ABLE Act: What is it?

On December 19, 2014, the President signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (H.R. 647), commonly known as the ABLE Act. The Act now becomes Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code and is modeled loosely on the Section 529 college savings programs already within the Code. According to the Act, its purpose is to “encourage and assist individuals and families in Read More

The Kiddie Car Syndrome, submitted by a Valued ACE Advantage™ Client

The summer I was three, my parents took me to Jones Beach to play in the sand and drive the kiddie cars around a small circular track.  I took driving very seriously, negotiating every twist and turn with elaborate care. And my efforts did not go unnoticed. "Look how well she drives!" cried my mother. "She stays right on the track," said my dad. I was impressed by my own virtuosity. In fact, I was so Read More

How to Avoid the Need for a Probate Lawyer in Bucks and Montgomery Counties

If you are dealing with an estate that has to go through the probate process in Pennsylvania, your smartest move is choosing to work with a local probate lawyer.  There are cases where very simple estates will move through fairly easily, but there is still a matter of paperwork, accounting, etc. to consider; and a probate lawyer can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle. The best way to avoid the Read More

There is only one certainty in life and death… TAXES.

Federal Estate Taxes: Most people know that when you die, the Federal Government might impose a tax on your estate in the form of an Estate Tax. According to the IRS, an Estate Tax is “a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death.” Your taxable estate is the fair market value of your assets from Read More

My Special Needs Child is Turning 18

I often ask clients who are parents of a special needs child, “Have you decided who will be responsible for your child’s financial and healthcare decision-making after their 18th birthday?” 99% of the time the response is, “What are you talking about? I’m their parent so I will be the decision maker after they’re 18… (long pause)… right?” Wrong. In Pennsylvania the law states that a person reaches the age of Read More

Here’s at Least One Thing That We Have in Common with The One-Percenters

I was fascinated by a recent New York Times article that talked about the one thing that common folk and millionaires alike agree on:  they don't want to talk about death or inheritance.  What was particularly stunning to me was that most of the people in this survey had already gone to the trouble of creating a will, yet most agreed that they were not likely to talk to their kids about it! Read More

Self-Settled or Third-Party Special Needs Trusts, which is Best for Me?

Special Needs Trusts are designed to provide additional financial support to a person with a mental or physical disability. There are three basic categories of special needs trusts: Self-Settled, Pooled, or Third Party special needs trusts. This article will explore the features of self-settled and third-party trusts; which comprise the majority of special needs trusts drafted today. Pooled trusts are not commonly Read More


There’s a story that estate planners have been telling clients for years about the need for people to have at least the basic documents (a will) of an estate plan prepared, just in case. Here’s how it goes… James Dean was an actor in the 1950’s. He starred in movie classics such as Rebel without a Cause, Giant, and East of Eden. James was raised by his aunt and uncle after he was abandoned by his Read More


August is here. That means the summer is winding down, fall is in the air, and children all over the country are starting to head off to college. They have packed up all the things they will need when they are away at school. As parents, you’ve doubled checked to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything important. But are you forgetting something? Probably. When we send our kids off to college we worry that they Read More


Pets are more than furry companions; they are part of the family. And just like other family members, more and more Americans are looking for ways to care for their pets after they pass away. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats in America. Should we have to abandon or put down our pets just because we pass away, or should we just assume that Read More