in interest. If issues arise during the estate or probate process, you need an experienced estate administration and probate attorney to help you get through this difficult time. The Wilkes-Barre, PA Law Office of C. Stephen Gurdin, Jr. has the experience you need and the skills necessary to succeed in having a favorable outcome.

I work with clients to resolve all issues in dealing with estate matter and probate.
I have a strong understanding of these practice areas, an extensive track record of success in estate and probate cases, and a clear understanding of what you are going through. Let me help you get through this process as easily as possible.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process that encompasses the steps in the establishment of a will’s validity. It is also known as the admittance of a will, so that a will may be administered in a court proceeding. The term “probate” can also be used to refer to an estate’s administration subject to a court’s jurisdiction. The court must determine whether or not the deceased had a properly legal will in order to begin transferring the assets to the beneficiaries.
In order to begin the process of estate administration, the probate process has to happen first. Should any issues come up, I can help straighten out the following:
· Probate litigation
· Personal representative (executor) malfeasance
· Guardianship litigation
· Will contests
· Trustee malfeasance
· Trust litigation
· Undue influence in the creation of a will or trust

The help of an experienced Wilkes-Barre estate lawyer can provide families facing the frustration and anxiety of loss help to execute the estate plan of their loved one or oversee the distribution of their estate. Having Attorney Gurdin by your side can ensure that things will be taken care of in an efficient, and timely, manner.
To make sure that you are protected, it is crucial that you contact skilled and experienced Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. a Pennsylvania Estate Planning lawyer.

Call Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. at his Gurdin Law Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pennsylvania area office today, 570.826.0481 toll free 1.800.221.0618.email Stephen@gurdinlaw.com to schedule a free consultation
Regular Office hours 2:30 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment. Earlier appointments available upon request

Estate Tax Planning

Estate Tax Planning

Terminal interests: A terminal interest is one that terminates upon the lapse of time or the happening or failure to happen of some event or contingency, if any remaining property passes to a person other than the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse receives a terminable interest in property; the marital deduction is lost as to that property. The most common terminable interest is an income trust which may qualify for the marital deduction if it qualifies under special rules. The device is frequently used along with a credit shelter trust, which passes property outside of the estate to the children. Since the property in this trust never passes to the surviving spouse, it is not part of his or her estate and passes directly to the children tax free so long as it is within the exemption in the decedent’s estate.

estate planningQualified terminal interests: If the surviving spouse receives a trust allowing income (without limitation) for life and only the power to invade corpus for his or her benefit (the ability to invade for a child or anyone else defeats the qualification), and the decedent irrevocably elects this treatment on the estate tax return, the interest which the surviving receives, although it is a terminal interest never the less qualifies for the marital deduction and passes free of estate tax. Such an interest is called a Qualified Terminal Interest Property (QTIP).

Funding the QTIP: The Qualified Terminable Interest can be a trust, or an annuity such as a joint survivor annuity, or an IRA (but care should be taken to allow the payment in equal installments rather than in a lump sum which would trigger income tax to the trust). If an IRA is used to fund the QTIP, the payments to the survivor may be limited to the minimum annual distributions or may be directly to the surviving spouse outside of any trust. The surviving spouse then rolls the payment into an IRA free of income tax until age 70 1/2 .

Alien spouse: The marital deduction is allowed only if the surviving spouse is an American citizen or becomes one before the estate tax return is due (within 9 months from the date of death plus an additional 6 months on extension) and was a U.S. resident from the date of the decedent’s death, or unless the decedent leaves the bequest to the surviving spouse through a qualified domestic trust (QDOT). If a trust to the surviving spouse would otherwise qualify for the marital deduction it may be reformed to meet the special requirements for the QDOT. The QDOT or reformed spousal trust may be created by the decedent, the executor or the surviving spouse. The QDOT election must be irrevocably elected on the estate tax return. The surviving spouses assignment to a QDOT must be made before the estate tax filing date, and the transfer must be completed before the estate is closed.

To make sure that you are protected, it is crucial that you contact skilled and experienced Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. a Pennsylvania Estate Planning lawyer.

Call Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. at, 570.826.0481

toll free 1.800.221.0618.

email Stephen@gurdinlaw.com

Regular Office hours 2:30 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment. Earlier appointments available upon request.

Estate Tax

ESTATE TAX
Husband and wife estate tax, continued

Terminal interests: A terminal interest is one that terminates upon the lapse of time or the happening or failure to happen of some event or contingency, if any remaining property passes to a person other than the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse receives a terminable interest in property; the marital deduction is lost as to that property. The most common terminable interest is an income trust which may qualify for the marital deduction if it qualifies under special rules. The device is frequently used along with a credit shelter trust, which passes property outside of the estate to the children. Since the property in this trust never passes to the surviving spouse, it is not part of his or her estate and passes directly to the children tax free so long as it is within the exemption in the decedent’s estate tax.

Estate Tax

Qualified terminal interests: If the surviving spouse receives a trust allowing income (without limitation) for life and only the power to invade corpus for his or her benefit (the ability to invade for a child or anyone else defeats the qualification), and the decedent irrevocably elects this treatment on the estate tax return, the interest which the surviving receives, although it is a terminal interest never the less qualifies for the marital deduction and passes free of estate tax. Such an interest is called a Qualified Terminal Interest Property (QTIP).

Funding the QTIP: The Qualified Terminable Interest can be a trust, or an annuity such as a joint survivor annuity, or an IRA (but care should be taken to allow the payment in equal installments rather than in a lump sum which would trigger income tax to the trust). If an IRA is used to fund the QTIP, the payments to the survivor may be limited to the minimum annual distributions or may be directly to the surviving spouse outside of any trust. The surviving spouse then rolls the payment into an IRA free of income tax until age 70 1/2 .

