Wyomissing, Pennsylvania Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

What does it mean to be a fiduciary?

When making a will, creating a trust or sometimes simply investing your money, you may come across someone using the term “fiduciary.” What does it mean?

A fiduciary is an entity – a bank, attorney, title firm, stock broker, financial advisor or others – who acts in the best interests of their client in situations that require total trust and honesty. For example, a fiduciary financial advisor can buy and sell securities on your behalf without your consent.

Breaking a franchise contract early may be hard to do

You can never be sure how long you will stay in business. Sometimes you just do not find it feasible to keep running your company and you want out. However, if you run a franchise in Pennsylvania, a swift and easy exit may not be in the cards. In fact, if you have not planned for an exit strategy, it could cost you a lot of money to end your franchise prematurely. So if you are considering starting a franchise, think about how you can get out of your franchise if you want to.

Marketwatch recommends that people who are looking to buy into a franchise should examine the contract for clauses that address how to leave the franchise. Some contracts specify a fixed period of time for the contract to be in effect. You want to be sure that your contract does not require you to pay a fee for breaking the contract early.

What happened to your student loans after your death?

There are some things in life that you wish you could take with you when you die, and then there are those things you will be happy to leave behind. One of the things you probably will not be sad to say goodbye to is your student loan debt. However, you may worry that your death will transfer that liability to your loved ones in Pennsylvania. This is a valid concern since it seems many of us will have student loan debt following us into our golden years.

According to ABC News, it is most likely that when you die, your student loan debt will go away. To begin with, the law makes it impossible for the lenders to go after your loved ones for the money unless one f them was a co-signer. If you have a co-signer, that person very well could become liable. Also, if you have loans from private lenders as opposed to federal education loans, these lenders may try to go after your estate to recoup the debt.

Starting a solo business in PA

It is natural for an enterprising individual to consider starting their own business. The ability to be your own boss, to control your own products, make your own schedule and set your own goals are very attractive to many people. One of the best ways to begin your journey down this path is to create your own sole proprietorship.

In an earlier blog we discussed the process of starting a business with a partner. Going in with a partner has its benefits, but it can lead to disagreements. Additionally, forming a multi-person business entity, such as a limited liability company (LLC) can quickly become complicated and expensive. By contrast, a sole proprietorship leaves all the power with you and are usually extremely simple to set up.

January bring on divorce season

Marriage can be hard and as we know, not all of them work out. And throughout the year, marriages end for many reasons. According to the American Psychological Association, the divorce rate in the United States is anywhere from 40 to 50 percent.

While divorce filings happen in all months of the year, attorneys’ offices see a surge in divorce inquiries and filings starting in January and continuing through March. The first Monday after the holidays brings an uptick in divorce traffic for attorneys with a lot of requests to start the process. Not all will end up filing, but there are many questions about how to begin the process and how it will work.

Mistakes executors make

Being asked to be the executor of a will is an honor–someone believes that you are trustworthy, responsible and competent. However, since the job comes with many important legal responsibilities, it can also be a challenge. To complicate things, an executor is often a trusted family member who in addition to trying to settle the estate, may be dealing with their own emotions from the death.

Many executors underestimate the responsibilities ahead of them and the job can be overwhelming. At the time of a death, a person’s assets and property become part of an estate. The assigned executor is responsible for following the wishes set forth in the will and administering the estate including, among other things, distributing assets and paying off debts or taxes.

Before beginning a business together

Getting started in a new business is an exciting time. You may already have someone who has been by your side while you have gotten started or you may be feeling the need to bring someone along so to make your workload easier.

Choosing a partner for your new business can be tricky. While you may feel obligated to choose a certain person who has been a friend and confidant through the early stages, that person may not be best suited for your business and the goals you have. Here's what to consider before creating a formal partnership.

How both contested and uncontested divorces work

Pennsylvanian residents have numerous options available to them when it comes to calling it quits with a significant other. Today, we will take a look at two: uncontested and contested divorces. Each one can benefit different couples in unique ways, though they also have their own drawbacks.

Make the terms of your financial trust clear

The specter of divorce leads many Pennsylvania couples to fear for their money or property. Can they safeguard their belongings from being divided up in a divorce? The dividing line between separate and marital property is not always clear. Putting your assets in an irrevocable financial trust is one way to possibly avoid losing them in a divorce, just as long as the terms of that trust are clear.

Avoiding the inheritance tax

There are several potential ways to avoid or minimize the burden of Pennsylvania's inheritance tax on a given estate, but all of them are specific to a certain set of conditions. Some of the most prevalent current strategies include establishing trusts, giving to tax-exempt entities and carefully choosing heirs.

Trusts are usually the tools that afford the highest level of control over estate assets. These alternative wealth-management structures largely bypass inheritance taxes in various ways, by separating control and ownership, for example. 

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