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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My mother isn't good, her boyfriend that's been there 15years says once she passes he's taking everything, no will
Corey Adamson
Corey Adamson answered on Oct 26, 2021

If your mother passes without a will, her boyfriend is not someone identified in the intestate statutes who will inherit anything. Everything would pass to you and any other surviving children your mother may have. However, you may want to make sure your mother’s boyfriend has not exercised any... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If I die and leave my house to my child, can I stipulate in my will that my boyfrnd lives there indefiniteltly

With his children

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr. answered on Oct 12, 2021

Yes, you can make those arrangements by specific provisions in your will. One way is to give what is called a life estate in the property, which gives your boyfriend control of the property until his death, or until he no longer wants it.

There are other ways, using testamentary trusts,...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My fiance and I purchased a house in 2016. He passed 8 months later. I am not on the loan, but I am on the Deed.

I want to sell at this time. Will I have issues? There was no will. Just our papers from settlement

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr. answered on Oct 9, 2021

So sorry for your loss.

If you held the property as joint tenants with right of survivorship (that wording should be on the deed itself), then when he passed, you became the sole owner by operation of law. For record purposes, you should record the Certificate of Title, connecting to the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can someone read my trust agreement and answer some questions?
John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. answered on Oct 4, 2021

… yes …

… John …

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Mom passed Jan 2021.Owned Prudential Life Ins stock.To date PLI says stock not sold yet; we cannot settle estate.

All requested paperwork/forms has been forwarded to PLI. Folks buy sell stock everyday. Why would it take this long? Any info on this type situation / stock sale would be helpful. Thank you.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr. answered on Sep 29, 2021

If your mother held shares of stock in her name, and held the original stock certificates, you don't need to look to Prudential to sell that stock. Any stockbroker could do the sale for you, or at least, for the court-approved personal representative of the estate.

If, on the other...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Both of my parent's recently died within 13 months of each other. They did not leave a Will.

Prior to their deaths, my youngest sister (among 5) took over handling all of their finances, at the request of my Mother, and became their power of attorney ("POA"), which I'm not sure was ever made official.

Following my Mother's most recent death, my sister ~ the... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 3, 2021

It sounds like a probate was opened by your sister. Probate is a kind of court case and the records are public. You can go to the courthouse nearest where your mother died and ask to look at the file. You will probably find answers in the file. If you do not understand what you are seeing, you... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I'm 18 and my parents are asking me to sign them financial powers of attorney. Should I?

They have offered to pay for my college which I'm really thankful for, but reading through the document it seems like I'm essentially hand them full control over everything I own and will ever own. They say it's only to be used in case I get incapacitate but I don't see where it... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. answered on Aug 29, 2021

… because of the nature of today’s world, coupled with the Privacy Rules, your parents would not be able to help you at all without a Power of Attorney being signed …

… yes - it is a very powerful document - but they are your parents …

… I think you know what to do …

John

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My husband recently passed away, we have a will and a trust of which I am beneficary but I never put my name on deed.

Do I have to probate the will, and how do I transfer the deed to myself? Thank You, Anne Marie Ball

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Jul 9, 2021

You need to contact a lawyer to help you. In short, the Will needs to be probated and an estate opened. You, as Executrix, would then execute a deed, unless the property is already in the Trust. As indicated, you need to meet with a lawyer to review everything.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If it would cost me more to probate a will than I would actually get, am I required to do so? What are the implications?

My mother passed away last year, and we didn’t have any issues with inheritance, except for a 1099 showing dividends from an employee stock plan. The account is very small, so it would be more expensive to probate it then it’s actually worth. We’d like to simply ignore it, but we know we’ll... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jul 8, 2021

No but before you decide not to did you look under unclaimed money on the Treasurer's website? Look under both her married and maiden names.

https://www.patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property/

Also if she had a car you want to pass title to, a house you would need to open a simple...
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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is there a way to protect an inherited IRA and any distributions from a spendthrift spouse or divorce?

