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Questions Answered by Michael Cherewka
2 Answers | Asked in DUI / DWI and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: How to interpret Living Trust name: John Doe TTEE UA DTD 5/11/12 FOR THE John Doe TRUST, 201 Greenwood St Millerstown?

Sorry clicked before completed question - how to interpret the name of a living trust: John Doe TTEE, UA DTD 5/11/12 FOR THE John Doe TRUST, 201 Greenwood Street, Millerstown PA?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Dec 10, 2019

John Doe, Trustee under trust agreement dated 05/11/2012. "The John Doe Trust" is another way to name or reference the same trust. The remainder was the address of the trust at the time the trust was created (05/11/2012)

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Contingent Beneficiary

My mother passed away shortly after changing her will to place my step-father as beneficiary/executer and placing myself (only natural child) and included my step-sister as contingent beneficiaries upon his death. He had a will made up saying the same.

Due to the nature of my moms sudden... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Dec 3, 2019

It looks like you may have two questions here. First, if your mother had an Estate opened then you can get a copy of her Will from the Register of Wills in the county where she lived at the time of her death. No one could change your mother's Will except her, and only while she was alive. Her... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My daughters father passed away in Jan, we were not together. His will was excuated prior to her being 18.

His girlfriend was excuator and my daughter received nothing not even any personal belongings. Can this happen?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Nov 11, 2019

Without all the facts the general answer is it is possible but highly unusual. Your daughter should obtain a copy of the Will and review it with an experience probate attorney. If the Will does not mention your daughter's name she may have a claim that she was inadvertently left out of the Will

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have a revocable trust drawn up in FL where I live. I have property in Pennsylvania I would like put in the trust

Does the PA lawyer need to see the whole trust? Can I just do a quit claim?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Nov 7, 2019

Most PA lawyers would want to review the Trust Agreement before preparing the Deed. The terms of the Trust can actually determine if the transfer into the Trust is subject to PA Realty Transfer Tax which you may not have considered . Deed prep is not that expensive, and you would want a PA... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My Brother and I previously acquired our family cabin for $1. No deed survivor clause, but how can my sons get it?

I want to ensure my 2 sons eventually acquire the cabin and acreage. Although I have a basic Will noting my sons are to receive my 1/2 ownership, can my Brother do the same to ensure his ownership doesn't go into probate to his wife and subsequently leave the original family, or is there something... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Nov 7, 2019

The first place to start is to review the current deed. If it does not contain "joint tenants with right of survivorship" language then you and your brother own the property as tenants in common, and you each can transfer or bequeath your 1/2 share in your separate Wills. Your brother's spouse... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Business Formation for Pennsylvania on
Q: Family charity no longer has family members on the charity board, is there a way I (family member) can get on the board?

about 10 years ago, my family started a charity that I describe as "Make a Wish for adults with terminal conditions/disabilities." This charity was started in my late grandfather's name. when the charity was started, it had two of my family members on the board, the rest were close family friends... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 28, 2019

These are difficult situations when the family founders lose touch with the charity since charities are not "owned" by anyone. Also depends on whether a public charity or a private foundation. Depends on original documents, tax status, and other factors. In Pennsylvania the Attorney General's... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My fathers estatehas been in probate for two years. How long does it take for an estate to be setyled in pennsylvania ?
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 25, 2019

there really is no "standard" time to probate an estate in PA. it really depends on the type of assets in the estate, existing debts and other factors. it is not unusual for probate to take two years, but if you are a beneficiary you should be receiving regular updates as to the progress of the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: If only the beneficiary can I request an account of what the lawyer has done 9 months after my fathers death ?

I am the beneficiary of my fathers estate but not the executor. Can I have the laywer give me an account of what he has put out and taken in through the estate and what so far he has done?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 16, 2019

There are a few key facts missing here, first being WHO is the Executor? The Executor has an obligation to administer the estate, which includes keeping the beneficiaries informed as to the status of the administration. If the lawyer is the Executor then you certainly have the right to ask him or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If I suspect a POA agent of abusing principal's finances, is it up to me to ask for a court's review of expenditures?

Or, does a court review expenditures, as a matter of process, after a POA has been appointed? I can only guess it was a general POA. The principal (a PA resident) has, since, passed and, while I understand the POA was terminated with the principal's death, I fear the estate (small) is less than... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 1, 2019

this is a very broad question so at best can give a general answer. If this was a POA pursuant to a written General POA signed by the principal (as opposed to a court appointed guardian or agent) then there is not much oversight unless the principal or someone on behalf of the principal reports... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: In Pennsylvania, does property in a trust that is held for a specific person automatic pass to that person upon death?

It is stated in the trust that the property passes to a named beneficiary. Does title immediately pass upon death, similar to how it would in a will?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 25, 2019

A little more information is needed. The specific wording in the Trust, the type of property, etc.. If the Trust is not continued, or a new Trust is not created, then the property will generally pass to the named beneficiaries. This is not automatic as you refer to, but will require a trust... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Probate was opened in pa and eight years later will was filed
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 19, 2019

There does not appear to be a question here?

