William J. Benz, Attorney at Law
Probate, Estates, Business and Real Estate Of Counsel to Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy and O'Connell, LLP
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Bucks County Probate And Estate Law Blog

Executor duties: sometimes more complex, challenging than envisioned

Perhaps you've just been asked by a family member or close friend to be the executor of that individual's estate. Many people feel flattered by such a request and quickly agree to assume the responsibilities.

How-to estate planning during notably uncertain times

“There may be some things out of your control right now, but your estate plan isn’t one of them.”

That is a sentiment candidly conveyed in a recent Kiplinger article, and one we solidly agree with at the established Southampton estate planning law firm of William J. Benz.

Timely family involvement in estate planning

If you’re a would-be Pennsylvania estate planner who has thus far procrastinated on crafting a tailored and well-executed strategy, the reason for your successive starts and stalls might well reside with your family.

It’s a complex unit, right? Most families are.

Trusts: a favored estate planning tool for many reasons

Trusts in the estate planning realm run the gamut from simple to complex. They can promote beneficiaries’ interests in a narrowly focused way or across broad terrain. They might reasonably seem to lack pronounced utility for some planners, yet be tools of great significance for many estates.

Three strategies if an executor is not doing their job

When you lose a parent, you expect to experience grief, confusion and sadness. What you don’t expect is to lose faith in the executor: the person they entrusted with their affairs.

In Pennsylvania, expect at least a year to settle an uncomplicated estate. If the executor is negligent, greedy or otherwise irresponsible, the proceedings could draw on for much longer. If you sense something going wrong, it’s important to act expeditiously.

How to select an executor

Writing an estate plan is the first step toward securing property and making sure your wishes are carried out. When the plan is done, there’s still one vital step to making sure that your will is carried out as you want: choosing an executor. In short, the executor of an estate is the one who makes decisions after you’re gone.

As Kiplinger puts it, “When you pass away and your will is accepted for probate, your executor…can perform all the legal tasks you used to do.”

What to do after a loved one dies

The death of a loved one is not only painful, but can be stressful for those left to settle their affairs. When the time comes you may be responsible for managing a number of tasks quickly. Will you know what documents to look for and what agencies to call? The process will be much more peaceful if you are prepared for what to do when a loved one dies.

An important first step will be to determine if your parent or relative named a “designated agent” or executor. These roles are named to take care of arrangements. You may be able to find this information in durable powers of attorney or living wills. You should also try contacting their attorney for more information.

Small business succession planning

You have spent years developing your small business, but have you considered what will happen to it once you are out of the picture? Unfortunately, a number of small businesses fall apart when their owners retire, become incapacitated or die. Develop a plan to protect your business' legacy, and ensure that it continues to thrive once it is out of your hands. Let's take a look at some of the most popular succession options.



William J. Benz, Attorney at Law
307 Lakeside Park
Southampton, PA 18966

Phone: 215-436-9910
Fax: 215-322-9690
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