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Pennsylvania Asset Protection & Estate Planning Blog Will & Trust Attorney Blog For Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees

This blog, which is regularly updated by our estate planning attorneys, strives to keep our clients and potiential clients informed, engaged, and connected to the latest news, trends, and current events regarding Penn. asset protection, inheritance dispute resolution, executor and trustee information, will & trust law, and elder trust law. Learn more abou the estate law issues that affect you most in these short, personal, and candid legal blog posts.


11/21/2009
David M. Frees, III
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When It Comes To Bank and Investment Accounts Less Can Be More

Many clients have too many bank and investment accounts. Keeping track of lose stock certificates and multiple cds and investment accounts can drive up fees, result in lost accounts and information, and make planning almost impossible. When is a lot of accounts too many?

Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

11/15/2009
David M. Frees, III
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When Probate is Good. The Five Times You Really Want To Probate A Will and The Probate Judge Is Your Best Friend

There are times when, as an executor you do not want to avoid probate. There are times when you want to probate a will for your own protection. The probate court can be your best friend if any of these situations arise.

Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

9/29/2009
David M. Frees, III
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Senator Kennedy's will was recently posted.  If you are interested in the contents and a copy of his will as well as a number of estate planning lessons you can learn from Kennedy's planning, please review the will and my article on it.  Click here to see Senator Edward Kennedy's will and my commentary on the strategies that Senator Kennedy used in his estate planning.

Dave Frees on Senator Edward Kennedy's Estate Planning and WillDavid M. Frees III, Esquire
Chairman:  Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees
Trust, Estate, and Wealth Preservation Section


Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

8/24/2009
David M. Frees, III
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Doing a great job as an executor means knowing both what to do and what not to do.  In fact, many executors do not even realize, that they can be help personally reposonsible for certain actions or for the failure to take certain actions.

In an upcoming post, we will be bringing you a list of specific actions that Pennsylvania executors must take in many estates.  But remember, that each estate is different and those estates that hold real estate or a business interest may have a very different to do list than those holding certificates of deposit and a stock and bond portfolio.  In much the same way, and executors job can look very different where two siblings are co-executors than it would where one executor has seven different beneficiaries.

Finally, if a will contains specific bequests, and/or a bequest to charities, the executor might have another whole set of dealines and responsibilities.

In any case, doing a great job as an executor and avoiding personal liability and lawsuits means avoiding the most common mistakes executors make.

For our readers, we have prepared a greta report on the ten most common mistakes that execuotrs make, and how to avoid them.

Click here to read a brief article and to request a copy. The Ten Most Common Mistakes Executors Make and How To Avoid Them.

David M. Frees III
Call 610-933-8069 for a consultation or telephone appointment.

Paralegal/Assistants Donna Brownback, Denise Fox and Tara Walters

Our law offices are located in Chester County Pennsylvania and our estate, will and trust lawyers serve Malvern, Paoli, Devon, Berwyn, Exton, Chester Springs, Gladwyn, Rosemont, Downingtown, West Chester, Phoenixville, King of Prussia and many other local communities.


Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

6/1/2009
David M. Frees, III
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A woman has died and the only will that was able to be found was a copy of a will. Do you turn that into the Probate Court? What does it mean? How do you avoid this probate blunder?

To find out the answers please click here.


Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

4/27/2009
David M. Frees, III
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Death is hard. Disorganized or inefficient estate plans can make death even harder on surviving family members. The best way to avoid more work for your loved ones is to get organized.  If you do not have an estate plan make one. Make sure you tell someone where your will and other important documents are. Make sure your financial documents are in order and able to be found.  Communicate with your family as to where assets are and how to access them.
To read The Mess They Left by Suzanne Barlyne in The Wall Street Journal click here.

Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

4/19/2009
David M. Frees, III
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One of the most important things to executors and to the families of the deceased is to know, in advance, what the costs will be of probate, or to administer a trust or estate even when probate is not involved.   Yet, many law  firms continue to charge on an hourly fee basis, or strictly on the basis of a set of fee guidelines that, in some states, can be as high as six percent of an estate's value.

The problem with these fee guidelines is that they don't reflect the actual involvment and participation of the executor and family memebers who may, in some cases be willing and able to perform certain tasks, while in other estates, the family and executor want and expect a higher level of  service.  Likewise, set guidelines and the lawyers and firms that rely upon them exclusivly, fail to recognize that no two estates are the same and that an estate of $600,000 with two cooperative beneficiaries who are also both executors will likely have fewer legal issues than an estate of the same amount with multiple beneficiaries that do not cooperate.

The problem with hourly charges is that the executor cannot know, up front, what the cost of legal services will be.  Furthermore, executors then feel reluctant to call counsel to ask questions becasue they feel that it will drive the fee up when in fact the answers to those questions may be essential.

