McClellan Legal LLC Estate Planning & Tax Assessment Blog

Friday, January 17, 2020

How the SECURE Act Impacts Your Retirement Planning

In late December, 2019, The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was signed into law and became effective in early January, 2020. The SECURE Act contains both benefits and drawbacks that may lead you to reconsider your retirement planning.


The SECURE Act increases the forced withdrawal age from 70.5 to 72 years old. This means that you can wait an extra year and a half before taking out any money from your retirement accounts, unless you have reached age 70.
Read more . . .

Friday, January 17, 2020

Top Five Triggers for Updating Your Will in 2020

Many people neglect to occasionally review their estate planning documents after its execution. However, your Will should be updated when your personal circumstances change, which could happen at any time.  The passage of time in itself is not a trigger to change your Will.  Your Will is like your home: if properly maintained, your home will last a very long time.  Likewise, if properly updated, your Will can also have a greater longevity.
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Friday, November 22, 2019

Isn't Estate Planning Only For The Wealthy?

Many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy.  The fact is that everyone over 18 years old, despite whether they are married, have children, or have a large net worth, will benefit from preparing at least a basic estate plan.  You will want an estate plan in place in case you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, or unable to make these decisions or care for yourself due to various mental and physical issues. If estate planning is beneficial for everyone, what is estate planning?

There are a few basic documents that everyone needs.  A basic estate plan includes a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will.
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Friday, November 22, 2019

Do Your Parents Have an Estate Plan?

Discussing estate planning can be difficult, or even avoided, due to the heaviness of the topic. Those who do speak with their parents regarding estate planning may get a simple answer in return, such as: "Don't worry, we took care of that years ago!"  or "It's all settled, there's no need to worry."  

However, it is important to understand children’s concern regarding their parents’ estate planning because a parent’s lack of planning will negatively impact their children. Typically, children are called upon to help their parents during their incapacity and to administer their estate.  Without proper estate planning, children will be burdened with unnecessary delays, costs, taxes, and stress.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Five Essential Documents for Estate Planning

During our initial call, our new clients commonly ask us to draft only a Will. We like to explain to our clients that estate planning is more than one document. Instead, you will need a few documents that work together to best express your wishes and achieve your estate planning goals. Our basic estate planning includes a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. The last essential document is the Beneficiary Designation Form, which you obtain from the bank.
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Friday, October 18, 2019

Are your Out-of-State Estate Planning Documents Still Valid?

People move from one state to another for a myriad of reasons: better education for their children, job relocation, retirement, etc. Moving can be stressful and all-encompassing. Once you have settled into your new home, you may believe that the moving process has been completed. However, you should consider updating your estate planning documents to reflect your move.

If your Will was properly executed in one state (e.
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Friday, September 27, 2019

Retirement Accounts and the SECURE Act

Earlier this summer, the United States House of Representatives passed The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act almost unanimously. However, the Senate has not made the decision to pass this bill yet. The SECURE Act, if passed as it is currently written, may lead you to reconsider your retirement planning.

One of the most important ways the SECURE Act may help you is by altering the forced withdrawal age from 70.5 to 72 years old.
Read more . . .

Friday, September 27, 2019

Planning For Your Child's Inheritance

One of the biggest decisions that people need to make when drafting their estate planning documents is determining how and when their children or grandchildren will receive their inheritance.  The law requires that a minor child’s inheritance be managed in a trust until they reach adulthood, usually 18 or 21 years old depending on the state in which you reside. Then, the issue arises when the child reaches that age. It may not be wise to give your young adult child full access to all of your assets, which includes retirement accounts, life insurance payouts, home equity, etc.  If you do not execute effective estate planning documents, this is exactly what will happen.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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. Some of the biggest mistakes in estate planning is not completing or updating your beneficiary designation forms for life insurance, retirement accounts, and so on. 

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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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Solving the Second Home Problem

During the summer, many people enjoy spending time at their vacation home.   However, most people do not consider how to best protect these assets, especially if these properties are in another state. With proper estate planning, you can simplify the probate process and protect your assets for your beneficiaries.

If you own a property outside of the state in which you reside, you may want to consider having a Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust exists during your lifetime and after your death.

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Who's Taking Care of Your Pet?

All pet owners want to make sure that their pets receive the best care no matter what. But what happens to pets when the owner dies? With some planning, you may be able to decide what happens to your pet and who will be the caretaker. The following are a few choices for you to consider:

  1. Pet Trusts

    Pennsylvania gives its citizens the option to set up a trust to care for their pets that remains active until the death of the animal. A pet trust would allow the owner to choose who cares for the pet and give that person the funds to do so. Creating a pet trust may be necessary for many pet owners as the pets would otherwise be treated like personal property and would therefore not be eligible to receive a portion of your estate for their care.

Read more . . .

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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.

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113 South Broad Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348
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