Wills and Estates and Planning


The decision as to how to determine what happens with assets after a death is a difficult one that requires a discussion of goals and consideration of contingencies that many people do not like to discuss but which must be raised in that discussion. Who will wind up the estate and act as the executor as well as who will inherit and what are some of the issues that must be faced when planning a will.

Guardianship, taking care of a person or persons should be considered and placed into the will as well as whether a trustee ought to be appointed to handle funds for a minor child or an irresponsible adult.


A power of attorney permits another person to handle the affairs of the client. A power of attorney can be very limited in scope or it can be very broad, encompassing nearly every aspect of the client's life, depending on goals. A power of attorney can name one person to act as attorney in fact or more than one, including a corporate fiduciary, if warranted.


A living will, or Advanced Lifecare Directive, is a document that determines what happens at the end of life in terms of medical care that might be considered to prolong the dying process.

A living will can be used to refuse such care or to elect it. The form is very straight forward and can be easily customized. Pennsylvania law provides a living will form but the impact of the choices to be made in the living will should be discussed with knowledgeable counsel.


Probate is the process in which a will is filed with the court and the estate administration begins in terms of permission for the executor to proceed to collect the assets, pay the debts and distribute the proceeds of the estate. Certain assets are not subject to probate and there is therefore no need to be taxed on those items.


Estate Administration is the process of gathering assets, paying debts, preparing and filing the inheritance tax return and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs. This process can take several months and longer for complex cases.

The Pennsylvania inheritance tax return must be filed by the end of nine months from the date of death and a discount is granted for a payment of anticipated tax if paid in the first three months or administration. Having an attorney handle the estate administration puts a neutral person in charge and is a great way to keep family issues to a minimum as well provides a professional to deal with banks, investment houses, real estate professionals and others who might be involved in the process.



Unfortunately, there are often times when heirs believe that a person or organization is being favored or that the will was not prepared with full understanding when it was signed. This leads to contests about the validity of the will and can involve whether the deceased was mentally competent when the will was signed as well as issues surrounding whether someone has been disinherited purposely.

Attorney Eisenberg has experience with this type of litigation, which can either be in the Register of Wills or the Orphan's Court. These forums has special rules and procedures and an error could end a claim.

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Michael E. Eisenberg Law Practice 2935 Byberry Road, Hatboro, PA 19040 (267) 722-8383 info@meelawoffice.com

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