The Financial times recently examined this issue in an article on probate fee brokers.   While we don't have probate fee brokers in this country, if you are an executor, it pays to find a firm that will negotiate a flat fee, up front, and commit to that fee in a written fee agreement.

In this way, the executor knows exactly the services to be performed, what the executor must be responsible for, and families with simple asets and high levels of cooperation are rewarded with lower fees.

To get a copy f the Johnson Estate Guidlines, and more information about executors fees and attorney fees in Pennsylvania, click this link for my article :  Read this Before Hiring An Attorney - Attorney and Executor Fees.

For more information about how my firm charges (on a flat fee basis customized to your circumstances) call 610-933-8069 for an appointment of a telephone conference. And for more information about the top mistakes executors make and how to avoid them, click here.


David M. Frees III, Esquire
David Frees' AVVO Rating
Chairman:  Wealth Preservation and Asset Protection Section
Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees
 
David M. Frees III

9.5

Superb

Experience 5
Industry Recognition 3
Professional Conduct 5



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

4/13/2009
David M. Frees, III
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I just posted a very brief article on how important it is to keep records organized, to alert your executor to the location of your will and trusts, and to maintain a method of accessing passwords.  The article also examines the benefits of memos to executors, trustees and family memebers on many topics such as distributing personal effects, distributions from trusts, and more.  There is also a link to a great Wall Strett Journal piece on the same subjects.

Please read more on creating an estate plan that will actually work.

For more information for executors and trustees, order our great report on the 10 Most Common Mistakes Pennsylvania Executors Make and How To Avoid Them or our series of materials on Enhanced Estate Planning.

David M. Frees III, Esquire
Estate Planning, Trust, and Asset Protection Lawyer
Offices in Chester County and serving the State of Pennsylvania
David M Frees III, Esquire
David's AVVO rating is Superb!  Click here for more information.
610-933-8069

David Frees on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/davidfreesesq
David Frees on Facebook: http://www.path.to/FreesOnFacebook/
David Frees on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidfrees
Firm Estate Planning Blog: http://www.utbf.com/trust-estate
Executor and Esate Planning Blog: http://paestateplanners.com/blog
What do clients and lawyers say about David M. Frees III? Click here for more information.



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

3/30/2009
David M. Frees, III
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REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS from IRA accounts:  Remember, in 2009, required minimum distributions for IRA account owners who are 70.5 or older are suspended.  In addition, if you are 70 1/2 or older, you are allowed to make distributions directly from an IRA to a charity (up to $100,000) during the 2009 calendar year.

 For our clients located in Pennsylvania, note that we have receently prepared two great new reports that are available on this web site for delivery to you by email and with a follow-up mailing of hard copies of the report.

The first, The Ten Most Common Mistakes Pennsylvania Executors Make and How To avoid Them, you should get if you are either an executor or, if you are selecting an executor.  The second, on Enhanced Estae Planning is a great resource if you have questions about redoing or updating your wills, trusts, powers of attorney or related estate planning documents.  If you have children and or grandchildren and you are worried about protecting their inheritance from divorce and lawsuits, you should get this report. To order either report, just click the report names below:

The Ten Most Common Mistakes Pennsylvania Executors Make

Enhanced Estate Planning In Pennsylvania

David M. Frees III, Esquire

AVVO Rated Pennsylvaina Estate and Trust Lawyer:  Superb 9.4



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

3/16/2009
David M. Frees, III
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Are you an executor of an estate in Pennsylvania?  Do you know the important facts about legal fees?  Do you know why executors hire counsel?  Do you know that Pennsylvania executors can be held personally liable for certain mistakes? If you want or need legal counsel to do the executor job correctly, efficiently, and cost effectivley, then read this article before you do anything and before you hire an attorney.

Pennsylvania estate attorney David M. Frees III is experienced in the representation of executors including banks, trust companies, and individuals and family memebers named as executors under a will. 

In this brief article david examines the ways in which law firms charge estates, what is best for you, and what is permitted under Pennsylvania law.

Read this before you hire counsel.

David M. Frees III, Esquire

Call one of David's paralegals, his client relations managers, or assitants, Donna, Denise, Tara, Whitney or Matt for a copy of "The Ten Most Common Mistakes Executors Make and How To Avoid Them".  This great resource can really help you to select the right ececutor and to do a great job if you are an executor.

call 610-933-8069 or email me at dfrees@utbf.com fo a copy of an appointment.

Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/27/2009
David M. Frees, III
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FLPs or family limited partnerships have been used by Pennsylvania residents as a sophisticated estate planning technique for years.  And, many Pennsylvania will and probate lawyers have encouraged the use of FLps as a best practice for wealthy clients.  The technique can help control assets, provide for managment of family businesses, and can provide creditor protection from your own creditors and ;itigation against your children and heirs. 

