Wyomissing, Pennsylvania Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

Understanding elder financial abuse

There are many telephone and online scams going around that aim to fraudulently separate people from their money. Some scams may even be conducted in person. Perhaps you have already been called by someone posing as an agent from the Internal Revenue Service or had someone knock on your door saying they were mowing lawns but asking for a deposit before they would return. You may see through these ruses, but at the law office of Huckabee, Weiler, & Levengood, P.C., we know that many Pennsylvania residents – especially the elderly – are unaware of the different scams out there.

Modern scams are sophisticated and can seem legitimate, even to the most financially savvy person. If your loved one is older, he or she may be more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. In fact, states the National Adult Protective Services Association, approximately one out of 20 elderly people in the United States are victimized by financial abuse, including scams.

How should I pay taxes with my LLC?

As you set up your new business, you will start making multiple decisions about how to run it. As the owner of the business, you will plan the budget, decide on which expenses are necessary, determine the location of the business and much more. But one important decision you will make will be how to pay taxes. If you have started a limited liability company (LLC), you have a few different options to pay taxes.

Since the IRS doesn’t consider an LLC to be a tax designation, LLCs have the unique ability to choose their tax designation. Each different option has different benefits. The options for LLC tax designation include:

Keys to a healthy divorce

When faced with the word divorce, some people in Pennsylvania may only see the long, drawn-out court battles in which each soon-to-be-ex brings up each and every fault of the other while trying to walk away with almost everything. However, divorce proceedings do not have to be so vile and hateful. There are ways that a couple can have a smooth and amicable divorce without terrible fights and selfishness.

According to the American Psychological Association, it is normal to experience emotions, such as fear, grief and anger, at the end of a marriage, and that partners who are compassionate to themselves will have an easier time dealing with them. Open communication and cooperation with the other spouse are also important. If both partners are able to communicate, divorce mediation may be a better option than courtroom litigation. Mediation allows the couple to negotiate asset and debt division, living situations and child custody in a less stressful environment.

What entity choices do you have for your new business?

As a Pennsylvania entrepreneur, one of the most important decisions you must make is which type of business entity you will choose for your new company. This decision will affect how both you and your company will operate for many years into the future.

The Internal Revenue Service reports that your business formation options consist of the following:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • S Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company

How might you breach your fiduciary duty?

When you agree to act as someone’s Pennsylvania executor or trustee, you make yourself a fiduciary. Consequently, as FindLaw explains, in everything you do while acting in that capacity, you must put the interests of the estate, trust, heirs and/or beneficiaries ahead of your own interests.

It goes without saying that becoming an executor or trustee puts you in the position of having to assume important responsibilities. Obviously you need to perform your duties to the best of your ability, but no one expects you to be perfect. You are human, after all, and human beings often make inadvertent mistakes. No one will sue you should you make one of these mistakes. The heirs or beneficiaries may sue you, however, if you breach your fiduciary duties.

What can you not do with a will?

Writing a last will and testament is a vital part of estate planning, but even so, it is not capable of handling every issue that may arise after you pass away. For various reasons, the law may not recognize some parts of your will, which is why any Pennsylvania resident should be aware of what they cannot do in their wills and what the alternatives are.

As Nerdwallet explains, people cannot make funeral plans in their wills. A funeral needs to be planned separately from a will because wills are usually not even read until after the funeral has taken place. So if you try to make your funeral wishes known in your will, odds are your plans may not even be discovered until the funeral is over with.

Should I form a limited liability partnership (LLP)?

Some Pennsylvania entrepreneurs have special concerns about exposing themselves to liability when starting a new business. If you and a business partner are exploring a way to come together to form a business while limiting your liability exposure, a limited liability partnership is one option to consider. Even so, LLPs are not for every partnership, so some factors should be taken into account while exploring this option.

Chron.com explains that certain businesses are more at risk for liability than others, so if you are considering an LLP, you should think about whether you will be likely to face litigation because of the kind of profession you practice. Doctors, for example, may encounter litigation from patients who sue on the basis of malpractice. Forming an LLP can help offer some protection for one partner in the event the other partner ends up harming a customer, client or patient.

Should I set up my business as an LLC?

When you decide to launch your own small business, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of the most important, which sometimes is complicated to understand, is considering the legal ramifications of business ownership. If you’ve done even a little research into it and plan on owning a small business, you know you’ll have to choose whether to be a sole proprietor or to establish an LLC.

How do you handle a high asset divorce?

Pennsylvania has certain laws that help determine who gets what during a divorce. Though these issues can be less problematic for those with fewer assets, if you have a lot of assets they can create some unique hurdles.

FindLaw takes a look at some tips for handling high asset divorces, which can have its own unique set of problems to overcome in addition to the usual struggles involved with divorces. The first tip is to keep track of the assets you actually have. This can get more confusing depending on how many sources there are. For example, assets will include retirement funds, savings accounts, businesses, and anything inherited from others after their passing. Knowing exactly what you have will allow you to avoid complications if more assets are found after divisions are finalized.

Avoid these costly estate planning mistakes

On the road of good intentions, estate planners and holders have made mistakes. Unfortunately, many mistakes can be difficult and expensive to resolve. Therefore, an estate holder or testator needs to be diligent, thorough and methodical to avoid these mistakes.

A testator and the family will benefit from careful and detailed estate planning. To accomplish that, many online sources are available that provide astute and appropriate guidance.  Pennsylvania also offers online resources about wills and estate planning. A testator and an estate planner must have a comprehensive knowledge of the estate plan, and each should serve as a check and balance on the other.

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