MARCH 2023
An Ineffective Estate Plan:
Old Advice or No Advice Won’t Fix It

Some of the most difficult conversations we have are when opening an Estate Administration matter and learn that an outdated or ineffective will, unnecessary trust, or undesirable changes to property ownership (often created without competent legal advice), will result in unintended distributions and taxation which were not anticipated by the deceased and the family. It is essential that an estate plan be periodically reviewed, and especially after a major change in an individual’s or family’s circumstances, such as the death or disability of a loved one or beneficiary, divorce, a significant change in finances (either positive or negative) or a change in the law which affects the estate plan.

For example, many estate plans may no longer need a credit shelter trust or similar estate planning mechanism created prior to 2018 due to the significant increase in the federal estate tax exclusion. However, and on a similar vein, much of that increased federal estate tax exclusion is scheduled to disappear on January 1, 2026 due to a sunsetting of the 2018 tax act which will, absent congressional action (by a currently-divided Congress), revert the federal exclusion to 2017 levels, and individual circumstances will require careful analysis of this challenging situation.

Moreover, changes in our legal landscape regarding common law marriages, same-sex marriages, as well as shifts in family relationships can require virtually any estate plan which touches upon these matters to be reviewed, especially if the documents are older in vintage.

While some firms aggressively push families to meet with their attorney every year, this is generally not necessary absent one or more of the changes of life circumstances or legal underpinnings noted above. But when these matters occur, and at least every five years or so, a consultation to review your estate plan is always wise, and often essential. Our experienced and dedicated Estate Planning and Estate Administration team is ready to serve you and your families at this important time! Click here today to contact us!

“I would like to express my appreciation to Dennis McAndrews and Lesley Mehalick for your efforts in helping me put together my Will and the Powers of Attorney involving my children. This was not an easy task for me to undertake, and I am grateful for your help. I am ever thankful to have you on my team.”
– J.G.

“McAndrews Law and Lesley Mehalick helped diffuse a stressful situation by making our options clear and the process easy. We are very happy to get this done!”

“Through Dennis’ knowledge, professionalism, and compassion, he gave us what we needed most at that time -- hope. Besides his legal expertise, he united our family again and gave us the confidence that things would work out.”
– Mr. and Mrs. B.

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We are a nationally recognized firm that provides families of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Area, and New Jersey with exceptional legal representation in Special Education, Estate Planning, Abuse of Vulnerable Citizens, and Title IX matters including the representation of individuals involved in higher education allegations of misconduct.
Main Office: 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312
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