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Questions Answered by Michael Cherewka
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is there oversight if someone dies and no one files a will?

My father, whom I was estranged from, died in April 2020. I am curious about his will and would like to know its content. I have no idea who the executor is or if there is one. He died in a nursing home. County says no will has been registered at this time. 1) Does someone have to file a... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jul 2, 2020

Your post shows Oregon as the origin so I will start off by saying probate is state specific, depending on where the decedent resided at the time of death. That being said, in Pennsylvania there is no requirement to probate a Will unless the decedent had sufficient assets to open an estate, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Thank you in advance!!!

Hi, Here’s my question.

My father has own land in Puerto Rico for about 30+ years Maybe even reaching 40 yrs.

Me my brother and my sister are all adults, we were supposed to keep the land and the house in Puerto Rico after his death.

But he has been married now for quite a... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jun 29, 2020

This is not the kind of question that you can get a general answer to. Many questions such as does dad live in Pennsylvania or in Puerto Rico. And where were they married? and does dad have a will? you (and dad) will need to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure dad has... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law and Contracts for Pennsylvania on
Q: Conducting business in Partnership and sole proprietorship at same time in same type of business with few modifications.

I have registered an LLC called XYZ INVESTMENTS. With this newly registered entity, I have invested in a produce store called FRESH PRODUCTS, and bought 25% share under XYZ INVESTMENTS in FRESH PRODUCTS business. Now FRESH PRODUCTS has 4 business partners (which also includes my LLC - XYZ... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jun 16, 2020

there is no way to give you a general answer to this question. the primary document you need to review is the Operating Agreement or Partnership Agreement for Fresh Produce. Most agreements have provisions that either allow or prohibit the partners/members from engaging in competitive businesses... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation for Pennsylvania on
Q: What to do if someone wants to buy a food recipe off you for a business and you want a percentage of the company
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jun 8, 2020

you really need to meet with your own business attorney to discuss not only the sale of the recipe but also all the issues with being a less than 50% owner in someone else's business. you may prefer a royalty agreement (% of sales) to being a co-owner

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My mother died Without a will and a joint account with my brother. He refuses to probate the estate. What are my options

My brother says since he shared a joint account with my mother when she passed he is not legally obligated to split the estate and inheritance. And all her money belongs to him. She had no Will from what I understand which means her estate should have gone through the probate process.

I... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on May 3, 2020

you should consult with a lawyer familiar with estates on this. the answer is "it depends" if the only asset mother owned was the joint account with your brother there is a good chance he is correct. but there are other factors which could be involved which could change that answer

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Grantor exercised Power of Appointment giving daughter house. Can trustee-brother sell house and place back in trust?

Grantor still alive, Pennsylvania. All other assets divided evenly. Trustee-brother wants to sell, put back in trust so that he can take HALF of proceeds of house upon grantors death instead of daughter getting 100%. Commingling?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 27, 2020

there are so many unanswered questions here. Would have to review documents, relationship between the parties, timing and capacity of the Grantor. First step would be to meet with an attorney to start to review all of the above

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a beneficiary request a copy of the family trust from the lawyer while the grantor is still alive? In Pennsylvania?
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 23, 2020

like so many legal questions "it depends". The questions are what type of trust is it (revocable or irrevocable), is the beneficiary a lifetime beneficiary, and is the beneficiary a vested beneficiary or a contingent beneficiary. You will have to start with the family lawyer and if he... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am a 5% owner of a limited partnership (I file a Schedule K-1 every year) and am looking to cash out on my shares.

An estranged family member is the majority owner of the partnership and I do not have direct contact to him, only through his attorney. I would like to know my options of how to receive payout of my shares and what I am legally entitled to. The investment is incorporated in Delaware.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 13, 2020

the answer to this is heavily dependent on the Limited Partnership document. Most family LPs have restrictions on sale/transfer of shares, and also some mechanism to value the shares (often at a discount) when a Limited Partner wants to cash out. This are usually set forth in detail in the LP... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Does my mother need to specify beneficiaries on her accounts or is the Will sufficient to settle the estate?

My mother has no beneficiaries on her financial accounts. The Will states that she bequeaths $10,000 to each of her grandchildren. There are 4 (four) grandchildren; the remainder divided equally among her 3 (three) children. Therefore, very difficult to specify beneficiaries. The Will states that I... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 12, 2020

it is difficult to answer a specific question like this without knowing all the facts, but in general if there are no beneficiaries on the accounts they will go into the estate and the will controls the distribution. you have a number of ideas including trusts for minors which suggest your family... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I re-purpose a dormant LLC into a whole new business?

