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Questions Answered by Michael Cherewka
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 Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Dad passed in 2/18. The executors took their share of monies but will not disperse mine until I sign off on house.

Four of us inherited, one of the executors gets a life estate and 40% share of assets and the remaining three get a 20% share of the estate. My siblings took their share of the money last May but the executors will not release my check until I sign off on my acceptance of 20% share of the home... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on May 3, 2021

It sounds like your executors are attempting to settle the estate with a Family Settlement Agreement which is the most common way to settle a small estate. If you are not in agreement with the proposed settlement you, as a beneficiary, have a right to request a formal accounting of the estate.... Read more »

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 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 Business Formation, Business Law and Contracts for Pennsylvania on
Q: how to legally make contracts and what to put in them.

I want starting a business with someone else using my idea/system that i made, I want to share the business 50/50, how can I make this legal, as well as make sure they don't steal the information and use it somewhere else?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 8, 2021

You have a number of questions here that you really need to sit down with a business attorney and sort through your best options. First of all I never recommend a 50/50 split of ownership because it can lead to deadlocks at a number of levels in the business. As far as your idea/system, that... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Tax Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Pa inheritance tax method? Mom died. the 100 acre farm(Pa) in clean and green will be sold outside of family.

One person said to use C & G assessment value instead of fair market value to compute inheritance tax. True?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 8, 2021

First of all the Department of Revenue will usually accept the assessed value (adjusted for county common level ratio) for computing inheritance tax, but it is not likely to accept the assessed value as reduced for Clean & Green.

Second, whether you want to report a low value for...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: I want to buy land of someone who is deceased through a probate lawyer.

The executrix had the house demolished and is selling the property through a probate lawyer. What do I need to do to start the process, what documentation is involved, is this handled through the court? I made a verbal offer which was accepted but that’s all so far.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 28, 2021

in most counties in Pennsylvania the "offer" to purchase is made with an Agreement of Sale. if there is no realtor involved you can hire your own attorney to prepare an Agreement of Sale and present it to the Estate attorney. You may want to have a title search started before you make... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Small Claims for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father passed away in early January. We live in Pennsylvania and he passed away without a will.

He was living with his girlfriend at her house at the time of his passing. He has a fairly large gun collection of about sixty or so firearms including some handguns. My brother is the named executor of the estate that he had to file to open. My father's girlfriend is refusing allowing us in... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 24, 2021

First of all since your brother is named Executor he has the responsibility and the authority to collect and protect all personal property of your father. Since you call your brother the Executor I am assuming there is a Will and the girlfriend is either not named in the Will or was not bequeathed... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My grandfather just passed on. In his will he said his monies were to be split between his 3 daughters. There is an

Investment worth around a hundred thousand or so. At the reading of the will the sister who was P.O.A and also executor of his will jumped up and said "I am the beneficiary of that" the lawyer tried to explain that Pap wanted the money split 3 ways but she kept saying, I am the... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 18, 2021

The sister may be correct. If she is named the beneficiary then that designation will override the Will. However, the executor of the Will has the ability to confirm with the holder of the investment account if the sister is indeed named the beneficiary, and also when she was named the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a PA Estate Lawyer charge 6% on the inheritance taxes that we pay
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 8, 2021

In Pennsylvania the estate attorney's fee is negotiated with the executor of the estate. There are court cases with guidelines as to calculation of the fees. I have never heard the fees being calculated as a percentage of the inheritance taxes paid by the estate.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Sister-in-law (executor) has not paid inheritance taxes after mothers death in 2017, what can I do to protect my wife?

My mother-in-law died Feb. 2017. Sister-in-law took will to courthouse Feb. 2018. Will was drawn up in Ohio, and does not meet PA standards, she needs notarized statements to authenticate mother’s signature. After 3 year she has done nothing. Court has no records that inheritance taxes have... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 7, 2021

if your sister-in-law "took the Will to the courthouse" I will assume that your sister-in-law is the named executor. if that is the case neither you nor you wife can do anything other than (i) demand that she hire an estate attorney and finish the estate administration (including payment... Read more »

5 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father in law died in Oct. He owned a home had a life insurance policy and a union pension. No will help?