Is an inherited IRA protected from a divorce? If distributions from an inherited IRA are made into an account solely in the name of the IRA recipient, are those distributions protected from divorce? Can those distributions be made directly to the recipient's living trust that has a co-trustee... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 30, 2021

Drafted correctly, a trust or trusts as beneficiary(ies) would not have any different tax consequences than naming individual beneficiaries. Look for an attorney in your area that understands how to draft a "see-through" retirement plan trust.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am a senior citizen with no immediate family in the area & want to get a will, beneficiary, living trust for property

Since I have no family and on a limited income; I want to make my best friend my beneficiary & once everything is liquidated; she will delegate certain amounts to charities & people that I want to leave a little something to. Also, can I have a backup beneficiary since we're always... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 7, 2021

You are on the right path, and the things you are wanting to do are do-able. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you see this through. Most likely you are going to want to create a revocable trust with a will just in case. I would also recommend a general durable power of attorney... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a Trustee refuse to make a distribution to a beneficiary of a discretionary trust and

then ignore said beneficiary requests for an explanation?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr. answered on May 22, 2021

The powers of any Trustee are prescribed first by the wording of the Trust document itself, augmented by the powers specified in the PA statutes.

To answer your question correctly, a lawyer would need to examine the wording of Trust document.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: What are the determining factors as to whether or not a trustee has actually acted in the beneficiary best interest?

Are there any rules governing what a Trustee must do to ensure they know what IS & IS NOT in the beneficiaries best interest and act accordingly?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 20, 2021

Entire books have been written on this subject, and this has been the subject of numerous lawsuits across the country. There is no simple one-size-fits-all answer, I am sorry to say. If you have a particular action in mind and would like legal advice regarding that, you should consult with an... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Foreclosure for Pennsylvania on
Q: I was in a bad relationship and had to leave my home. I own the house in Dallas Texas and live in Somerset PA.

How can I sell the house I was forced to leave in Dallas, Texas and /or get my x, who is still living in the house, to sign a rental contract so I am not forced to pay the mortgage for the house? He claims there is already a tenant / landlord contract signed. I don't remember signing one.... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on May 10, 2021

Although you need to speak with a Texas lawyer, as a general proposition, if you are the sole person on the deed, you have the right to sell it. However, if there is, in fact, a written lease, any sale would have to honor the terms of that lease. Therefore, as a practical matter, you better find... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My dad died years ago with no will, everything went to step mom. My step mom just passed away about 6 months ago and

Left everything to her daughter in will. Do I have anything to fight for if the house was still in both step mom and my fathers name on deed?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr. answered on May 9, 2021

If the deed was held in your father and step-mom's names as joint tenants, with right of survivorship, or tenancy by entirety, then when he died, yes, "everything", including full legal title to the property, went to her.

If the deed says they held title as tenants in common,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am redoing my will. I am divorced, but I would like to make my former wife the primary beneficiary of my estate.
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on May 4, 2021

From the point of view of your Will, you can leave your Estate to anyone you choose, and in this case you would just no longer reference your primary beneficiary as "my wife".

From a Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax point of view, this is a major change since the tax rate for bequests...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: What can a lawyer do?

My sister-in-law is executor of mother's will. She has not paid inheritance taxes since mother’s death in 02/2017. She will not even have conversation about will. I have been told that my wife, who is sister and co beneficiary in mother’s will, should get a lawyer to help with this issue.... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 26, 2021

First of all are you sure there is a Will? If your sister-in-law claims there is a Will, and that she is named Executor, and if she has done nothing to date your wife has some options, and she needs to meet with an experienced estate attorney to see what option is best. If you think there is a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have been petitioned to waive bond of personal representative. What is this?

The estate is located in Florida

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 25, 2021

A bond is an undertaking by a surety to indemnify the estate for losses caused by the bonded person (personal representative) stealing from the estate. Sadly, that does sometimes happen. If you totally trust the personal representative then you would normally agree to waive the bond. If you don’t... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: I'm inheriting a vacation home. Should I receive a copy of my dad's will, and from whom, or do I pay for that?

My dad passed Nov 2020 and the bulk of the estate goes to my dad's 2nd wife. I'm listed to receive the vacation home. I haven't read nor have received a copy of my Dad's will, the lawyer just read only the portion pertaining to me. Step mom is executor and hasn't offered a... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 12, 2021

As far as a copy of the Will, the executor is required to send you a notice that you are a beneficiary of the Will, and describe your bequest. Most executors provide a copy of the Will, but unfortunately that is not required and your executor has chosen not to send a copy. Her attorney is correct... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If house is left to 3 siblings , do all siblings have to sign for the sale of the house ?

My understanding of Will is I own 1/3 . Will siblings need my signature to sell house ?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr. answered on Apr 2, 2021

The simple answer is- yes. Your siblings cannot sell/transfer your interest in the real estate if you are a record owner of it. However, if the property is held in a pending probate case, the executor/administrator may have a power to sell the property, subject to notice to all heirs at law and... Read more »

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