The Mazza Law Group, P.C.
2790 W. College Ave., Suite 800
State College, PA 16801 March 10, 2016
(814) 237-6255

Is your New Year’s Resolution to create a Will?

An Estate Plan begins with a Will, the document used to convey your property upon your death.  The Estate Plan may also include documents such as Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney,  Living Will, or Trusts. It would depend on your personal situation as to whether some or all of these additional documents are necessary.  You may be under the impression that you can create these documents on your own. While that certainly is true, you must take into consideration that a Lawyer can help you prepare these documents while answering questions you have probably already asked yourself.  These include:

  • Should I convey my Real Estate in my Will or will that have some tax consequences?
  • Do I need an Executor and what exactly does this person do?
  • If I become incapacitated will a Power of Attorney give a person complete control of my Estate?

These are just a few examples of why it is important to seek legal representation for creating an Estate Plan.  Properly executed documents ensure your financial and personal property assets are handled as you wish. These are important decisions to make and you do not have to face them alone.

In addition to the tough questions faced when creating an estate plan, you also need to consider the Laws governing estates which require specific instruments contain specific language.  A good lawyer will know what those are.

If you are asking yourself where to begin, call us and someone can schedule you an appointment to meet with an Estate Planning Lawyer.

Wills – Prince died without a Will

According to court documents filed by Prince’s sister, he died without a Will.  This might come as a shock for someone with a considerably large estate but not having a Will is more common than you think.  Have you made your Will?

The importance of a Will is to provide direction for distribution of your estate upon your death.  Chapter 25, of Title 20 of the Pennsylvania Statutes outlines the requirements for Wills in Pennsylvania. “Any person 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will.”

Some think a will is not necessary because they believe their assets are minimal or  they just want it all to go to their spouse or because the thought of death is too troublesome to bear.  Regardless of how you currently feel many family feuds occur when someone dies without providing any direction on what should happen with their possessions.

A Will creates peace of mind for those around you.  Estate Planning attorneys at the Mazza Law Group have prepared hundreds of estate planning documents that vary from simple to complex.  Whatever your needs may be, please contact us today to obtain a cost estimate for preparing estate documents for you and to set up a meeting with an experienced attorney.

Basic Information for Any Estate Plan

signing doumentThe Mazza Law Group, P.C. would like you to take a moment and think about their estate plan. Now you may be thinking why do I need an estate plan? Well if you have children, a spouse, own a home or have a retirement fund you need to think about an estate plan. What is an estate plan? It is making decisions about things now for when you need them in the future whether that is when you are no longer here or if you become incapacitated.

Whether you’ve had estate documents done for many years or you’re just starting out, there are three documents that everyone should consider when developing their estate plan. The first is a Will. The Will is the document that says here is what I want done with all of my items when I am no longer here.

Within the Will, there are three fiduciary roles. The first is that of an Executor who is the party that gathers all of the decedent’s asset information and debt information; uses the assets to pay the debts and then distributes the balance according to the terms of the Will.

The second fiduciary role that may be included in a Will is that of a Guardian. A guardian’s role lasts as long as the child is a minor or in the case of a special needs child, for the length of time that a guardian is needed for that special needs child. The guardian is the person who is the caretaker for the child and handles day to day matters for that child.

The third fiduciary role is that of a Trustee. Trusts are created under Wills for various reasons. The most common being for minor children or special needs children and the trust lasts as long as indicated in the terms of the trust.

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Pennsylvania Federal court declares same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional

Same sex marriage wedding cakeOn May 20, 2014, the Honorable John E. Jones III, a U.S. Federal District Court Judge in Pennsylvania, ruled that the statutory ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Since 1996, Pennsylvania law prevented two people of the same sex from marrying and prohibited the recognition of civil unions and same-sex marriages performed in other states. The Pennsylvania legislature had previously declared a public policy to recognize only a marriage between “one man and one woman,” and the statute went as far as to proclaim same-sex marriages in other jurisdictions to be “void.”

Gay rights advocates challenged the Pennsylvania law as a violation of the constitutional rights of equal protection and due process, protesting greater income and inheritance taxes, limited Social Security benefits, and health care access rights that were more restrictive than those available to unmarried individuals.

As support for their position, the plaintiffs relied on the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor, seeking to strike down the law as discriminatory.

The U.S. Supreme Court  granted full federal recognition to married same-sex couples in the Windsor decision which found the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be an unconstitutional violation of equal protection of the law.

The decision allowed married gay couples to enjoy the same federal benefits as their heterosexual counterparts by overruling DOMA’s restrictions.Continue Reading