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Questions Answered by Stephen M. Asbel
2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Elder Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Am I legally required probate husband's will if he left entire estate to me ?

I am selling commercial property with both our names on deeds. We were in the process of doing this together before his passing but never started any listing etc. I just want to sell as is, no contingency, cash only. Must I probate the will or can I just proceed as we were planning?

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Oct 25, 2022

If both you and your husband's name are on the deeds for these properties, then your ownership probably was "tenancy by the entireties" - a form of ownership for married couples under which when one spouse dies, the suriving spouse becomes the sole owner by survivorship. The... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My grandfather left his house to me in his will ,so after the reading of the will can I change the locks on the house
Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Sep 28, 2022

The short answer is no. The house must pass through the estate administration. The executor must first ensure that your grandfather's debts, if any are addressed, that the administrative expenses of the estate are paid, and the required inheritance tax and any other tax obligations that may... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is common law marriage still able to apply when a couple has been together for more than 30 years and one of them dies?

The "wife" died and house was in both names. Would common law marriage be able to apply in this circumstance when there is no will that everything would go to the "husband". My research on internet looks like yes it can as long as they were together before 2005. The lawyer... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Jun 17, 2022

Pennsylvania law says: "No common-law marriage contracted after January 1, 2005, shall be valid." If the couple were together since before 2005, there MAY be a common law marriage. However, validity of a common law marriage requires more than just living together for a certain period of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: I want to keep my mom's home, she passed away in April, and there's a balance on her mortgage, how?

It has a 26 thousand dollars balance, can I keep it or do I have to sell it?

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Jun 7, 2022

To fully answer your question would require additional information because whether or not you can keep the house will depend upon a number of factors. Are there other assets which can be used to pay off the mortgage? Are there other debts beside the mortgage which must be paid? Are there other... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Collections and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father recently passed, resided in PA and had no assets and or no estate He did have over $30,000 of sole-owed debt.

Funeral expenses will be paid by family members. He had less than $250 in the bank, and once Social Security re-claims the pro-rated portion of his monthly benefit paid at the beginning of the month, there will be insufficient funds. There is no life insurance, property, vehicle, etc. Can the... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Jun 2, 2022

As a practical matter, if the credit card issuers are notified by letter that your father is deceased, there are no assets available to pay their bills and the family is not raising an estate administration, the likely result will be they will write off the balance. To the extent there is any... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a financial power of attorney remove assets from an estate without compensation?

My parents helped my sibling(1) buy a house and also provided money to make improvements - new roof, bathroom(s) remodeled, etc. Now both my parents are incapacitated. My other sibling(2) has power of attorney over both of them, and used the power to re-title the property in sibling(1) name only,... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Apr 27, 2022

There is not a clear answer to this question. It would be necessary to review the Power of Attorney document to see if it grants to the agent the power to make such a gift. It would also be necessary to evaluate whether or not this transfer was in the interest of the parents (such as for estate... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father's estate is in probate in PA. As an heir, do I have the rights to enter house?

The are five sibling and the will specifies that the estate be settled equally; each sibling receiving 20%. My sister lived with my father prior to his passing and continues to occupy the property. She is the executrix of the estate and has specifically denied us access to the house. We want to... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Mar 30, 2022

The executrix stands as your deceased father's personal representative so she can decide who can enter the property. The rest of the beneficiaries have a beneficial interest. If you believe the estate is not being administered properly or the property is not being maintained, you can file a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If my father dies does his wife get everything if he doesn't have a will. I'm his son from a previous marriage.
Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Mar 23, 2022

If your father was a resident of Pennsylvania and did not have a will, the Pennsylvania intestate succession law would apply. In a situation where the deceased was married and one or more of his children was not also the child of the spouse, then the spouse's share would be one-half of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Are standard bank accounts eligible for Elective Share?

For example, a husband passes and has standard bank accounts in excess of $50k in his name only that in his will are left to his daughter. His surviving spouse takes Elective Share. Is the surviving spouse eligible to receive the 1/3 share of those accounts? This situation being in Pennsylvania.

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Mar 18, 2022

These bank accounts are counted as part of the total of assets that count toward calculating the 1/3 elective share even if the accounts were specifically left the decedent's daughter. Whether the surviving spouse actually receives money out of the accounts depends upon whether there are... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father passed away in October 2021, what would be accepted on how to calculate inheritance tax on the house?

Yes, my sister and I plan on keeping the house for the foreseeable future. How would I go about getting this data, county assessed value and common level ratio, to compute what we owe in tax?

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Mar 8, 2022

The inheritance tax on the house is based upon its value on the date of death. The PA Department of Revenue allows a choice of three methods for determining the date of death value. One is gross sale price, if sold within 15 months after date of death, which apparently does not apply to your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: In the state of Pennsylvania, if I own a property before marriage and get divorced later is that property in jeopardy?

My husband and daughter are co-owners on the deed for the property that we currently have 2 homes on. They have owned this property for 9 years. My daughter is getting married in July. My question is 2 fold. 1. If my husband dies before me, does his share become mine? 2. If my daughter divorces,... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Feb 15, 2022

To completely answer your question, I would need more information. Concerning the first part of your question, what happens in the event of your husband dying before you, it depends upon the form of shared titled your husband and daughter have on this property. If your husband and daughter own... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My dad passed away with no will. I am the sole beneficiary for everything. Can i sign a paper that i dont want it?

He does have a sister also. I don't want the house or car or anything to do with it

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Feb 1, 2022

In Pennsylvania, you can sign a document called a "disclaimer" which indicates you wish to not receive either all or part of what you would inherit. If you sign a disclaimer, for purposes of the estate administration, you would be considered to have died before your father. The question... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do I need to get a quit claim deed in order to assume a loan?

My husband recently passed while we were on a COVID assistance mortgage plan. For the last couple of months I have been trying to get off of the plan but the mortgage company will not let me without assuming the mortgage. You see my husband was the only one on the mortgage but we are both listed... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Dec 27, 2021

Please accept my condolences for your loss. Perhaps an easier way to address this problem is to work around it. If you and your husband were both on the deed, that is a tenancy by the entireties which means that upon your husband's death, by the rule of survivorship, you became the sole... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My Mother did not leave a will. 3 surviving kids, 2 deceased. Are the kids of the 2 deceased entitled to her estate.

I know the 3 surviving children of my Mother's split her estate. Does that include the 2 deceased son's as well? Do their children get a piece of my Mother's estate without a will?

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Aug 2, 2021

Under Pennsylvania law when there is no will, assuming that your mother was not married at the time of her death, the estate would be divided into equal shares - one share for each living child and one share for each deceased child who has living children or descendants. Each living child would... Read more »

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