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When someone asks if you would be the executor of one’s estate when he or she is gone, it’s a tremendous honor. It means the person trusts you implicitly and is willing to hand off a great deal of one’s life to you, knowing you will safeguard his or her wishes and heirs. It’s tempting to say yes just because it seems rude to forgo that honor, but when you say yes if you can’t really follow through, you do yourself and your family member or friend a disservice. Here are some things to consider before saying yes.

First, do you have the resources to give to such a project, and can you reasonably expect that will be the case later? If you, yourself, are ailing, then you might not be in the best position to act as an executor. The same is true if you have small children, an especially demanding career or if you are dealing with your own financial or other crisis. As an executor, you might have to be able to put some of your own issues on hold to handle immediate needs for the estate.


Second, are you mentally and emotionally prepared to handle these duties? If you don’t deal well with people or stress, or financial issues give you flights of anxiety, you probably aren’t the best person for the job. Consider your attributes honestly and talk with your friend or family member openly about any qualms you might have before you say yes.


Finally, do you have the knowledge to handle the job or the time to learn it? You need a fairly decent grasp of financial management and the ability to learn about estate laws and tax issues that might be relevant. You can work with an estate lawyer to manage some of these issues, but you do need to be able to understand the language and concepts to make viable decisions.


Source: AARP, “Things to Know About Being an Executor of Estate,” Carole Fleck, accessed March 24, 2017

No one would argue that divorce is difficult for everyone involved. It’s a very emotional time, there is an inordinate amount of stress, and that’s true even if the end of the relationship is reasonably amicable. However, marriages usually do not end on a friendly note. And even if things begin well, the situation often turns into War of the Roses when arrangements need to be made regarding alimony, assets, child support and custody, and visitation arrangements.


It must be remembered that a divorce isn’t just the end of a marriage. It’s also the end of a financial relationship. And opinions will most likely differ as to how everything should be sorted out. Therefore, it is wise to take steps to protect yourself financially during a divorce. What can you do to safeguard your financial assets?


Get your records in order

Gather and organize all of your financial records; having records for the previous five years is considered the standard. You should have tax records, payroll and income documentation, bank statements, and paperwork related to property, vehicles, and investments. Be sure to make copies of everything and keep them in a location other than your house, such as a safe deposit box or the home of a friend.


Get your own accounts

As soon as it seems that divorce is unavoidable, open your own bank accounts and get your own credit cards. Open the accounts at a bank other than the one(s) you and your spouse used. This will keep your financial activity separate and confidential. A credit card in your name will allow you to start building your own credit record.


Keep a close eye on your credit

In a less-than-amicable divorce, it’s not unheard of that one spouse tries to damage the other’s credit. So it’s important to periodically check your credit report during the proceedings. Make sure no credit cards have been taken out in your name, and watch for questionable activity. Joint credit cards should be cancelled. Monitor outstanding debts. If anything looks suspicious, tell your attorney immediately.


Take an inventory

It is essential to take an inventory of all of your assets. And remember, things acquired during the marriage are considered joint property. Take digital, time-stamped photos of valuable assets; you’ll have proof if something goes missing. In fact, some even make a video recording of items in the home.


Reduce expenses

There is no question that divorce is expensive. A budget is necessary so you’ll know how much you need, not just for costs associated with the divorce, but for normal living expenses once you’re on your own. Be reasonable. Since you’ll be living on one income, you’ll most likely have to find ways to cut expenses.


Divorce is a painful, unpleasant, emotional experience. But keeping a level head is important. If it’s apparent that divorce is inevitable, you need to protect your financial assets.

Where is the money going? This is a question that many Pennsylvania residents ask. In many cases, it is simply being spent on legitimate household expenses. However, in other cases, a spouse may be attempting to stash money in a secret account or hiding a debt that he/she does not want the other spouse to be aware of. Often, this is a prelude to an impending divorce decision.


In many cases, there are subtle signs that one needs to pay attention to. When money that is usually available is no longer there, it may be time to do a little research. Where is this money going? Perhaps one’s spouse is attempting a surprise. But, is such a surprise going to be a pleasant one?


Prior to asking for a divorce, many individuals seek to protect themselves financially by stashing funds in a separate bank account or paying off debt. The premise behind such action is often to have money available to pay expenses associated with a divorce and to be able to establish a separate household. Depending upon the family dynamics and financial situation, this may place an additional burden upon an already unstable family situation.


It may not always be possible to discover financial secrets prior to divorce proceedings. Fortunately, each Pennsylvania resident involved in a divorce will be required to disclose all financial accounts during the process. With this information in hand, the individual, along with legal counsel, will be able to decide the best course of action to protect oneself financially throughout the process and in the future.

