Author Archive

SECURE 2.0 & Other Important Changes to Estate Planning Law for 2023

access_time Posted on: February 1st, 2023

Happy New Year!  This year brings to us several legal changes which will benefit to taxpayers for 2023 and beyond.  For more details, contact CGA Law Firm’s Estate Planning attorneys.   Increase for Estate Tax Exemption.  This year, the amount that an individual can transfer estate tax-free automatically increases for estates of decedents passing away in 2023 from $12.06MM to $12.92MM, an inflation-index increase of $86,000.  A married couple enjoys a combined exemption of $25,840,000.  Keep in mind, however, that the exemption amount will decrease in the end of 2025 with the sunset of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act,… read more »

Attorney Frank Henisse Countess Named to The Power 30

access_time Posted on: June 15th, 2022

The Central Penn Business Journal’s Power 30 for Law & Lobbyists [is] compiled by the editorial staff and management, [and] honors those who shape our communities and influence our quality of life through the legal and political foundations our society depends on. Ernest Long, Managing Editor for the Central Penn Business Journal Read more on Frank’s contributions to our communities on the CPBJ’s Power 30 List profile on Frank HERE. Shareholder | AttorneyFrank Henisse Countess is a Shareholder with CGA Law Firm. He concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate, business law, commercial transactions, and estate planning and… read more »

COVID-19 Update: Relaxing In-Person Notary Requirement for Real Estate

access_time Posted on: March 27th, 2020

Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) for PA Notaries Governor Wolf approved a temporary lift in the personal appearance requirement of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) for PA notaries with specified safeguards. (Follow this link to view the notice on the Pennsylvania Department of State website: NOTICE.) All notaries who are using audio-visual technology as an alternative to personal appearance must: 1) become an approved Pennsylvania electronic notary (free application).2) use an e-notary solution already approved by the Department that offer remote notarization technology.3) indicate in the notary certificate that the notarial act was performed by… read more »

The SECURE Act and its Impact on IRAS, 401(K)S and 529 Savings Accounts

access_time Posted on: March 26th, 2020

The SECURE Act On December 20, 2019 Congress passed a comprehensive governmental spending package, which included provisions creating the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act.  Congress’s intent with the legislation was to initiate long overdue revisions to make saving for retirement accessible for more Americans.  Most provisions of this important retirement legislation go into effect on January 1, 2020 and affect individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans and 529 college savings accounts. Below are a few of the highlights of the SECURE Act: Age for required minimum distributions (RMDs) raised to 72.  Americans will no longer be required to withdraw assets… read more »

COVID-19 Update: Real Estate Transactions During Closure Order

access_time Posted on: March 23rd, 2020

On Thursday, March 19th, Governor Wolf issued an order that went into effect at 8pm that evening — all “non-life sustaining businesses” in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Enforcement of this order will begin on Monday, March 23rd at 8am. What Happens Now Although all parties which facilitate a real estate transaction (real estate agents, real estate brokers, attorneys, title companies, lenders, inspectors, appraisers, and contractors) cannot conduct in-person transactions, it appears that they may continue to complete any parts of the transaction that can take place remotely. Service activities that can be… read more »

Opportunity Zones: Investment with Tax Savings

access_time Posted on: April 3rd, 2019

Article by: Frank H. Countess On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created Qualified Opportunity Zones. There are numerous provisions contained in the TCJA that were discussed and analyzed thoroughly by the news media outlets, such as cuts to the Federal tax rates for corporations and reductions to the Federal personal income tax rates amongst others. One of the provisions contained in the TCJA that failed to attract any attention whatsoever was the provision related to establishing Qualified Opportunity Zones. The Opportunity Zone concept was conceived to spur economic development in low income population census tracts…. read more »

YDR Property Taxes Chat

access_time Posted on: May 11th, 2012

Read the recap of the live chat about property taxes with CGA Law Firm’s Frank Countess and York Daily Records’ Sean Adkins. 10:00 – Sean Adkins: Hi Frank. How are you?10:02– Frank Countess: Doing very well this sunny Friday morning.10:02– Sean Adkins: This is Sean Adkins. I’m filling in for Lauren this week.10:04– Sean Adkins: Here’s our first question.10:04– Comment From Larry Wolfe: Of all of the appeals handled by CGA, what is the average reduction (as a percentage of the original assessed value) in assessed value for its clients?10:06– Frank Countess: The range of reductions obtained is between 10%… read more »

Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals

access_time Posted on: June 20th, 2011

In these challenging economic times, it seems there is no shortage of bad news.  Taxes are increasing while the value of your home, at least on paper, is substantially less than what it was a few years ago.  In the midst of these challenges there may be a silver lining in that your residential, commercial, or industrial real estate may have significantly dropped in value since the last county-wide assessment was performed for York County in 2005. Accordingly, it might be worthwhile investigating whether your assessment should also be decreased.    Additionally, very few people are aware that the assessed… read more »