Make things easier on your family by making the decisions that matter, while you still can.
We can help you with a Will, a Living Will and more.
When your family needs help, we’ll be there for them.
The administration of an estate is a big job that can be complicated, time-consuming and even overwhelming, especially in the aftermath of losing a loved one. For the will to be valid, there are very specific laws that must be followed and relying on an experienced lawyer can make the process much easier.
Our lawyers can locate and manage assets, handle discrepancies, find and contact beneficiaries, pay debts, wrap up finances and other affairs, and help ensure that the wishes of the deceased are followed properly. Give us a call today so we can provide you with the best legal aid in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s a Living Will?
A Living Will, or Advance Healthcare Directive, allows you to make your wishes known in regards to medical treatment and life-prolonging actions, if you are no longer able speak for yourself. A Living Will sets out, in black and white, exactly what you have decided for your future.
In addition to providing clarity to healthcare personnel, having a Living Will on file is one of the last gifts you can give to your family. By relieving family members of the responsibilities of making critical, life-and-death decisions, you also lift any possible burden of guilt that might come with those actions, however necessary they might be.
What’s a Healthcare Proxy or a Healthcare Power of Attorney?
These legal documents let you name a person who can make healthcare decisions for you, in the event that you’re incapacitated and have been rendered unable make those decisions or communicate them properly.
I want your help, but I’m in the hospital. What now?
Our lawyers will come to you, whether you’re in the hospital, unable to leave your home or are confined to hospice. Simply call us and we’ll be there at a time that’s convenient for you. Feel free to invite family members to attend the meeting. It will give them an opportunity to ask questions and get answers about what lies ahead.
What happens to my belongings if I die without a will?
Different states have different laws in regards to this issue. In Pennsylvania, the state will give your assets to your closest relative, if there is one, according to a predetermined list. The individual will receive everything in your estate, and can distribute it in any way he or she sees fit. Even if you’ve previously informed your family of how you want your belongings and assets allocated, the final decision rests with that designated beneficiary. He or she can choose to honor your wishes, or not.
Preparing a Will allows you the opportunity to really think through how you want to handle beneficiaries, property distribution and any personal gifts you may wish to make. Our experienced attorneys can draft a will that meets the state’s legal requirements so that, after your death, it can be executed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you don’t have any living relatives, think about leaving your assets to friends or a charity that matters to you, otherwise, with no relatives and no will, the state will seize your assets.
How do I choose an Executor?
First and foremost, an Executor should be someone you trust. The person should be able to spend the proper amount of time to work through what can be a lengthy process, capable of ironing out differences amongst family members or other beneficiaries, and equipped to offer equitable solutions if in fact there are disagreements.
Being an executor can be time-consuming and is often daunting. Someone who is already skilled at doing paperwork and dealing with organizations, like banks and accountants, may find it easier than a person who is less comfortable with those tasks.
As your loved one will also be dealing with grief at your passing, fulfilling the duties of an Executor will require him or her to assume quite a bit of responsibility and put out a lot of effort during an already stressful time. At The Law Offices of Matthew Kelly Associates, our seasoned estate lawyers can help your Executor deal with whatever legal and tax issues arise.
What is a Trust and why would I want one?
A Trust is basically an agreement that gives assets to a beneficiary or beneficiaries, under specified conditions. There are many different kinds of Trusts and the laws can be convoluted, but setting up a Trust has many tangible benefits. In general, it gives you the kind of flexibility that a Will alone simply can’t provide.
A Trust lets you determine, in a finely detailed and possibly conditional manner, exactly how your assets are to be transferred. You can specify beneficiaries, disbursement timelines, and contingencies, such as a percentage of funds remaining available for your use if you become incapacitated with the balance passing to a beneficiary.
A properly prepared Trust may also help your beneficiaries avoid probate, one of the steps involved in executing a Will. It may also help reduce the amount of money your estate will pay in estate taxes.
Once a Will is executed, it becomes a public document and resides in the public domain. If you have sensitive or personal issues that need to be addressed, a Trust is the preferred method of ensuring that your wishes remain private.
We are here for the people of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton through their hardest of times.
At the the Law Offices of Matthew Kelly Associates, we’ll put you first. Schedule your free consultation today! Call us at 570.714.1205. See how our experience in legal aid can make a difference, and we will provide you with the best lawyers around. We serve the areas of Lackawanna and Luzerne County.