Lawyer, attorney, law, divorce, bankruptcy, real estate, alimony, debt, debtor, creditor, child support, adoption, estate, probate, wills, estate planning, central Pennsylvania, PA, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon, York, Carlisle, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Republican, democrat,

Raising a child can be an expensive venture. Often, Pennsylvania families with the luxury of two incomes struggle to pay the mortgage, pay the car note, buy groceries and pay for all of the extras that come with providing for a child. This struggle is aggravated when a single parent is attempting to do the same but with only one income. Along with the numerous other benefits, child support assists with meeting the basic needs of one’s child.


Fortunately, Pennsylvania parents recognize the need for making timely child support payments. In fact, Pennsylvania leads the nation with an 84 percent payment rate. This translates into more custodial parents receiving the funds needed to help take care of the children.



On the other hand, there are still parents who are unable or unwilling to do their part financially; when this happens, there are steps that can be taken. It is possible for child support payments to be taken from payments such as Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation and even workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, tax refunds and lottery winnings can be redirected so that payments are made. In addition, liens can be placed against property and professional and driver’s licenses can be suspended for nonpayment. One other option that is used as a last resort is that the delinquent parent can be incarcerated for up to six months.


When a custodial parent has trouble collecting child support from the other parent, it is usually time to seek legal guidance on the best way to proceed. The State of Pennsylvania takes child support matters seriously. The goal is to make sure that the children are taken care of according to the financial standing of both parents.

Lawyer, attorney, law, divorce, bankruptcy, real estate, alimony, debt, debtor, creditor, child support, adoption, estate, probate, wills, estate planning, central Pennsylvania, PA, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon, York, Carlisle, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Republican, democrat,

The loss of a loved one could leave anyone with questions. While you may have expected your loved one’s passing for some time due to health issues, you may still wonder what will happen to his or her estate and whether you will play a role in the probate process. Though you may already know that you are not the executor, you may still want to review certain probate documents.


In most cases, the executor will contact the necessary parties, including beneficiaries, to let them know that they have been named in a will or otherwise named in an estate plan. However, it is not always easy to get in contact with executors, and some do not handle their duties correctly. As a result, you may want to take matters into your own hands.


Requesting probate documents

Because probate proceedings become part of the public record, the public can access any documents submitted for your loved one’s probate case. You may want to receive a copy of the will to go over the information included in it, and you can request a copy from the court. First, you need to find out where the executor filed the will, and that is usually the county in which the decedent lived. You can utilize online resources to find out how to request copies of those documents.


You may need to pay a copying fee, but usually, these fees are minimal. You can go to the court in person to request a copy of the desired documents, or you could make a request by fax or mail. If you make the request by mail, you would be wise to include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the court can easily send your documents to you.


What if something is off?

You may want to obtain copies of your loved one’s will because you felt that something was off with the probate proceedings already. Unfortunately, if the executor is not acting appropriately or if you believe someone unduly influenced your loved one into creating a new will, you may find yourself in a difficult spot. Still, having the documents you need could help you determine whether you have reason to take legal action to address a problem.


If you do suspect that a serious issue has come about with your loved one’s probate case, you may want to discuss your concerns with an experienced Pennsylvania attorney who can explain your options.

Lawyer, attorney, law, divorce, bankruptcy, real estate, alimony, debt, debtor, creditor, child support, adoption, estate, probate, wills, estate planning, central Pennsylvania, PA, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon, York, Carlisle, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Republican, democrat,

The family home often becomes a focus when a couple decides that it is time to end the marriage. Should one of the individuals keep the home, or should they sell it? Will the children be better off if they are able to remain in the home, or would a change of scenery be better? While these may appear to be the pertinent questions in the divorce negotiation process in Pennsylvania, there are other, perhaps more important, questions that need to be addressed.


Prior to digging in the heels and insisting on keeping the home, the individual will want to take a careful look at his or her financial picture post divorce. What will the individual’s budget look like? Will there be enough income to cover the expense of keeping the home along with all the other expenses that will need to be paid? In some instances, the simple reality is that it may be a financial struggle for the individual to keep the home. If this is the case, it may be better in the long run to go ahead and sell it.


Another financial concern that will need to be addressed is the tax implications related to the sale of the home or the transfer of financial assets. Depending on the sale price of the home and the structure of the divorce agreement, the individual may be liable for capital gains taxes. Additionally, depending on the way some financial assets are transferred, taxes and penalty fees may be levied.


While, on the surface, it may appear that keeping the family home is a good idea for the Pennsylvania resident, this may not be a prudent financial decision. This, along with a number of other items, is just one of the many financial concerns that the individual will want to review prior to finalizing the divorce agreement. Experienced guidance can help the individual in determining the best way to proceed.

Lawyer, attorney, law, divorce, bankruptcy, real estate, alimony, debt, debtor, creditor, child support, adoption, estate, probate, wills, estate planning, central Pennsylvania, PA, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon, York, Carlisle, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Republican, democrat,