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60 West Broad Street, Suite 98 Bethlehem, PA 18018
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A will is a legal document that states your intentions regarding your home, money and other assets (your estate) when you die. It also identifies who you want to handle your estate, how you want your assets divided and who you want to be the guardian of your minor children. Should you die without a will, state laws will control how your assets are disposed of and who will receive them.
Other legal documents including a durable power of attorney or advanced health care directive-living will are also recommended.
A durable power of attorney gives a person or persons of your choice the legal authority to act in your place in the event that you are unable. Should you become incapacitated and not have a durable power of attorney, your financial affairs cannot be taken care of by another unless your assets are jointly held with that person, or the court appoints a guardian to act on your behalf.
A living will allows you to retain control over whether your life should be prolonged by use of artificial means in the event you become incompetent and have a terminal condition or are in a permanent vegetative state. Otherwise, your spouse, next of kin, medical provider, or in some extreme cases, the court, will make such decisions.
Estate planning is the process of considering the way assets are titled, taxes that will be due upon death, and the manner in which beneficiaries will receive your assets.
Probate is the procedure used by the courts to prove that a Will is valid and genuine before authorizing the distribution of assets provided for under the Will. Probate also covers the ongoing jurisdiction of a person’s estate including the collection of assets, payment of debts and the distribution of the remainder to the deceased person’s heirs.
Estate administration of a deceased person’s estate. It is the procedure following the probate of a person's estate whether they die with or without a Will. The procedure is carried out by the executor/executrix under a will or by an administrator if no executor/executrix is named. However, most executors or administrators hire a lawyer to handle the actual process of administration.
Fees: For Estate Administration fees are based on a percentage of the gross estate (Lehigh and Northampton Counties), otherwise on an hourly basis. For all estates valued at $150,000 or less, fees are based on the hourly rate. Estate planning documents our fees are based on a flat fee. More complex estate planning may involve an hourly rate as well.
Real estate law covers a wide range of legal matters involving real property such as leases, sales, mortgages, deed preparation and filing, agreements of sale, listing agreements, claims against real estate, and disputes arising from the sale or ownership of real property.
Our real estate practice is limited to the review and preparation of documents relating to real estate, the assistance of buyers and sellers, and claims for personal injury or property damages arising from real property. We are not Title Agents, but can arrange for and assist in real estate closings on behalf of buyers. Some of the services provided in this area are the following:
Preparation and recording of Deeds and Mortgages
Drafting and review of Agreements of Sale
Representation of buyers or sellers in real estate transactions
Preparation of residential and commercial leases
Representing landlords or tenants in lease disputes, including evictions
Claims involving defects to real estate
Fees: Most real estate fees based on the hourly rate. However, the preparation of documents such as Deeds or Agreements of Sale are done on a flat fee basis.