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Schimmerling Law Offices

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  • From Law Office of Michael J. Giangrieco

    Is the Executor required to notify other family members as part of the probate process?

    An important component of the probate process is obtaining the written consents of “distributees” – those people who would inherit the decedent’s estate if there was no will. In most cases, this means the decedent’s spouse and children, or if none, then decedent’s parents or siblings. This is the case even if the so called distributes are not mentioned in the will. If the distributees will not sign a written consent, then a citation must be obtained from the court and served on the distributee. The court then sets a return date where the person has a chance to file objections to the will.

  • From Law Office of Michael J. Giangrieco

    Will my estate (my property) be subject to tax when I die?

    There is a special tax, called either the estate tax (in NY) or inheritance tax (in PA), that may apply to an estate based upon the value of the assets you own when you die. Basically, a “snapshot” is taken of your assets as of the date of death. The assets are then valued based upon their “fair market value”. “Fair market value” is not what you paid for the assets, but what you could obtain if you sold the assets to an unrelated buyer. Certain deductions apply, the most important being the marital deduction for anything that passes to the surviving spouse. In New York, the net estate (after deductions) must exceed $1 million before the tax applies. The tax is at a rate of 6% to 12% of the value of the entire estate (not just the excess over $1 million). In Pennsylvania, anything passing to a spouse is not subject to tax, but children and grandchildren pay an inheritance tax of 4.5%, parents, brothers and sisters pay an inheritance tax of 12%, and unrelated beneficiaries pay an inheritance tax of 15%. Unlike in New York, there is not a $1 million floor. There also is a federal estate tax, with a 40% rate, but it only applies if the estate exceeds $5 million. As part of the estate planning process, we explore various options that may be available to minimize the estate tax.

  • From Schimmerling Law Offices

    After an Accident: When to Use a Lawyer

    If you've been in a car or other accident, one of the key questions you will have is: "Do I need a lawyer?" The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the seriousness of the accident and severity of your injuries.

    There are times when you may not need a lawyer's help after an accident. If you were in a minor fender bender and are sure you were not hurt, you may not need a lawyer's help.

    But for most other times after an accident, it is vital to have a lawyer's help. If there is a dispute over fault, it is important to speak to an attorney. If you suffered serious injuries from the accident, you should definitely consult a lawyer. Even if your injuries are small, you should still talk to a lawyer because some serious injuries take time to develop.

    One reason why it's vital to talk to a lawyer after an accident is because of the way insurance companies operate. An accident victim who deals directly with an insurance adjuster is taking on a huge risk. Insurance companies are in business to make money. One way they do this is to lower the amount they pay for claims, including your claim. They will try many tactics to do this, as they know you are inexperienced in handling accident claims. Having a lawyer help you deal with an adjuster gives you a much better chance to get a large settlement.

    There are other reasons why you should use a lawyer after an accident. Your lawyer can explain your rights and duties, and tell you how much money you are entitled to receive. In addition, some claims have special rules. Not following them can cause you to lose your claim.

    Maybe you are not only the victim, but are also accused of causing an accident. Your lawyer can help show if your "fault" was only small, to limit your liability. Your lawyer can also find out if you have insurance that will pay the claim or if someone else should share the responsibility.

    As the above shows, in most cases you should have a lawyer's help after an accident, especially if you were hurt. Having a lawyer's help will increase your chances of getting the best settlement and make sure you don't become another victim of insurance company misconduct.

  • From Battisti & Garzo, PC

    I’ve been arrested. What do I do?

    We're here for you when you need us --24 hours a day--7 days a week. With our experienced criminal defense team on your side, you won't have to worry. Our team is highly qualified to handle any type of criminal case, whether it's a felony, misdemeanor, or violation. Call us at 877-724-8529

  • From Law Office of Michael J. Giangrieco

    How soon will the beneficiaries of an Estate receive a distribution from an Executor?

    The Executor must make sure that most if not all of the estate expenses and debts of the decedent are paid before any payments to beneficiaries are made. Included in this list are (i) funeral and burial expenses, (ii) income, estate and inheritance estate taxes, (iii)credit card bills, mortgages, and health care bills, and (iv) court fees and attorney fees. Accordingly, the Executor must take care of a great deal of expenses and bills before distributions can be made. We do not want an Executor to make premature payments to beneficiaries and then leave himself or herself short. As a rule of thumb we help the Executor to be in a position to make significant partial distributions to the heirs within seven to nine months of the date of death, and to have final distributions completed within one to two years.