Featured Professional

Wills & Estate Planning

Coughlin & Gerhart

Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP is organized into seven basic Practice Groups: Business and Banking Law, Labor and Employment Law, Litigation, Workers’ Compensation & Disability, Public Law, Real Estate, and Trusts and Estates. Complex matters within each practice area are supervised by lawyers experienced in the type of matter being handled.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    How does the $14,000 annual exclusion work?

    Let’s say that a couple wants to annually gift some funds into a trust for the future education of their 2 children.

    Using the annual gift tax exclusion, each spouse can contribute up to $14,000 for each child. Therefore, up to $28,000 can be put into each child’s trust ($14,000 per each parent) for a total of $56,000 each year without any tax consequences. Of course, this is the maximum – smaller gifts are fine, as long as the total for the year, per person, does not exceed $14,000.

    A series of annual gifts using the annual gift tax exclusion can significantly reduce the size of the parent’s estate, thereby significantly reducing estate taxes or inheritance taxes that may be owed when they die.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    What are some of the tax benefits of lifetime gifting to family members or other possible heirs?

    By making gifts prior to death, in the proper manner, a person can reduce the estate taxes and inheritance taxes payable when they die.

    When a person dies, the decedent’s estate may owe both federal estate tax and a state level estate or inheritance tax.

    If a person dies in New York, his or her estate could be subject to the NY estate tax and the federal estate tax. If a person dies in Pennsylvania, then Pennsylvania inheritance tax may be owed.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    Gifting can reduce estate and inheritances taxes. Can you provide some more details about that?

    Estate and inheritance taxes are generally based upon the values of a decedent’s estate on the date they die, so that the gifts of assets done properly prior to death may reduce the size of the estate and inheritance taxes that may be owed.

    However, for the gifting to reduce taxes, the gifts in some cases, should be kept within certain limits.

    For example, gifts of up to $14,000 per person, per year, may be the best way to structure gifting. The $14,000 represents the annual gift tax exclusion.

  • From Coughlin & Gerhart

    Why is lifetime gifting such an important part of the estate planning process?

    There are several benefits to lifetime gifting that we will be covering in detail over the next few segments.

    There are estate tax benefits, income tax benefits, and Medicaid planning benefits that can be achieved by a person making gifts to their heirs while they are still alive rather than waiting until they die to make bequests.

  • From Schimmerling Law Offices

    The Value of Having a Personal Injury Lawyer

    If you get in an accident and want to make a claim, one of the first things you have to decide is whether to use a lawyer, or whether to make a claim against the wrongdoer and his or her insurance company yourself. For many reasons, if you are hurt in an accident, you should get a lawyer's help rather than try to do it yourself. Here are some of the main reasons.

    • You can get a free consultation to discuss and evaluate your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you how strong your case is. Also, because a lawyer knows the many different things that accident victims can recover money for, you can get a good idea about how much money you're legally entitled to recover.
    • Your lawyer can help you on related matters. For example, your lawyer can recommend doctors who are specialists for treating your injuries and refer you to car repair facilities.
    • You need someone on your side who's experienced in dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies have many people working for them. Often, they'll try to avoid or delay paying valid claims, or offer unfairly low amounts to settle claims. Accident victims need someone to assert their rights to get what they are legally entitled to. An experienced personal injury lawyer, who knows how insurance companies work, is the best person to do this.
    • You pay only if you win. A key benefit of using a lawyer for personal injury claims is the contingency fee. A contingency fee is a fee that's paid only if you win. It is typically paid out of the recovery. Contingency fees are great because they let anyone who has a good case get legal help. Because of contingency fees, accident victims who don't have much money can win claims against large insurance companies.
    • You will likely get more money. For most accident victims, this is the main reason for using a lawyer. A study was done which shows that auto accident victims who use lawyers receive about 25% more money than those who do not use lawyers even after deducting all costs.
    If you needed surgery, you would not operate on yourself. The same concept holds true in law if you are hurt in an accident, you should seek a professional's help. Not only will a lawyer make recovering damages a lot easier, but you'll have a better chance of recovering money, and you'll likely get more money.