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Questions Answered by Steven J. Fromm
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do you sell a house after the person passed away? What would those named executors have to do to sell the property?

Woman passed away, leaving an UN-NOTARIZED will to her 3 sons - naming 2 of the 3 executors. There is a house to sell. What needs to be done to sell the house? Can the two executors sell it?

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Feb 6, 2021

The first step is to probate the will at the Register of Wills in the county where the decedent lived at the time of death. Once letters testamentary and short certificates are obtained, then the executors have the authority to sell the house.

Right now there are special procedures that...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Questions about selling an inherited house

I inherited a house in Maryland. The estate is in probate and I'm the executor and sole heir (I will be filling for modified administration). As I understand it, the house can be sold either by the estate or deeded to me first before the sale. For both options, when exactly in the probate... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Feb 6, 2021

Attorney Oakley offers sound advice regarding the estate administration process. From a tax perspective, you want to value the real estate at its true value at the date of death. You will have this as your basis for purposes of selling the property. This is the so-called " step up" in... Read more »

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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 »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Feb 6, 2021

My fellow attorneys here offer sound advice. The only point to add is that due to Covid -19 many of the Register of Wills offices have either special or emergency procedures for getting an estate probated. You should probably retain an estates attorney to assist you.

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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

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Feb 12, 2021

Fellow attorney Cherewka offers sound advice. Understand that a trust's terms and provisions are what the trustee must follow. If the trust terms and provisions require the payment to the surviving grandchild, that is what the trustee must do. He has no discretion to do anything else and if... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My wife is joint owner on a bank account with her father. He recently passed. What are the tax implications to her?

Also, the intention is to split with her brother. How should this be done such that his tax implications are separate from ours? Bank and brother are in NY, we are in PA.

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 31, 2021

Please see my January 14, answer to this identical question.

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My wife is joint owner on a bank account with her father. He recently passed. What are the tax implications to her?

Also, the intention is to split with her brother. How should this be done such that his tax implications are separate from ours? Bank and brother are in NY, we are in PA.

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 31, 2021

It is unclear if the father is a PA or New York resident. If we assume the father was a PA resident at his death, then the joint bank account will be taxed by PA at 50% of its value on the date of death and at 4.5%. This assumes that the account existed as a joint account for more than one year... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a Credit Union drain account to pay for credit card immediately after death?

I am a joint owner on my mothers checking account. After her death the credit union automatically transferred all of the money from the checking account to pay off her credit card (also from credit union). I now have no way to pay for her funeral. I was under the assumption that creditors would... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 31, 2021

Please see my answer on your January 6, 2021 posted question which is the same as this question.

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

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 31, 2021

Attorney Cherewka offers sound advice. You really need to get on top of this issue immediately. If there was fraud, the longer you wait the less chance you have of recovering stolen assets. You should seek out an orphans court litigation attorney if you suspect fraud, or misappropriation of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Colorado on
Q: In CO, 2x ERISA plans worth $200k w/ beneficiary as 15 yrs removed ex-wife (no children of marriage) but 93 yo mom alive

We are in Colorado - but federal law might determine the answer to this question. There is an 93-year old mother of recently deceased son (no children) who is not the named beneficiary of two of her son's ERISA plans. Rather the nasty ex-wife 15 years removed still is the beneficiary named... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 24, 2021

I am not a Colorado attorney and you ultimately must get with a Colorado estates/tax attorney to get a definitive answer. I can only tell you that in PA this surviving spouse would NOT be allowed to take as beneficiary since she is divorced from the deceased husband.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: My mother just passed away and I was not in town. Her lawyer told the caregiver to lock up the house and leave.

I am listed as executor of the estate on the copy of the will they gave my mother gave me but have not filed for probate yet. Am I able to go and take care of the house and keep the bills up to date or do I have to wait for probate to start?

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 24, 2021

The short answer is that you must probate the will so that you are officially designated as the executor/executrix of the estate. For example, in PA the will needs to be presented to the Register of Wills along with other required documentation including a Petition for Grant of Letters... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a Credit Union drain account to pay for credit card immediately after death?

I am joint owner of the bank account and will be the estate executor and now have no money to pay for funeral.

