Estate Planning for Married Couples
It is critically important to develop an integrated Estate Plan for husband and wife to accurately reflect the needs and goals of each family. A "cookie-cutter" approach simply does not work. In many instances, the Wills for husband and wife are mirror opposites of each other. Within this type of Estate Plan, we are planning for the death of the first spouse, subsequently followed by the death of the second spouse. Or course, there is no magic crystal ball and we do not know when were are going to pass on or who will pass away first. Most married couple's Wills are structured so that 100% of the Estate will pass on to the surviving spouse, and only after both spouses pass away, there is a consistent distribution plan and an inheritance is designated for other beneficiaries such as children, grandchildren, other family members and friends or charities. Under the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax structure, there is a 0% inheritance tax for the surviving spouse. Accordingly, if the Estate is designed that 100% goes to the surviving spouse, we typically do not have to file for Probate upon the death of the first spouse, but must file for Probate upon the death of the second spouse. In other circumstances, there may be a very good reason why a child or someone else should receive a partial inheritance upon the death of the first spouse. In these cases, it will be necessary to file for Probate upon the death of the first spouse. It quickly is apparent why a simple computer algorithmic program cannot explore all complexities and why an experienced Elder Law attorney is needed to provide advice to a married couple. Scott is happy to take the time to sit down with you and explain all of this in detail, please call (610) 374-5841 to schedule an appointment.