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: In PA, if an account of the spouse is TOD to another family member does the surviving spouse get 1/3 elective share rig

In PA, Marital asset being willed to another family member and account has a Transfer on death to another family member. If the surviving spouse is not left 1/3 of assets can they elect a 1/3 if it’s a TOD? Financial investment guy says it doesn’t matter if the surviving spouse doesn’t get... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 16, 2019

The spousal election is taken against all of decedent's assets as a whole, and not against individual assets. The statute is specific as to what assets are included in the election, and it also excludes a few. The eligible assets are NOT limited to probate assets. For example, jointly held... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can my estranged parents steal from money left to me from my grandfather if I'm an adult?

My grandfather left my brother and I legacies so that we can attend/complete college. He also left us some money in his will. He recently died and we are concerned that our parents, who we are not close with, may try to steal that money. Can they legally access this since we are legal adults? Are... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 16, 2019

sorry no way to answer your questions without seeing the Will. If you think your grandfather may have left you some assets hire a probate attorney that can help you verify if there is a will or if an estate has been opened and whether or not you might be a beneficiary

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Pa law. If decedent died intestate and a biological child was adopted. Does grandchild of biological child inherit?

No spouse, one other biological child.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 11, 2019

I am going to restate this slightly to make sure I am reading this correctly. It appears that Decedent had a biological child that was then legally adopted by separate parent(s). Under PA law it is clear that the Child will inherit from the adoptive parent(s) but will NOT inherit (under intestacy... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Are deceased sibling's children now "issues" to an uncle's intestate estate in PA entitled to funds therefrom?

I would like clarification--my deceased mother was alive when my uncle passed away, and she passed away

20 years ago before my uncle's intestate estate was recently settled by an attorney/administrator. Since I was

not a beneficiary to my mother's 20 year old estate, the sole... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Aug 19, 2018

It is unclear from your summary whether your mother had a Will or not. These are very fact intensive and time sensitive issues. In general, based on your description above, if your mother was alive when your uncle died, and your mother was a beneficiary of his estate at the time of his death,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Distribution of intestate PA estate from uncle to nieces and nephews. He had no wife, children, parents, or siblings.

When my uncle died in 1992, my mother, his sister, was alive. She passed away in 1998 before my uncle's PA intestate estate was recently settled 3 months ago. She had a FL will that was settled 20 years ago. I was not a beneficiary.

When distributions were made from my uncle's estate,... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Aug 17, 2018

Under the circumstances you describe, since your mother survived your uncle, she was entitled to her share of your uncle's Estate when he died, and once she died any distributions from your uncle's estate would typically be made to your mother's estate. There are some limited exceptions to this... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: I am a neighbor to a woman here in pa..

Her daughter lives in Virginia, has power of attorney and cleaned out her house of clothes, dinnerware, dishes, bowls, spoons, furniture, bed and box spring...

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Aug 16, 2018

I am not sure there is a question here ? The Power of Attorney only allows the daughter to take actions on behalf of her mother.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: will splits property 50/50 with my bro but than sets value of her farm at a low rate gives bro right of 1st refusal

Can my Mother set the value at an unrealistic low price of her property and give my brother right of first refusal when the actual value is about 3 times that value? Or if he is not around gives his wife that same right. Can this be contested to show actual market value of the property?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Aug 12, 2018

It is unclear from this summary if this is a Will and a separate agreement which is a combination of a sale and gift, or if this is all set forth in a Will. In general there is nothing wrong with a partial sale/partial gift, but as you have described it there are a lot of questions regarding if... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: DOES A HANDWRITTEN WILL BY A FAMILY MEMBER OF A DECEASED PERSON SUPERSEDE THE RIGHTS OF A SPOUSE IN PENNSYLVANIA?

MY DECEASED HUSBAND'S BROTHER HAND WROTE A RATHER SKETCHY WILL JUST PRIOR TO MY HUSBAND'S DEATH WITH ONE OF THE BENEFICIARIES AS A WITNESS ALONG WITH HIMSELF SERVING AS THE OTHER WITNESS; ALSO I WAS TOLD THAT THE WILL WAS NOTARIZED WITHOUT MY SICK HUSBAND PRESENT. MY HUSBAND HAD A SMALL BANK... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Aug 21, 2017

There are too many unanswered questions at this point. You need to visit with an attorney familiar with probate process as soon as possible. If , as you describe, the brother hand wrote the Will, then it probably does not qualify as a valid Will in PA. You then have to look at the PA Intestacy... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Myself and siblings are admins on my mothers estate.

My sister refuses to sign checks so we can get money unless i give half to my children. Can she legally do that

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Aug 17, 2017

There is not enough information to provide you with an Answer. You should first review the language of the Will with an attorney to determine beneficiaries. If no Will, then it is not likely that your children are heirs and sister cannot force that type of distribution. You have several options,... Read more »

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