I have a 10 year old single member LLC (registered in PA). Can I amend my articles of organization and rename the company to turn it into a different business than it was originally created as? I want to capitalize on the age of this entity?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 27, 2020

this answer depends on your documents and whether you have maintained the LLC as active in PA. Most Certificates of Organization filed for LLCs do not contain specified types of business that the LLC will operate. so, in general, as long as the business is legal to operate, your LLC should be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My wife is not on the deed to our home. Do I need to record a quit claim before a Revocable Living Trust ?

We would be the only trustees on the trust.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 19, 2020

there are a number of open questions here. Is there a mortgage on the home? Is the Living Trust in your name only or is it a joint living trust? also, a caution. the PA Department of Revenue is reading Living Trusts very closely and taking a very narrow view of what qualifies as Living Trust... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My mom just passed away. It's only me & my oldest sister left but she refuses to be in contact with me to discuss

Anything with me regarding my moms arrangements or her personal belongings. What can I do to force her to give me my half of my moms belongings and deal with her final arrangements?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 12, 2020

Very difficult to give you a complete answer with so little information. In general, if your sister fails to be in contact with you you can file a Petition with the Register of Wills (you are probably Lebanon County) to be appointed Administrator of your mom's Estate. Since your sister is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If money from deceased’s account goes to the state, how long does it take before a family member can request it?

My aunt passed and as her POA I wanted to take care of her bills and get a grave marker but found out that my “duties” ended at death and I could no longer access her account. She has $1700 between her bank account and the money that will be returned from the nursing home. Her husband and... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 28, 2020

You are going to have to meet with an attorney experienced on estate administration to help you figure out this one. the summary above raises a lot of questions. If there are grandchildren alive they are first in line to become the Administrator of the Estate. If the funeral bill needs to be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have both a right to survivorship deed and right to survivorship will. Estate is less than 2000.00. Do I need attorney

To file probate or can I use ez probate to file on my own?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 25, 2020

There are too many unknowns here to give you a complete answer, but there are some guidelines for you. If you are the survivor on the Deed, you will need to prepare and file a new Deed to show that you are now the sole owner. I am not sure what you mean by a survivorship Will, but if you mean... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation for Pennsylvania on
Q: non-profit board of directors voting limits

in a non profit corporation (in this case a parent run 501c3 youth sport organization) can voting be limited to one per family even if two members of the family are on the board of directors? How should that be written?

(Pennsylvania)

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 18, 2020

in general , yes, you can draft or revise your Bylaws to limit voting as you describe. you should consult with your attorney to review your Articles and Bylaws before attempting to draft the voting restrictions as you describe them

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Mother died August 2019. Sister is executrix. There is a will and she and I are the only heirs. To be split 50/50.

I have never received an inventory or accounting and inheritance tax filed. Many items removed by sister without informing me. Would Title 20 chapter 33 subpart a apply to get information.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 13, 2020

yes, Title 20, Chapter 33, Subpart discusses the Inventory and sets time limits for filing the Inventory, what has to be included in the Inventory, etc.. Also sets forth that the court can compel the executor to file an Inventory if he or she has not done so.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is it necessary to file a probate in Pa if there is no estate?

My mother-in-law passed away Dec 28, 2019 with a will naming my wife executrix. She had no estate. She did have over $16,000 of debt. Final expenses were prepaid except grave marker which we will have to purchase. She had less than $700 in the bank. There is no life insurance, property or car.... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 12, 2020

There is no requirement that an executor probate a Will if there are no assets (or insufficient assets ) in the potential estate. Creditors can be notified that there are no assets and no estate will be opened. Creditors can tary to open an estate to attempt to collect debts, but if they have... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: is there a charge to find what it will cost to represent me for a no will estate in phila.pa

My brother and half sister are fighting to be administrator and ask me to sign a renunciation letter

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 10, 2020

you should check the websites or call local law firms in your area to see what their policies are. many firms that practice in this area offer the initial consultation for no charge

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Mother died in Pa. With a will. My sister is Executrix. I have asked for accounting and inventory. Nothing received.

Does Title 20 section 3101c? apply in that I can request an inventory? Mother died in August. She (sister) also submitted errant info as part of inheritance tax filing.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 10, 2020

Your sister might have filed an Inventory with the Register of Wills at the same time she filed the Inheritance Tax Return. Most estates are not completed until 9 months to a year after the date of death. Most estates are also completed with an Informal Accounting and some type of Release. If... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My mother died in PA with no assets in PA. Her estate is in a trust in Virginia. Does PA inheritance tax apply?

(i) Her permanent address was in PA for the last three years. (ii) Assets were bank account, stocks, and bonds. No real estate. (iii) Revocable trust domiciled in Virginia.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jan 29, 2020

This question has too many unknowns at this point to answer in this short space. The three biggest questions are: (i) in what state was mom domiciled (her intended permanent residence) at the time of her death (just because she died in PA does not necessarily mean she was a resident here); and... Read more »

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