My father in law died in Oct. He owned a home had a life insurance policy and a union pension. He had no will in PA. We are having trouble getting information about the policy, deed for the home, actually ever thing we try is an issue we only have a death certificate. Need probate I believe but not... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 7, 2021

since your father in law died without a Will the first question is whether mother in law is still alive. if she is still alive then she is likely the beneficiary on the pension and life insurance and those companies should talk to her once she provides them with a death certificate. if mother in... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: case law regarding a will that sets money in a trust for grandchildren & the grandchild dies before receiving said money

My son died before he got the trust & the trustee wants the money to be given to the other surviving grandchild. The father wants 1/2 the trust money as a surviving heir. I ( the mother) want it given to the other & only grandchild

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Feb 5, 2021

i am afraid i am going to have to give you a typical attorney response--it depends, on the language that created the Trust. Most wills and trusts address this question in the document--that is a question that is usually asked of the grantor (creator of the trust) and is usually addressed, first by... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Probate and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My dad died Aug 17th 2019 and I just found out that my dad left me monies but I think my brother and sister stole what

What was left for me can I get it back or is it too late to do anything

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jan 25, 2021

You will really need to sit down with an experienced estate attorney to review what has happened so far. Since dad died in 2019, you should have been formally notified whether an Estate was going to be opened. If dad had a Will you would receive Notice that an Estate was opened and you were a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law, Business Formation and Business Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Filing a single member LLC in PA as a CPA, are tax preparation services considered restricted professional services?

I am filing an LLC in Pennsylvania to provide general accounting service and preparing tax as a CPA, are the services to be provided considered restricted professional services? The LLC will be a single member LLC. The member is a licensed CPA. No public accounting (typically Auditing or advisory)... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jan 11, 2021

The term "public accounting" as defined in TItle 15 (Section 8996(d) is broader than auditing and advisory services. In fact it specifically lists preparation of tax returns in your capacity as a CPA.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father is in the hospital and not expected to survive. Someone is living on his property and I'll need them to leave.

My father is unresponsive and deteriorating. This was unexpected and he doesn't have a will. My parents are divorced and I am the oldest of his 2 adult children. He owns a trailer in a mobile home park and a former girlfriend is living there. My father was living there originally but got an... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Dec 30, 2020

There is no short answer to your question. Since your father does not have a Will and is divorced, you and your sibling are both eligible to petition to open an Estate and can act as Co-Administrators, or one of you can renounce the right to act as Administrator and the other can act alone. You... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My brother passed away no kids or wife. No will that we can find. There are four remaining siblings, who becomes the

executor of his estate or how can I become the executor.?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Dec 17, 2020

Since there is no will, there will be an administrator appointed for the Estate. You do not state if both or either of your parents are still alive. If they are they will generally have the first right to serve as administrator. If both parents are deceased, you and your other siblings have... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation, Land Use & Zoning and Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is it possible to operate a nonprofit and an unrelated for profit business on the same land?

I, along with 3 others (one of whom is my husband) are looking at buying a large plot of land. Two of us have experience farming and we would like to farm the land for personal use. We would also like to provide food from the farm to those in need. So we would like to apply for nonprofit status and... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Dec 7, 2020

The "simple" answer to your question is it is possible to operate a non-profit and a for-profit on the same land. However the more important and complex questions are (i) does it make sense from a tax and business point of view; and (ii) what are your for-profit goals or objectives. You... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My dad wants to give his house to my sister before he dies. Will this effect his estate after death?

If he transfer deed now. Will he need to redo his will, which states his estate is shared among his seven children?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 30, 2020

if your dad wants to give his house to your sister he may do so by deed now. He should however meet with an estate planning attorney since the gift of the house may change his mind about sharing the rest of his estate equally among the 7 children (since your sister would then get the house + 1/7... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: my aunt sold her property in joint tenancy with another aunt in 7/2010; she executed a will 10/2010; who has rights?
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 2, 2020

you will have to look at the Deed. "Joint tenancy" can be either Joint tenants with the right of survivorship (in which case the survivor of the two joint tenants owns 100% of the property) or tenants in common (in which case your aunt can state in her Will who inherits her 1/2 of the property)

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