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What should be included in an estate plan?

An effective estate plan provides protection for the estate planner and the estate planner's loved ones, family and friends. Because of this, estate planners should know what documents to include in their estate plan.

There are several different types of documents that should be included in an effective overall estate plan. Different estate planning tools can be tailored, however, to the unique needs of the estate planner and their estate and to match the wishes of the estate planner. A thorough estate plan can provide peace of mind to the estate planner that their wishes will be fulfilled and their estate will be distributed how they want it to be distributed. This can also provide peace of mind that the estate planner's loved ones, family members and friends will be cared for.

Who is prohibited from purchasing firearms in Pennsylvania?

Many people may not realize this, but Pennsylvania has stricter firearms laws than much of the country. In fact, it has been ranked the 10th toughest state with regards to gun laws. Gun laws vary from state to state, which is why it is important to know where one stands when they enter Pennsylvania.

It is possible to openly carry a gun across the state without a license, except in Philadelphia. However, in order to concealed carry, individuals over the age of 21 must apply for a license to carry firearms in the county office where they reside.

What are the benefits of creating a living trust?

Preserving one's legacy and ensuring their assets are distributed in the manner they want are often the driving force for Pennsylvania residents to draft wills. Having completed the task, they most likely don't give it another thought, and very likely do not utilize other estate planning tools. What many fail to realize is that their will might get tangled in probate for a long time, tying up the estate and resulting in legal fees. It is possible, however, to protect loved ones from probate, if proper estate planning is carried out.

One of the most comprehensive ways to avoid probate is by setting up a living trust. A living trust has three parties-the person setting up the trust, known as the grantor, the person who manages the trust, known as the trustee, and the person for whom the trust is established, known as the beneficiary. To avoid probate, all three parties would have to be the same person. Therefore, as grantor, one would set up the trust and transfer all assets into it; as a trustee, they would handle the property; and as a beneficiary, they could continue to use the property.

Surviving college life could lead to criminal charges

Today's college students are no different from those who went before them. They still experience similar stresses regarding academic performance, social engagement and integration, and more.

Even though alcohol has been a part of college life for decades, so-called "study drugs" have come into the mix as well. Students are now using medications ordinarily prescribed for people with conditions such as attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder without a prescription. If your son or daughter ends up using them as well, the odds of facing criminal charges increase.

Experienced advice helps avoid common estate planning errors

While creating a last will and testament is an important estate planning step, it is not the only one Pennsylvania residents should be taking. Unfortunately, not many people realize there are a number of tools available to distribute one's assets to loved ones, and it is possible to tailor them to one's unique situation.

An executor plays an important role in asset distribution. Choosing who to appoint is an important decision and should not be made solely on the basis of kinship. Having a knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable executor may be a better choice than a relative, depending on one's circumstances. When making the decision, it is important to sit down with the appointee and explain what will be needed of them during estate administration. One must also make sure all the information the executor will need to distribute one's assets are provided to them.

What common mistakes do executors make when distributing assets?

Being named the executor of someone's estate is not a job that should be taken lightly. The executor has the legal responsibility of arranging for the payment of all income and estate taxes, wrap up the affairs of the estate and distribute the assets of the estate. While the executor is most often trying to complete these tasks to the best of their abilities, it is possible that some steps they take open the estate up to increased tax liability or other consequences. Pennsylvania residents may want to be aware of the potential mistakes they could make and consider consulting an experienced attorney for guidance on how to avoid them.

Many people may not realize they are personally liable for the distributions of the estate. This means if distributions are made before taxes are paid, then the executor would be personally liable for the remainder. These distributions put the executor at risk, even though there is nothing to prevent them from doing so.

The importance of consent in a stepparent adoption

A wedding signifies the beginning of a new era for a married couple. No marriage is without its ups and downs, but when there are children involved from previous relationships, the new era can be marred with difficulties. One way parents can help ease their children's transition is by providing them with the stability they need to flourish. A stepparent adoption is one way to achieve this.

When a parent adopts their spouse's children, it gives the child a sense of security and belonging. As their legal parent, the stepparent becomes responsible both emotionally and financially for the child. Pennsylvania residents looking to adopt their stepchildren may want to consult an experienced attorney for guidance on how to proceed, as the law varies from state to state.

Common lies told to avoid estate planning

While it is true that thinking about one's estate plan is not fun, not everything in life is fun. To justify the delay in creating an estate plan, people tell themselves lots of lies, such as talking about one's death only makes it more imminent. However, dying without a will can leave loved ones confused on how to handle everything from the good china to the funeral.

One of the most common lies people tell themselves is that they do not need an estate plan because they do not have a lot of money. Even if one has a modest bank account or a family home, the decedent will want to know that their family members will be taken care of after they have moved on. Even if someone has no assets to their name, having a will can protect something more important than one's finances-one's family. A will can dictate who will take care of their children after their death and the manner in which their body should be handled.

What does reasonable suspicion have to do with your DUI stop?

You're driving along, and all of a sudden, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. A police officer is pulling you over, but you have no idea why. You know that you must pull over, but you instantly get nervous. Perhaps you aware of your rights when dealing with law enforcement. The first thing you need to know is that there must be valid grounds in order for a law enforcement officer to stop a driver.

The law states that police must have reasonable suspicion for making a DUI traffic stop. This means there must be a clear reason to pull you over, such as specific behaviors often associated with intoxicated driving. Without reasonable suspicion, a traffic stop is invalid, with could invalidate the case against you. If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, it is in your interests to review the circumstances of your traffic stop.

Reasonable grounds to seek modification of a child support order

As a Pennsylvania parent, one of the main priorities of your life is to properly care for your children. You love your kids, and you want to take care of them, but your circumstances may not allow you to do that as you want. After your divorce, you may find that your financial situation is different, and you are no longer able to meet the terms of your support order.

If you are unable to pay child support or pay the full amount you owe according to your order, that does not make you a bad parent. At this point, you will want to find out if you have grounds to seek a modification to your existing child support order. Before approving this request, the court will review your situation to determine if there are valid grounds to change the terms.

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