From their office in Montrose, Pennsylvania, Attorney Michael J. Giangrieco together with his four associates brings several decades of professional legal experience to the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York. From Family Law and real estate law to estate planning, oil and gas planning and personal injury, the attorneys and staff at Giangrieco Law are experienced and prepared to exceed your expectations. You will be guided every step of the way from initial consultation all the way through the entire legal process.
Wilbur D. (Bud) Dahlgren, Esq., one of Michael’s associates and the attorney appearing on “Lawyers on Call,” joined Michael’s law firm in April 2012. He has been an attorney since 1984, and is licensed to assist clients in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. His practice areas include wills and trusts; estate planning and administration; elder law; oil and gas planning; LLC and partnership planning; business succession planning; and tax-exempt organizations.
Bud is a member of the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, the Florida State Bar Association, the Susquehanna County Bar Association, and the New York State Bar Association Trusts and Estates Law Section and the Elder Law Section. He has been a frequent speaker for community organizations, local businesses and the state and local Bar on topics such as estate planning, long term medical care planning, elder law, planned giving and changes in the tax law.
Bud resides in Binghamton, New York with his wife Elizabeth, a recently retired economics professor, and his son Jeffrey is attending Syracuse University College of Law.
Bud’s educational background is as follows:
Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude- State University of New York at Cortland-1979
Jurist Doctorate, magna cum laude- Syracuse University- 1982
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.
Do I need a Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy?
These forms allow you to choose who will handle your financial affairs and health related decisions if you become incapacitated. Each state has its own Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy forms. The forms have a place for your name and address and the name and address of your primary “agent”. We suggest that you also name an alternate “agent” in case the primary agent cannot serve. The Power of Attorney form authorizes the agent to manage your assets, cash checks, pay bills, and sign pertinent forms on your behalf. The Health Care Proxy authorizes the agent to make health care decisions on your behalf, after consulting with your physician, regarding courses of treatment, medications, hospital stays, and the like. You can elect to give the agent the ability to make “life sustaining” treatment decisions. As with your will, we suggest using a lawyer to prepare these forms so that the state specific form provisions and execution requirements are satisfied.
Do You Have Enough Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Auto accidents involving drivers with no insurance or too little insurance are common. Victims of these accidents are often shocked to learn that they will recover little, if any, money for their injuries and losses. Fortunately, there is an inexpensive way for most people to avoid this tragic situation by having enough uninsured and underinsured motorists insurance. Here is a brief explanation of each.
* Uninsured motorists insurance. This protects you in the event a person who causes an accident and injures you has no insurance or is a hit-and-run driver. It lets you collect money from your own insurance company for your injuries and losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and money for pain and suffering.
To benefit from this valuable protection, you must have it as part of your auto insurance policy.
Uninsured motorists insurance can be one of the best auto coverages you buy, as it provides a great deal ofprotection and usually at a low cost.
* Underinsured motorists insurance. This protects you in the event a driver injures you and does not have enough insurance to pay for all your injuries and losses. For example, he or she may carry only the minimum amount of insurance required by law, but it may not be enough to cover all your injuries and losses. Your underinsured motorists insurance will protect you so that you will be fully compensated for your injuries and losses (up to the amount of your coverage).
Underinsured motorists insurance also must be part of your own auto insurance policy. It is also usually inexpensive. You should immediately review your auto insurance policies to make sure you have enough uninsured and underinsured motorists insurance. These types of insurance can make the difference between recovering money for all your injuries and losses in the event of a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you have any questions about these or other auto coverages, contact your lawyer.
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
What are my rights as a client of Battisti & Garzo, P.C.?