Estate Planning Lawyer
Kim A. Bodnar is an estate planning lawyer located in Pittsburgh, PA. At Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I work with families and individuals that are looking to create an estate plan in order to protect their assets and their heirs. Planning for the future is important because if you don’t plan, your estate will be subject to the probate process where a judge determines what happens to your assets. After working hard your entire life, don’t leave your estate in the hands of a stranger. Instead, call 412-804-4048 to schedule a consultation and begin planning for the future of your family.
If you live in the 15219 area, my law offices are conveniently located and taking a few minutes to discuss your estate can save your heirs a lot of money later on. I can discuss tax saving strategies along with ways that you can protect your asset both now and in the future. There are several options to choose from, and I will present the ones that will best accomplish your goals.
Establishing a Will
In Pennsylvania, it is highly recommended that you create a will. Your will can list out all of your assets and your heirs and dictate what assets each one will receive. Creating a will is especially important if you have minor children because you need a legal document stating who you want to have custody of your children and estate until they reach the age of eighteen. If you do not create a will, this will be up to the court system and someone that has no former knowledge of you or your children. This is not a worthwhile risk and meeting with Kim A. Bodnar will help to eliminate it.
When you list out your assets in a will, they do not automatically transfer to your heirs. Upon your death, an announcement must be made of your passing and a period of time given for creditors to make legitimate claims against the estate. As much as possible, legitimate debts need to be paid, and this is typically done as part of the probate process. Once the debts have been paid, the remaining assets can be distributed amongst your heirs, and it will typically be done according to the wishes laid out within your will although your heirs can contest it. If you own property in PA and another state, they will have to go through the probate process in both places.
Creating a Living Trust
If you are looking for additional protections speak with Kim A. Bodnar about establishing a living trust. When a trust is created, it becomes its own entity and like a person or business, it can hold assets. I recommend that you transfer all of your assets into the trust other than your daily checking account. For example, you can put your savings account, brokerage accounts, CD’s, cars, houses and more into the trust. When you do so, the ownership transfers immediately. This is a benefit because when you pass, these assets don’t have to be transferred from you to your heirs. Instead, the trust can make payments to your heirs directly or transfer assets like houses as dictated by your will or other trust agreements without needing to go through the probate process. This saves your heirs time and money. It also provides a level of protection against liability now, while you are alive. People throughout Pennsylvania use a trust as a way to guarantee that their wishes will be carried out upon their death.
Another benefit to creating a trust is that if you own property in more than one state as many retirees do, your heirs won’t have to go through probate in multiple locations. Keep in mind that when you pass, your heirs will be dealing with the emotion of it so anything you can do to make the process easier, is advisable. At Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I can discuss different scenarios with you and identify what can be done now to prepare for a smooth transition of ownership in the future.
Many people throughout the 15219 area worry that if they have a trust they will be unable to continue to operate their lives like normal. This is not the case. As long as you keep your daily checking account out of the trust, you can live life like you always have, even though your other assets are owned by the trust. If you have rental properties, for example, the trust can own them and make payments to you so that you can still receive the income. For more information on how this works, call 412-804-4048 to schedule a consultation with Kim A. Bodnar.
In Pennsylvania, there are limits to the value of an estate before federal or state estate taxes kick in. As long as you are under the threshold your estate won’t have to pay taxes. This amount can change based on the state and federal legislature, so call Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law for the current limits. During the consultation, I will let you know if you are approaching the limit or it looks like you will do so before your death. If so, I can make recommendations for what you can do in order to transfer some of your assets now, before you pass. For example, you are alloId to gift a certain amount to your heirs every year while you are still alive. These strategies can be discussed in detail at my 15219 law office so that you can have a comprehensive strategy that works both now and in the future. If necessary, I can also involve a tax attorney or CPA to provide further assistance.
The Value of Estate Planning
As a Pittsburgh estate planning attorney, I recommend that everyone have an estate plan, regardless of how old they are. Many people in their twenties, thirties, and forties neglect to plan because they think they won’t need a will or trust for a long time. Unfortunately, you can’t plan for the unexpected so the best way to protect your assets and your heirs is to create an estate plan now. This is especially important if you have children. For assistance, call 412-804-4048 and speak with Kim A. Bodnar today.Probate Attorney > Family Law > Estate Planning Lawyer
Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law located in Pittsburgh, PA. Explore additional topics covered on my website:
- Child Support Attorney
- Divorce Attorney
- Estate Law Firm
- Family Law
- Probate Attorney
- Wrongful Death Attorney
- Other Legal Services
Back to top of Estate Planning Lawyer.
Request an Appointment
Use the form below
to schedule an appointment online.
Is an “at fault” divorce still possible in Pennsylvania? The first “no-fault” divorce laws were enacted in the 1970s. By 2010, some form of no-fault proceeding became available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. While the majority of divorces are granted in Pennsylvania based on the state's no-fault law, it is still possible to pursue an “at... [Read More]
Consider the following scenario. You are waiting on the corner for a ride from your 20 year old son. As his car legally enters a controlled intersection on a green signal, a speeding truck approaches from the left and ignores a red traffic signal and strikes the driver's side of your son's car. You are not injured, though you witness... [Read More]
It is widely accepted as fact that avoiding the probate process – the passing of your property upon your death via a traditional will – should be a principal concern in any estate plan. Indeed, a Google search of the phrase “avoiding probate” yields nearly 300,000 results. However, few people can articulate the reasons. The most commonly asserted justifications are... [Read More]