Edit: The Joint checking account and credit card are both with the credit union. I am not a cosigner on credit card. My mother passed away last week and upon notification of her... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jan 31, 2021

You really need to find out the terms of the bank agreement. If it is spelled out in the credit union's fine print, it then may be legal to do so. Get them to provide you the contractual provision where it justifies this action. Once you have the definitive legal authority for their actions,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Indiana on
Q: Can adult child of deceased open probate for estate with no will and recently discovered assets that just disappeared?

Have discovered assets in excess of$50k that I assume sister with POA has kept. Mother passed Oct. 4, 2019. Her home was supposedly transferred on death to sister by other POA (mother's deceased husband), after removing mother's name from deed, yet home is still in his name. Can't... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 24, 2020

Sadly, when a POA does not honor her fiduciary duties, legal action must be brought to rectify the wrongdoings committed. Estate litigation is very expensive so the retainer fee does not sound out of line. You may want to shop for a lower retainer arrangement, but remember the final fee is based... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate on
Q: mother's will states that her house to be sold and proceeds divided between her three children. we would like our older

sister [mom caregiver] to have the house.

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 24, 2020

This can be done. It just depends on the best way to do this and what Florida state law requires. The estate could transfer the property to her for nominal consideration to your sister. This would be an indirect gift from the two of you to her, since the estate would not be selling it for its true... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Probate for Indiana on
Q: Dissolution of marriage was finalized 1 mo. before ex died. Document stated 2 vehicles were to be sold & profits split.

Vehicles were not sold before death. One truck was in wife’s name and other was in both. Does the truck default back to the title holder on death of ex-husband or does it still need to be sold and split? What about truck in both names or does it default back to surviving title holder?

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 21, 2020

If you have a signed property settlement agreement that would be controlling. Ultimately, the proceeds of both sales are split between the wife and the ex-husband's estate.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: Do I need a lawyer to execute a will?

I'm executor of my father's will, he has no belongings to speak of as he is in assisted living, and has a couple of bank accounts, he is in failing health with Alzheimer's

Thank you

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 21, 2020

The real issue is whether he has periods of lucidity where he has legal capacity to sign a will. This can be a real problem. You need to retain an estates lawyer who can determine whether your father has legal capacity to sign a will under his specific circumstances.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Land Use & Zoning for Arkansas on
Q: Do I need my husbands signature to sell land that is in both our names?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 20, 2020

Yes, indeed. If the current deed has both of your names as owners then you must have him sign any deed transferring ownership to a buyer. Arkansas may allow a power of attorney to sign for him but you need to speak to a real estate attorney in your state to see if this is possible.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for North Carolina on
Q: In NC..is the administer of estate. Appointed by court reasonable for maintaining utilities during probate

Responsible for upkeep and utilities being on

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 20, 2020

If the real estate is part of the probate estate, then the administrator must maintain, protect and preserve the property. So the administrator should pay any and all expenses related to the upkeep of the property during the estate administration.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Wisconsin on
Q: My daughter's father left her some money we spent it before her 18th birthday. Now what is probate court going to do.

I am suppose to show proof that the money is in a account but my daughter and I spent the money..Now probate court keeps calling me and I don't know what to do

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 19, 2020

You need to immediately retain an estates attorney to discuss your obligations to account for this money. Your exposure here may depend on how you spent the money. For example, if you spent the money for your daughter's health, education, support, etc. then you may not have a problem. But a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for North Dakota on
Q: My grandmother passed away. Looking over her will with my uncles, she had stated that I receive $25,000. Never got it?

My grandmother passed away in 2014. Before her passing, my uncles and I had seen her will. In it, she stated that all living grandchildren receive $25,000.00. I remember my uncle was upset cause all he was gonna get(which is sad) was the keepsakes. Like grandpa's violin and security safes. I... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 19, 2020

You are very late in raising these issues. There are statutes of limitation rules that require parties to timely object to an estate administration. You should talk to an estates lawyer in the county where your grandmother died to go over all the details to see if something can be now. Also, if... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Iowa on
Q: how can I find out if someone had a will

My sons sperm donor passed away 2 months ago and I have been told by several people he left his things to our son. The brother will have nothing to do with my son or I and there are no other children

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 19, 2020

If he had a will it would be probated at the register of wills office in the county where he died. Probating a will is a matter of public record and you can get information by calling them (although the pandemic has made this harder). After you get this information, you may need to retain an... Read more »

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