David M frees III as an attorney representing many affluent and moderatly affluent families has been recommending the use of family limited partnerships for all of these reasons.  However, as family limited partnerships have become more mainstream he has also noticed (like many other advisers) that families want to move all of their assets into these vehicles.  However, moving homes, cars, and other personal use assets into family limited partnerships can be a recipe for disaster.

To find out even more about FLPs click here.

David M. Frees III, Esquire

610-933-8069

Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees serving clients in Chester, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and
Delaware counties and with officeis in Phoenixville, Malvern, and West Chester Pa.


Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/23/2009
David M. Frees, III
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We are alwys looking for ways to help you in your estate planning and asset protection needs.  As you know, we also represent many executors and trustees to make sure that the estates and trusts are administered as quickly, efficiently and cost effectivly as possible while still protecting you from laibility.

One great way to provide you with information is for us to answer your questions.  So please feel free to leave a question below as a comment, or to call (610) 933-8069, or email me with questions concerning wills, trusts, estates, death tax avoidance, estate planning , or your questions related to estates and trusts.

We recently posted brief transcripts of me answering these questions:

1. What is a pour over will?
2. How do you prove a holographic or handwritten will?
3. Who should you pick as an executor?

Please also watch this brief video for a littlle more about the questions and answers.

David M. Frees III, Esquire
610-933-8069
To Follow Dave on Twitter just click here.


Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/22/2009
David M. Frees, III
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 The ninth mistake is failing to  promptley file Pennsylvania inheritance tax and federal estate tax return and the Pennsylvania and federal income tax returns for the deceased and for the estate. It is important to file these in a certian amount of time and to have them prepared by a professional. A professional knows the things to avoid and the documentation that is needed. Giving all the information that is needed may save you from getting audited and could even create tax savings.
So, it’s important to know the documentation thats needed and when things are due.

For more information on this topic click here.

David M. Frees III Esq.

610-933-8069

For up to the minute news about estate, asset, and wealth protection planning
and for weekly tips to make your planning work follow David Frees on Twitter
David on Twitter.


































































































































 

 

 

 

 



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/22/2009
David M. Frees, III
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The tenth mistake that Pennsylvannia Executors make is failing to conclude their Estate Administration. To conclude Estate Administation you either have to go through court and have them okay it or to create a faimly settlement agreement.  Many executors simply hand the money out and walk away. Without closing the Estate Administration the executor is liable should anything happen in the future. Going to court is not necessary in most cases. A family settlement agreement is the best way to conclude an Estate Administration. The agreement lets everyone involved in the estate know all of the information from how much the attorney was paid, to the amount everyone was given, to the executors commision.  To limit liabililty and properly conclude an Estate Administration have a family settlement agreement created.

For more information on this topic click here.



David M. Frees III Esq.

610-933-8069

For up to the minute news about estate, asset, and wealth protection planning
and for weekly tips to make your planning work follow David Frees on Twitter
David on Twitter.



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/22/2009
David M. Frees, III
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The bonus questions are real questions that people often have about Estate Administration. Learn what a pour over will is , find out how to make sure a will is authentic, and   figure out who to name as executor of your estate. These are important questions that you should know the answer to.

For more information click on the links above.



David M. Frees III Esq.

610-933-8069

For up to the minute news about estate, asset, and wealth protection planning
and for weekly tips to make your planning work follow David Frees on Twitter
David on Twitter.



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/21/2009
David M. Frees, III
Comments (0)
 The seventh mistake executors make is failing to advertise the estate administration. The law requires that the appointment of the executor and the existence of the estate be advertised. One reason this is done is that if there were debts owed, that the creditors would come forward and make their claim. This is important because if you do not advertise in your  local newspaper and in the legal newspaper for your county you can be liable for many years after you have distributed the assets. In essence if you do not advertise you are held liable for any outstanding debts that come to fruition. Make sure you advertise your estate administration so years from now you do not wind up owing money that you no longer have.

For more information on this topic click here.



David M. Frees III Esq.

610-933-8069

For up to the minute news about estate, asset, and wealth protection planning
and for weekly tips to make your planning work follow David Frees on Twitter
David on Twitter.



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration

2/21/2009
David M. Frees, III
Comments (0)
The eighth mistake is getting help too late. If you have been an executor already you know that it can be a time consuming, emotinally draining, and trying experience without help. If you have not been an executor all the more reason to get help. The main reason to have accounting and legal help is to limit your liability exposure. There are legal minefields out there and it is the role of your legal and accounting advisors to help you safely navigate through the minefields.

For more information on this topic click here.



David M. Frees III Esq.

610-933-8069

For up to the minute news about estate, asset, and wealth protection planning
and for weekly tips to make your planning work follow David Frees on Twitter
David on Twitter.



Category: Keyword Search: Estate Administration