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Questions Answered by Steven J. Fromm
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Washington on
Q: After 2 months of marriage my husband passed away he owned a house and cars he has three step children and there is no w
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 9, 2021

So sorry to hear about this tragic event. When a person dies without a will then the laws of intestate succession apply. If he was domiciled in Washington at his death then the laws of that state will control. Normally, the wife gets a certain percentage of the estate and the children get the... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: I'm a single woman, no children, all my siblings live out of state. Should I appoint a Florida lawyer as a trustee/exec

of my estate? I have completed a FL Revocable Living Trust, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, a FL Durable Power of Attorney appointing my brother as trustee. Brother is on all bank accounts. My house is in a Revocable Living Trust. Just don't want to burden my out-of-state brother.

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 9, 2021

Mr Gunthert offers sound advice. If you have trust in your brother, that should be the major and overriding consideration as to who should serve. You really do not know who to trust these days so your brother sounds like a great choice.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Oregon on
Q: Mom died. All her assets are in a trust. Do I (trustee) have to file her will if it has nothing to probate? Thanks.
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 9, 2021

The short answer is no, if she had no assets in her name.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Idaho on
Q: I want to change my second named executor of our living trust. Do I have to get a lawyer just to change a name?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 5, 2021

Yes, you should have a simple addendum or amendment to the trust to document this change. Do not do this on your own or cross out the first name and add in the second name.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Indiana on
Q: Final wishes if executor has already died.

My husband and I have no children. We are each other’s executors. So clearly, one of us won’t have an executor. This isn’t a problem to us as we have agreed to leave anything left over in our estate to charity. But in the state of Indiana, there is a requirement of Authorization needed before... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 5, 2021

This is always a difficult question. It is not really a question of law. It really is having people in your lives that you trust. Sometimes clients in your situation look to friends, more distant relatives or trusted professionals, like a CPA or attorney who you can trust. Really, your wills,... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Illinois on
Q: My dad passed away and without my knowledge my sister sold his home and kept the money.What can I do to receive my part?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 5, 2021

Without knowing the specific facts it is hard to tell what is going on here. For example, if your dad had transferred the real estate to her during his lifetime, then she is within her rights to sell the property as she is the rightful owner. You could check with the Recorder of Deeds in the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New Jersey on
Q: My father died and owes $30k in car loan debt after death. The estate does not have $30k. How to start debt negotiation?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Jun 5, 2021

You can reach out to the lender to negotiate a settlement. Explain the circumstances and let them know the estate cannot pay the obligation. Try to enter into an agreement to pay as little as possible. Any settlement should be put into an agreement that is signed by the parties. Do not pay... Read more »

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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 »

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