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Pa. seniors are updated about law changes

August 01, 2000

Pa. seniors are updated about law changes



Beth GablerBy MARC G. AUBER / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Several Franklin County residents 60 and older learned Monday that changes have been made to some inheritance tax rates and power of attorney laws in Pennsylvania this year.

Beth Gabler, attorney for Franklin County Area Agency on Aging, told more than 50 people at the Chambersburg Senior Activity Center that as of July 1, inheritance tax rates for children or siblings were reduced.

"Anything that you passed on to your children from dollar one was taxed at 6 percent," she said. "Now when you pass away, anything you leave to your children now will be taxed at 4-1/2 percent."

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Gabler explained, too, that inheritance tax rates have dropped from 15 percent to 12 percent on assets that are left to siblings.

She clarified though, that spouses will continue to be exempt from inheritance taxes, but that anyone else aside from those of lineal or sibling nature will not see changes in the amount of tax they are required to pay.

"Unfortunately, if you leave it to anybody else - which is your nieces and nephews, which is that neighbor next door - that mail man who visits you every day - if you leave your estate to him, it is going to be taxed at 15 percent," Gabler said.

Gabler also said that power of attorney documents underwent major changes effective April 12.

"They are not big changes," she said, "but they are substantial changes."

Power of attorney is a written statement legally authorizing a person to handle personal affairs of another.

A power of attorney, as of April 12 requires a separate, signed notice in which the individual declares an understanding of how it works.

"The person who writes the power of attorney is now called the principal and the person who receives it is called the agent," Gabler said.

She said that's an improvement over the old process.

"Under the old power of attorneys, there was no legally enforceable obligation between the person that gave the power and the person who received it," she said.

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