Alien spouse: The marital deduction is allowed only if the surviving spouse is an American citizen or becomes one before the estate tax return is due (within 9 months from the date of death plus an additional 6 months on extension) and was a U.S. resident from the date of the decedent’s death, or unless the decedent leaves the bequest to the surviving spouse through a qualified domestic trust (QDOT). If a trust to the surviving spouse would otherwise qualify for the marital deduction it may be reformed to meet the special requirements for the QDOT. The QDOT or reformed spousal trust may be created by the decedent, the executor or the surviving spouse. The QDOT election must be irrevocably elected on the estate tax return. The surviving spouses assignment to a QDOT must be made before the estate tax filing date, and the transfer must be completed before the estate is closed.

To make sure that you are protected, it is crucial that you contact skilled and experienced Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. a Pennsylvania Estate Planning lawyer.
Call Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. at his Gurdin Law Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Pennsylvania area office today, 570.826.0481 toll free 1.800.221.0618.email Stephen@gurdinlaw.com to schedule a free consultation.

Regular Office hours for estate tax planning are 2:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment. Earlier appointments available upon request.

Estate Tax: husband and wife

ESTATE TAX

Husband and wife: For a husband and wife, there is an unlimited marital deduction available that will allow property of the first spouse to die to pass to the surviving spouse without the payment of estate tax, thus preserving the property to support the survivor. To the extent that the assets are not consumed, they may be taxable in the survivor’s estate. The surviving spouse may take advantage of any estate tax deduction unused in the estate of the first spouse to die.

Marital deduction. If a bequest to a spouse is a dollar value either as specified or ascertainable by formula, the estate may have a taxable gain or loss if the bequest is satisfied in appreciated or depreciated property. This can be avoided by phrasing the bequest in terms of a share of the estate. A marital deduction is permitted between domestic partners following the holding that a provision relating to “his” in the Defense of Marriage Act has been held to be unconstitutional. The issues of domestic partners are currently being litigated in various courts.

Computation of the marital deduction. The valuation of property passing to a surviving spouse is based on fair market value as of the valuation date. Adjustments must be made for administrative expenses. These expenses fall into 2 classes, transmission expenses, the appropriate share of which reduces the marital deduction, and management expenses, which do not reduce the marital deduction unless they are allocable to other property. Transmission expenses include: all expenses arising by reason of the decedent’s death, such as fiduciary commissions, legal fees, appraisal fees, will construction and contest costs. Management expenses include: interest expense, brokerage commissions, and investment advisory fees. A mandatory direction in the will that expenses and taxes be paid out of the nonmarital share or a provision granting the executor discretion to do so preserves the full deduction. If there is no such provision, the residual estate bears the estate tax without apportionment among specific legatees.

Property passing to spouse. If property is included in the decedent’s estate, it does not matter how the surviving spouse acquires it. It could be acquired by gift, bequest, intestacy, survivorship, operation of law, antenuptial agreement, compromise of will contest, election of statutory share (the share to which a surviving spouse is permitted and which such spouse is entitled to take, even if the will provides less.), or written disclaimer by another within 9 months of the death which results in property passing to the surviving spouse. Property held by the decedent and the surviving spouse by the entireties is included at ½ of its value, but if it passes outside of the estate through a trust, it must be converted to ownership by the surviving spouse so that it passes as probate property in order to qualify for the marital deduction. The deduction is limited to the value of probate assets actually passing to the surviving spouse. In the case of simultaneous death, the decedent’s spouse is considered as surviving if the will or local law so provides. A clause in the will that the spouse is considered as predeceasing controls as to bequests except as to joint property. Under the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act each joint tenant is treated as having survived as to his or her own interest.

To make sure that you are protected, it is crucial that you contact skilled and experienced Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. a Pennsylvania Estate Planning lawyer.
Call Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. at his Gurdin Law Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Pennsylvania area office today, 570.826.0481 toll free 1.800.221.0618.email Stephen@gurdinlaw.com to schedule a free consultation.

Regular Office hours 2:30 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment. Earlier appointments available upon request.

Estate Tax Valuation: Buy-Sell agreement:

Estate Tax Valuation: Buy-Sell agreement:

• Buy-Sell agreement: This agreement is utilized to protect the decedent’s spouse or family, fix the value of the business interest for estate tax purposes and preserve business management. So long as the agreement is a true business agreement and not a device to pass property at less than fair market value, and its terms are comparable to similar arrangements between arm’s length individuals, the values agreed upon will be accepted. The agreement must place a restriction on the stockholder for disposal of his or her interest during life. The restriction may be a mere right of first refusal. The restriction may be expressed in the agreement or in the corporate by-laws or may be implicit in the capital structure of the business. So long as death or retirement are not imminent, such an agreement with a substantial majority holder and which provides for the purchase of so much of the decedent’s interest at the agreed value as is necessary for the payment of estate taxes and administrative expenses, will be accepted. Between family members, the value of goodwill can be excluded in determining the value of the decedent’s interest.

To make sure that you are protected, it is crucial that you contact skilled and experienced Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. a Pennsylvania Estate Planning lawyer.
Call Attorney C. Stephen Gurdin Jr. at his Gurdin Law Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Pennsylvania area office today, 570.826.0481 toll free 1.800.221.0618.email Stephen@gurdinlaw.com to schedule a free consultation.
Regular Office hours 2:30 and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment. Earlier appointments available upon request.