Most family-owned business owners put off their succession planning because they don’t want to think about their retirement, disability or death, however, business succession planning should be a priority in every family owned business. A family owned business owner’s decision to eventually retire is not as simple as no longer going to the office.
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A Power of Attorney allows you to designate another person to act on your behalf to handle financial, medical, or legal matters in the event that you are unable to do so, or unavailable. The person that is so designated is referred to as your “attorney-in-fact”. There are different types of powers of attorney: a general power of attorney, a limited power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, a durable power of attorney for healthcare and a springing power of attorney.
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There are three principal types of tenancies related to the ownership of real estate. Perhaps the most popular, and most familiar, is the joint tenancy. If two persons own a property as joint tenants, upon one person’s death, the other person automatically owns all of the interest in the property. There is no limit on the number of persons that can hold property as joint tenants. If a husband and wife own a property together and add their child to the deed, each will own a one-third interest in the property.
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A Will is more than an estate planning document used to distribute property. One of the most important reasons to have a Will is to appoint guardians for your minor children. So often parents delay their estate planning because they cannot decide which persons will be the best guardian for their minor children. If the parents should die without a Will appointing guardians for their minor children, a judge may have to make the decision as to the guardian (this should be avoided!).
Continue Reading A Will is for More Than Just Distributing Property – Protecting Your Minor Children

Clients often ask what happens if they die without a will. It is a common misconception that if you die in Pennsylvania without a will that everything will be left to the Commonwealth. Because of the statutory scheme that Pennsylvania has in place, it is a rare occurrence that anything will be left to the Commonwealth.
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Melvin Simon, together with his brother and business associate Herbert Simon, built a business empire upon the then novel concept of the shopping mall. The company that he and his brother founded – Simon Property Group, Inc. – is now the largest mall owner on the United States with over 300 shopping malls in its property portfolio.
Continue Reading Battle Between Heirs to the Simon Mall Fortune Highlights Common Will Disputes

As many people are now aware, Congress has (at least for now!) let the federal estate tax die. The federal estate tax is scheduled to come back in 2011 and in future years after that. In future years, estates worth as little as $1 million dollars are scheduled to be taxed (compared to estates worth more than $3.5 million dollars in 2009).
Continue Reading It’s Time to Review Your Will After Congress Allows Federal Estate Tax to Die