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Greensburg Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Creating and maintaining a living will

Your health and wellbeing are top priorities and you have the right to determine what kind of medical care you'd like to consider. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible to make those decisions once your health is in decline, so making them sooner rather than later may be a plan worth considering.

A living will offers an individual the chance to determine what kind of medical intervention they would prefer past the point where they can make cognizant decisions. In Pennsylvania, the Advanced Directive for Health Care Act dictates the terms of these documents and ensures their proper use by health care agents and professionals.

What to do when divorce threatens retirement plans

When Pennsylvania couples get a divorce, they may have to change their plans for retirement. This means creating a plan to rebuild savings lost in divorce.

Households in which divorce has happened have a worth that is about 30 percent less than that of other households, and after a divorce, there is a 7 percent higher chance that retirement savings will run out. One issue that arises is that there are limits on contributions to qualified plans. For example, only $5,500 annually can be added to IRAs and Roths. For 401(k)s, the limit is $24,500 for people over 50 and just $18,500 for people younger than that. This can be discouraging for someone who has just lost $250,000 or more as a result of splitting a retirement account. However, there are other options. For example, people can max out their retirement account and also make deposits in a taxable investment account.

Financial concerns for 'gray divorces'

In Pennsylvania and across the country, more people are choosing to divorce at an older age. The divorce rate for Americans over 50 has gone up by over 200 percent over the past 20 years and continues to rise. As the rate of these "gray divorces" increases, more senior ex-spouses are dealing with financial issues. Chief among these is the division of retirement plans.

While retirement funds are a major marital asset that could require division in a divorce at any age, they can be far more significant for spouses over 50. Each partner may need to begin an aggressive savings plan to rebuild their investment accounts. It is more expensive to support two households on the same amount of income and savings than one, so both parties may see lifestyle changes after the divorce.

How to be a good co-parent after a divorce

Parents in Pennsylvania who are getting a divorce should learn to work together in a way that prioritizes the best interests of the child. To that end, they should try to establish rules between their households that are consistent. The rules may need to be fairly general since disputes over parenting styles may have partially caused the divorce.

A parenting schedule that is clear and easily accessible to parents and children can help reduce the likelihood of conflicts or confusion. Parents can use text, email or online tools to communicate about scheduling. Children should not be dragged into the middle of conflicts or made to feel like they must choose sides.

Considerations for estate planning for entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur in Pennsylvania may find themselves facing conflicting urges when it comes to estate planning. While one might see a great future for their business, they may also want to give a large bequest to their children. In addition, an entrepreneur could be troubled by the thought that their child will eventually be in charge of the family business, especially if they have never shown much interest.

However, there are alternative options that a parent considering the future can choose. They don't have to cut their children out of the business' proceeds in order to keep it in the hands of someone committed to its growth. Instead, they can set up a succession plan that puts the operations of the business in the hands of capable, paid managers while passing on the benefits and profits accrued by the business to the children on an ongoing basis. Rather than providing a one-time wealth transfer, the company can continue to be a source of income.

Dividing an inherited IRA during divorce

California residents who have gone through a divorce know the challenges associated with dividing property and assets. A relatively new phenomenon has added a wrinkle. It is that of dividing inherited individual retirement accounts. In truth, no one is sure if an inherited IRA can be split during a divorce. In some locations, however, this is what is already happening.

The year 2019 will bring about new alimony rules in regard to taxes. These alimony rules could mean that IRAs have a larger impact on divorce settlements. Traditional IRAs have often found themselves used as a bargaining chip during a divorce. With the idea of splitting inherited IRAs, the situation becomes more complicated.

Tips for parenting after the divorce

For some Pennsylvania exes, co-parenting after divorce can be difficult. However, it is important for children to build a relationship with both parents as long as there are no extenuating circumstances such as abuse.

Setting aside anger following a contentious divorce in order to co-parent successfully is understandably challenging. Parents may want to look into therapy to deal with these negative emotions. A parenting schedule with neutral pickup points, such as school, can minimize the contact parents need to have with one another. If necessary, a social worker or psychologist may also help parents resolve differences. Over time, parents may begin to let go of their anger be able to co-parent more effectively.

How to financially plan for life after marriage

Ending a marriage can lead to significant financial and emotional turmoil. Ideally, Pennsylvania residents who are in this position will address the potential financial changes that a divorce can bring head on. This means taking a look at how much money they are making as well as what a person's expenses are after the marriage ends. It can also be worthwhile to account for paying off some or all of joint debt accrued with a former spouse.

In some cases, creditors can come after a person for joint debts even if he or she didn't know about them. To prevent surprise claims, individuals can obtain and review copies of their credit reports. Consulting with a financial adviser can make it easier to develop savings targets and find ways to increase retirement savings. In a divorce, individuals may lose some or all of their retirement assets, which can make replenishing a 401(k) a top priority.

What is a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney?

Life comes with unexpected twists and turns which is why it is crucial that you plan for the unknown. For example, you may experience a medical emergency where you cannot make your own health care decisions. For most people, they want to decide who will make these choices for them and designate an agent through a durable health care power of attorney. If you do not designate an agent, the law will appoint an agent according to default surrogate consent laws. If you want to take control and bypass these laws, you should know your options before you put your wishes down on paper. 

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