Focusing on all matters related to Estate Law, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and Estate Taxation, Philadelphia-area Attorney John B. Whalen, Jr. details the services he offers, and his blog gives visitors more information on various topics related to estate planning, administration and taxation. Mr. Whalen provides a full range of services for wills: drafting, review, amendment, revocation, execution and probate. He provides reliable guidance for testators and executors. His experience in the probate court, resolving issues related to the validity of wills, enables him to provide practical advice for testators from all walks of life. Similarly, his work in the formation of wills gives us keen insight into how executors should interpret various aspects of a will that may initially seem unclear. Whether you are a testator formulating an estate plan or an executor implementing a decedent’s wishes, John B. Whalen, Jr. Esq. can simplify many complex aspects of the tasks before you. I offer pertinent and personal legal advice to obtain the results you need in a timely manner with the least stress possible. Once executed, your will remains your final statement of your intentions until you amend or revoke it. I recommend reviewing your will every three to five years and updating it to reflect your current wishes.
When you execute a legal document called a power of attorney, you are authorizing another individual to make certain decisions on your behalf. The person who signs the document is called the principal and the person who is authorized to make decisions is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.
A limited power of attorney restricts the permissible activities of the agent to a specific period of time. For instance, if you are in the military and are being deployed overseas for six months, you can set up a limited power of attorney with an individual you trust. That person may be granted access to your bank account so they can pay your mortgage or other monthly expenses while you are away from home.
A durable power of attorney, unlike other forms of this type of legal document, does not expire if the principal becomes incapacitated. The agent may continue to make financial and medical decisions as indicated in the original document.
Living wills are also referred to as an advance directive or a health care directive. It is a legal document that communicates your desire in the treatment of serious medical problems in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. They do not go into effect unless you are incapacitated and unable to express yourself. Having a living will can relieve your close relatives from the burden of having to make the decision about whether to remove you from life support.
Trusts are legal documents that allow you to control how your assets will be allocated or managed. You are considered the grantor and the person that manages and distributes assets in the trust is known as the trustee. Individuals who receive money or other assets are the beneficiaries.
Property placed in a trust, unlike wills, is not subject to probate. You can also create a revocable trust which can be canceled or revoked at any time while you are alive. Trusts can be set up for a child’s education or to reduce estate taxes.
Executing a valid will is rather simple; executing an effective will takes a bit more work. The probate court approves a will if it finds the document was executed intentionally and freely by a person of sound mind, is written in clear, unambiguous language and is signed and witnessed. That’s really the easy part. To be effective, your will must be comprehensive, covering the full range of your worldly possessions and your deepest concerns, and contemplating various contingencies. I work closely with you to memorialize your intentions completely and instructing that they be carried out in the most efficient manner possible.
A Will is an important document to execute in order to avoid disputes about how your assets will be divided when you die. The executor who administers the distribution of assets from your estate will allocate your possessions as you specified. You should periodically review your Will to make sure it is still relevant and accurate. Life changing events, such as the birth of a child or a marriage, may require amendments to the original document.
If you die without a will, you are said to die intestate. In such a case, the state will handle your estate and your assets may not get to the people, institutions or charitable causes that you wanted.
Planning Ahead is Important
For the average person, all of these documents can seem confusing and a bit overwhelming. Estate planning attorney John B. Whalen, Jr. can help you decide which documents you need and how best to plan ahead so that your wishes are carried out.
Attorney Whalen has many years of experience in helping clients protect their assets and making sure that their last wishes are followed. Twice he has been named an Awesome Attorney in Estate Planning Law, and he’s spoken for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He’s served hundreds of people in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, and all over the country.
Talking about death is a fragile topic, but Attorney Whalen handles it with grace and tact. Whether creating a power of attorney, a will, a trust or a living will, he guides clients through the often complicated process with ease.
Attorney Whalen is well-versed in the United States Tax Code and helps clients understand it and make the best decision for their situation whatever the size of their estate.
Losing a loved one is an emotional experience, and Attorney Whalen takes over the process, guiding the estate through probate, helping the beneficiaries understand the inheritance tax.
When estates become complex, the case sometimes has to go to court to be resolved. When that happens, Attorney John Whalen provides aggressive representation backed by a firm knowledge of estate law.
There are many factors that can affect the distribution of estate assets. In some cases, there may be a will that identifies you as a beneficiary; in other cases, there may not be a will at all. In still other cases, there may be a dispute involving the administration of the estate. For example, a beneficiary may disagree with how the executor or personal representative is distributing assets.
Attorney John Whalen has represented thousands of beneficiaries during his decades as an estate planning attorney. He can provide the necessary advice to protect your rights in nearly any estate planning matter.
Estate administration can be a complex and lengthy process with many bumps in the road. If you suspect your rights as a beneficiary are being challenged, you should seek the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney immediately. Attorney John Whalen can explain your rights and all your available options.
The guardianship process can be filled with emotions. Realizing that a loved one is no longer capable of caring for his or her self can be difficult to accept. That’s why you need an attorney who offers legal services with compassion. For the past twenty-five (25) years, Attorney Whalen has built a reputation for providing compassionate legal care for his clients, putting their needs and interests first while navigating emotionally trying circumstances.