In Pennsylvania, a Will is not filed (or probated) until after a person dies. As a result, you can change or update your Will at any time throughout your life, as circumstances require. We offer an initial consultation where we will review your needs and then estimate the cost for your estate planning needs with the consultation being $150.00 for the first hour.
A Will is a legal document that helps put your affairs in order at the time of your death. Every adult should have a Will to outline their intentions regarding their home, finances, investments and other assets and possessions upon death. Your Will should identify who will handle your estate, how your assets will be divided and who will serve as guardian for your minor children. If you die without a Will, your money and possessions will be distributed according to a formula fixed by law, which means that your spouse may be required to share assets with other family members not of your own choosing. It could also create lengthy delays in the final distribution of assets. Additionally, dying without a Will could result in your minor children being placed in the care of a court-appointed guardian rather than with people you would have chosen.
Estate planning involves judgment and skills acquired only through professional training and experience. Standardized Wills and Trusts, such as those produced using kits or computer software or found online may not be drafted to comply with Pennsylvania laws. Estate planning documents that are not properly drafted could result in your estate being distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes or create unwanted and unintended tax consequences.
Answers to your legal questions can only be given by the attorney. Even with staff who have decades of experience, it would be inappropriate for them to give legal advice. Therefore, if you ask a question to a staff member, they will need to explain that question to your attorney and then secure an answer. In the end, it would routinely take less time to deal directly with your attorney so that there is no misunderstanding of the question nor the answer. As attorney’s fees are charged at an hourly rate, whether the attorney is answering question through the staff member or directly to you, it will still be charged as a fee.
All contact with your attorney is confidential. As such, it is best if, at least at the initial office conference, the attorney can be alone with you as the client. Certainly, there are times that the attorney may have questions which can only be answered by other parties such as parents, adult children or others who have pertinent information. This may even include these additional individuals waiting in our waiting area until the initial conference has been conducted so that all of the confidential information has already been provided to the attorney. Thereafter, the other individuals may need the attorney and the client to provide some additional information or answer questions that the client may not have been able to answer. It always must be remembered that the confidentiality is between the attorney and client and the focus is of the best interest of the client.
While it is not necessary to have specific documents with you, if you have an itemization of the assets you own together or separate and it is also a benefit have full names of your children or other beneficiaries as well as their addresses, telephone numbers and related contact information. If additional information or documentation is needed following the appointment, that can be secured and provided to your attorney for review at a later time.
Our settlements are handled by our attorneys and not by a title clerk so that you have legal representation at the settlement table.
Title insurance fees or rates will be supplied in advance to you so you will be aware of those final costs in advance of settlements.
We provide the title insurance you need and your financial institution requires at the lowest rate possible. Title insurance rates are set by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, such that they are normally the same amount, whichever title insurance company is used for your settlement.
While it certainly is possible that all documentation and information that is needed to evaluate and prosecute a divorce case or negotiating a separation agreement can be collected as the case progresses, it is of great benefit if you can bring with you copies of your most recent tax return, copies of both parties most recent pay stubs, most recent statements relative to any financial assets held by the parties (bank statements, quarterly investment statements, pension, 401(k) retirement state), copies of deeds to real estate owned by the parties, most recent statements for debts (mortgage statements, credit card statements, my credit statements) and any other documentation I will help determine the assets and debts in existence and the values and balances of those assets, respect.
Retainers are your funds that we are holding to apply toward your services as they are rendered. Therefore, when the case is completed or services terminate for any reason, the balance of your retainer, less any final fees or costs, is refunded to you.