Should I retain an Estate Lawyer in Philadelphia to guide me through settling an Estate?

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If you had to cross a beautiful meadow but there was a big sign saying “Beware, this is a mine field.  An experienced professional guide is available to guide you through the field and you are guaranteed you will not strike a mine if you retain him.”  Would you risk serious injury, maiming or death to save the fee of the experienced guide?  I doubt it but many people do just that and try to administer Estates without the guidance of an experienced Estate Lawyer inPhiladelphia. Do you know how to marshal a Decedent’s assets, how to find out what assets a decedent owned, how to obtain a federal tax ID number, which obligations can be settled at a fraction of the debt, how to prepare the documents required by the Register of Wills and the Orphan’s Court, how to prepare a Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax return, a United States Fiduciary tax return, a Pennsylvania income tax return?

These are things that must be done even in the smallest Estates.  But retaining an Estate Lawyer in Philadelphia can, in addition, reducing the Pennsylvania Inheritance Taxes paid by the Estate, you can save future income taxes because of his knowledge of the interrelation of the Inheritance tax and the federal income tax, he can settle debt obligations for a fraction of the claim even through there are enough assets to pay the debt in full, elect to shorten the statute of limitations available to creditors to file claims.  The list goes on and on.  The Administration of an Estate without the guidance of an Estate Lawyer in Philadelphia is a mine field as the layman will not even be aware of any problems until they strike.  2 recent examples of people who called me because they found my web sight come to mind.  An executor administering an Estate without the guidance of an Estate Lawyer in Philadelphia made decisions on her Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax returns designed to save Inheritance tax.  She was unaware of the effect that made on the Estate’s income tax until she was presented with a very large bill from the IRS.

Another example was an Administrator who believed she was the Decedent’s next of kin, transferred the Decedent’s home to herself and, when she had it under agreement of sale found out that she was required to get the Orphans’ Court’s permission and ended up loosing the house. These and other horror stories are too common and they could have been avoided by retaining an Estate Lawyer in Philadelphia.  Avoiding situations like the ones described here are part of the routine services that are offered by an Estate Lawyer in Philadelphia.

I accept fees based upon a fee schedule setting forth the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and/or the Pennsylvania Attorney general. These fees are based upon the size of the gross estate and start at 7% of the first $25,000 of the gross estate.  That means that if your gross estate is $25,000 the fee will be $1,750 leaving $23,500 to pay debts, taxes and inheritance.  The percentage falls as the value of the estate grows.  The fee also reduces as the Estate Lawyer inPhiladelphia saves you Inheritance taxes, income taxes and settles debts at a fraction of the face value.  Please do not walk into a mine field but retain the services of an experienced Estate Lawyer inPhiladelphia to make sure the path is easy and safe.

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