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Wills & Estate Lawyer

Lehigh, Northampton, Berks County Lehigh Valley, PA

Estate Law

Following the death of a family member, we understand the last thing on your mind is probating or administering their estate. You may be feeling overwhelmed with questions & confusion. During this difficult time, let Attorney Stump help guide you through the estate process. His office will be with you every step of the way, from opening up the estate at the courthouse to finalizing & closing it at the Federal, State & County levels.

His services include providing and filing the proper forms with the county and state, adhering to court procedures, managing your loved ones assets, negotiating with creditors in an insolvent or minimal asset estate. Attorney Stump will also prepare & file the inheritance tax return. Attorney Stump handles all types of estate issues in the counties of Lehigh, Northampton & Berks, PA. His professionalism can help guide you comfortably through the difficult legal process.


We know that thinking about end-of-life issues can be a scary, stressful time, which may delay you from making the important decision to prepare your Last Will & Testament. However, timely estate planning is very important. Everyone should be sure they have their affairs in order. Attorney Stump is there to help guide you in the decision making process. He will take the time to understand your needs & fully explain your options & alternatives, when drafting a Will.

In Pennsylvania there are three important documents we feel everyone should have: Last Will & Testament, Advanced Healthcare Directive/Living Will, which is a combination of a medical POA & Living Will, & a financial Power of Attorney(POA).

Estate Services include following:

  • Estate Administration
  • Probate Law
  • Probating Estates

Wills & Elder Services include:

  • Last Will & Testaments
  • Power of Attorney
  • Medical POA/Living Will
  • Estate Planning
  • Home, Hospital & Nursing Home visits
  • Elder Law

Investopedia - Wills & Estate Planning

Will vs. Trust

Wills and trusts are both estate planning tools that can help ensure your assets are protected and bequeathed to your heirs, besides your spouse, which is generally not an issue. This is because the unlimited marital deduction provision within the United States Estate and Gift Tax Law allows the passing of wealth to a surviving spouse without incurring gift or estate tax liabilities. However, the transfer process becomes much more involved when wealth is passed to a subsequent generation. It is possible to have both a will and a trust.


A will is a written document expressing a deceased person's wishes, from naming guardians of minor children to bequeathing objects and cash assets to friends, relatives, or charities. A will becomes active only after one's death. A trust is active the day you create it, and a grantor may list the distribution of assets before their death in it, unlike a will. There are irrevocable trusts, often created for tax purposes, which cannot be altered after their creation, and living trusts, which can be changed by the grantor.

All wills must go through a legal process called probate, where an authorized court administrator examines them. This process can be lengthy and potentially contentious if family members contest the will. Trusts are not required to go through probate when the grantor dies, and they cannot be contested.

Wills and trusts are both estate planning tools that can help ensure your assets are protected and bequeathed to your heirs, besides your spouse, which is generally not an issue. This is because the unlimited marital deduction provision within the United States Estate and Gift Tax Law allows the passing of wealth to a surviving spouse without incurring gift or estate tax liabilities.


A trust is another method of estate transfer—a fiduciary relationship in which you give another party authority to handle your assets for the benefit of a third party, your beneficiaries.

A trust can be created for a variety of functions, and there are many types of trusts. Overall, however, there are two categories: living and testamentary. A will can be used to create a testamentary trust. You can also create a trust for the primary purpose of avoiding probate court, called a revocable living trust.

With a declaration of trust, your estate stays private and passes directly to your heirs, you do not pay a probate attorney or court costs, and your loved ones may be able to avoid being tied up in probate court for what could be a year or more.

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Finder - Guide to estate planning

Guide to Estate Planning

While it might be an awkward or even painful topic to think about, mapping out what should happen to your assets if you die or become incapacitated is a crucial part of financial planning. If you can work your way through the main estate planning tasks now, you’ll set your loved ones up for an easy transition when you pass away.

What is estate planning? Estate planning involves developing a strategy to deal with your assets and investments after you die. It aims to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones, ensuring that your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries in the most simple and effective way.

How do I start estate planning? The estate planning process can be broken down into a few simple steps: Take stock of your assets. Create a list of all your personal assets, as well as other assets that form your estate, such as trusts, stocks or life insurance. Identify risks. Identify any potential risks you want to plan around before and after your death, such as divorce, mental incapacity or your early death.

Create a plan. Work with your lawyer, accountant and/or financial planner to work out an estate plan that is tailored to your needs and incorporates all your assets. For help developing a comprehensive estate plan that covers all necessary issues, it’s recommended that you seek independent legal advice. Your lawyer will be able to help you get started and provide expert advice tailored to your personal needs.

How to make a will. A will is a critical legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. By creating a clear and unambiguous will you can: Ensure that your assets are distributed to the right people. Provide instructions on who will look after your children. Establish trusts to distribute assets among your beneficiaries more effectively. Provide instructions for your funeral home. If you die without a will or with an invalid will, this is known as dying intestate. When this happens, each state has its own laws regarding how your assets will be distributed. Though those assets will usually be distributed to your family members, this allocation may go against your final wishes. With this in mind, it’s essential that you create a will and update it regularly to reflect any changes to your legal rights.

Who’s involved after I die? When you create your will, you’ll be required to nominate your executor. The executor’s role is to carry out your wishes as specified in your will, and they have the power to administer the estate. Depending on your personal circumstances, others may also be involved. For example, if you establish a testamentary trust in your will, you will also appoint a trustee to administer that trust.

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Will & Testament - Wikipedia

A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator) wishes as to how their property (estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which person (executor) is to manage the property until its final distribution. For the distribution (devolution) of property not determined by a will, see inheritance and intestacy. Though it has at times been thought that a "will" historically applied only to real property while "testament" applied only to personal property (thus giving rise to the popular title of the document as "last will and testament"), the historical records show that the terms have been used interchangeably.Thus, the word "will" validly applies to both personal and real property. A will may also create a testamentary trust that is effective only after the death of the testator.
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