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McClellan Legal LLC Estate Planning & Tax Assessment Blog

Monday, June 18, 2018

Do Mom & Dad Have a Will? Don't Wait to Ask.


It is often considered a little taboo to discuss estate planning with your parents.  Even if you do not consider it taboo, some find it awkward to bring up a topic with family members that focuses on incapacity, death, and money.  Some people ask their parents about estate planning and get a simple answer in return...


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Monday, June 18, 2018

Don't Make Estate Planning's Biggest Mistake


When developing your estate plan, I do not recommend following Ron Popeil’s catchphrase of “Set it and forget it!”  Estate planning requires a coordinated effort of drafting and reviewing various documents to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.   One of the biggest makes in estate planning is not completing/updating your beneficiary designation forms for life insurance, retirement accounts, etc. 

Beneficiary Designations for Non-Probate Assets

Most people are aware of the importance of executing a will to distribute their assets to their loved ones.  Assets that pass via your will are distributed via a court supervised process known as probate.  These probate assets include all property individually owned by the deceased that do not include a designated survivorship interest.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Four Planning Musts for Parents of Minor Children


Estate planning for minor children is critical for young families.  However, must people don’t know where to start to ensure that their family is protected.  There are four major issues that need to be addressed: 1.) select a guardian, 2.) select a trustee to manage the child’s inheritance, 3.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Living Will: How is it Different from a Will?


Many people ask me to explain the difference between a Living Will and a Will. They are two completely different documents and address different issues. A Will is only implemented when you pass away and allows you to select the beneficiaries of your estate, the executor of your estate, and name guardians for any minor children. A Will also allows you to describe how and when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance.

A Living Will is a health care document that allows you to retain control over whether you want your life to be prolonged using artificial means when you are incapacitated and have a terminal condition or are permanently unconscious.
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

How to Minimize the Tax Burden on Your Estate

One of the most common goals of my estate planning clients is to minimize the tax burden on their estate.  There are two potential taxing authorities that we consider when minimizing your estate tax burden: the federal government and your state government.  To minimize the tax burden, it’s important to understand how your estate is taxed.


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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Five Ways to Reduce Your Property Taxes

There are at least five potential ways to reduce your property tax burden including: filing an annual or interim property tax appeal, claiming a homestead exclusion, filing for Act 319 (Clean & Green) reduction, a reduction based on low income, and a reduction for disabled veterans.


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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Disinheriting Someone: Things to Consider


There are situations that arise when your estate plan may include specifically disinheriting someone.  My clients have mentioned several reasons to disinherit an individual, including: an estranged relationship with the individual, the individual is financially irresponsible, or the individual is already financially better off than other potential beneficiaries.  Of course, there are many other reasons that a person may be disinherited. 

Who Is Disinherited?

Who are the usual disinheriting targets?  There is no need to disinherit someone that wouldn’t naturally receive an inheritance at your death.  Disinheriting targets are those that stand to lose out if you move forward with a new Will.


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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Protecting Your Spouse with Estate Planning

My clients tell me that protecting the financial well-being of their spouse is one of their most important planning objectives.  Clients are often concerned with ensuring that sufficient assets go to their spouse and ensuring that their spouse has the experience to confidently manage the assets.  Estate planning can solve these issues to protect a surviving spouse.

Ensure Transfer of Assets to Your Surviving Spouse

In many states (including Pennsylvania), a surviving spouse may not automatically receive all the assets owned by a deceased spouse.  For assets that are jointly owned by both spouses, this is not usually an issue.


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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Five Myths of Estate Planning in 2018

There are numerous myths associated with estate planning and I have listed five that I commonly see in my practice. 

Myth #1

I do not need estate planning because I’m not wealthy, sick, or old.  This is by far the most common estate planning myth and it is simply not true.  If you have people in your life that you care about, then you need estate planning.  Most of the time estate planning is not about the money.


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Thursday, January 4, 2018

When Should You Update Your Will

Clients often ask me when they should update their Will?  My answer is that a Will should be updated when circumstances change, which could be after one week or five years.  I like to compare a Will to a new house.  On the day that you purchase your new home it appears perfect (if well-constructed).  Likewise, on the day that you sign your Will, it should be optimal (if you had comprehensive planning).  However, in the same way a house deteriorates over time, your Will is likely to become less effective as your life changes.


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Planning for Your Young Adult Child’s Incapacity


Once your children turn 18, being a parent does not automatically grant you the right to access their health care and financial information.  In the eyes of the law, your 18+ year old child is an “adult” despite their actual maturity level.  With adulthood comes certain privacy rights and independence.  All adults, even young adults, have the power to appoint individuals to assist them with health care and financial decision making via properly executed power of attorney documents.  With a little planning, your children can name you as their health care and financial agent.
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McClellan Legal LLC is located in Kennett Square and serves clients throughout the areas of Avondale, Chadds Ford, Coatesville, Downingtown, Landenberg, Oxford, Phoenixville, Pottstown, West Chester, & West Grove. We also serve the following towns in Lancaster County: Lancaster, Lititz, Strasburg,Millersville, Ephrata, Leola, Manheim, New Holland, Willow Street, Quarryville, Elizabethtown and Mountville.



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113 South Broad Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348
| Phone: 610-444-5552

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