What is an Estate Inventory in Pennsylvania?

When a loved one passes away, the person nominated to serve as the estate’s representative is known as the executor or administrator of the estate. The representative takes on the responsibilities and legal risks associated with doing this job according to the law.  


One of the legal duties of a personal representative is to file an inventory with the Register of Wills within three months of being appointed as the representative. The purpose of an estate inventory is to list all the assets of the probate estate and their fair market valuations.  


The inventory filing, along with the entire estate file, is public record and easily accessible by anyone interested in viewing the estate.    (more…)

Do I have to pay Inheritance Taxes on Life Insurance Proceeds?

Pennsylvania has a complex inheritance tax law which taxes almost all assets when a loved one passes away. The tax captures not only assets which are in the estate, but also assets which pass with a beneficiary designation upon death. One of the few exceptions to the inheritance tax is life insurance. But is life insurance always inheritance tax-free? How should inheritance taxes be handled when filing the inheritance tax return?


Navigating the Murky Waters of Estate Investment Securities

There are many types of assets that a person can leave to their loved ones after death. One type of asset that estate executors should give careful attention to is investment securities. Securities are investments that people buy with the hope of selling the investment for more money in the future. There are many types, such as stocks, bonds, annuities, and mutual funds. Securities can pass through a person’s estate, or they can pass directly to a named beneficiary upon death. However, in either case, estate executors must be cautious when handling securities because of the different tax implications.   (more…)