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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Questions & Answers
0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: What steps do I need to take to deny inheritance? I'm worried that I've missed the 9 month time frame noted online.

Hi, I live in PA and am on Medicaid. A relative died in June 2022 and I am supposed to receive an inheritance from their estate. However, I can't accept my portion because it will jeopardize my Medicaid coverage. What steps do I need to take to deny the inheritance? Thank you in advance!

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Does a deed to a house override a will?

If a house is transfer from my father to my father and sibling as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, does a will giving the house to myself and my other siblings become void? Even if done at the same time or after the deed? Does she automatically get the house no matter what the will says... Read more »

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 22, 2023

A Will, once admitted to probate, and surviving any challenges to validity, distributes assets, and pays debts, existing as of the date of death.

If, prior to death, the testator transfers property to others, then that transfer, assuming it is not invalid, diminishes what is owned at death....
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0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Special needs trust

Can you name a trust as a beneficiary before essentially creating it? If I create the SNT in my Will, but want to fund it after my death via inheritance, can I just name that as a beneficiary? Or do I need to establish the trust by funding it and then name it as a beneficiary?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Public Benefits for Pennsylvania on
Q: Special Needs Trusts

I know a provision in the Will can request an SNT for the benefit of a disabled child. Are SNTs created and/or funded after the death of the grantor(s)? It’s my understanding that one should not leave assets directly to a disabled child, so they don’t lose their government benefits. If a trust... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Mar 19, 2023

a Special Needs Trust can be created either in a Will, in which case it is not funded until the death of the Grantor, or can be created during the lifetime of the Grantor, in which case it is usually funded (at least partially) when created, and additional funds can be added during the lifetime of... Read more »

0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Decedent had a CD with 2/5 children listed as beneficiaries and all 5 siblings agree to split it, court approval needed?

Can you just put the CD through probate along with the other probate property and pay inheritance tax on it rather than have the beneficiaries pay income tax?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Decedent had a CD with 2/5 children listed as beneficiaries and all 5 siblings agree to split it, court approval needed?

Since it’s technically not probate property as there were already designated beneficiaries, does this require court approval or does a family settlement agreement suffice?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 15, 2023

While a family settlement agreement always seems like a good idea in probate/post-death matters, with the facts provided, I doubt that one is even necessary. The two named CD beneficiaries are free to share/dispose of their distributions however they like. No court approval seems necessary, on... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: what is the difference between the beneficiaries and the trustees when completing a will document?
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 9, 2023

The beneficiaries are those who benefit from current or future distributions from the Trust.

The Trustee is the one charged by the Trust documents with managing the assets, seeing to all administrative obligations (tax returns, etc.), and making distributions, all in accordance with the...
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0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I received an Estate Questionaire from Estate Recovery in PA for my deceased mom who was LTC on Medicaid.

She had about $5000.00 in her joint checking account which I closed out as well as about $20,000 in life insurance refund from her Pre-payed funeral which that refund was payed directly to my sister and I. Is Medicaid going to want this money? She had no other assets.

2 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: are the heirs responsible for a reversed mortgage after parents die ? If there was no money in the estate.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Feb 15, 2023

Directly, no, unless one or more of the heirs has signed a guarantee with the provider(s) of health care for the deceased.

An argument may be made by the creditor, however, for heir-liability, in the absence of a guaranty, if any of the heirs claimed the decedent as a dependent during life....
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: I deposited personal funds into an estate checking account. Can I repay myself from the estate for those funds?

I'm the estate administrator

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Feb 13, 2023

The answer depends on the reason you deposited those funds. If the reason was just to open the account or maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees, then yes. If it was for some other reason, then the answer is you should ask your probate attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My mother recently passed away. I took care of her. I received a letter from an attorney that my mom's uncle died.

She is listed as 1 of the 5 to receive money. Its her 2 brothers and 2 of her sisters kids because their mom died. Would i get what my mother was being left? I am the only child she had. The woman said she would check because of a form that has to be filled out. My mom's sister is deceased and... Read more »

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Feb 6, 2023

Whether your mother is a distributee of the uncle's will depends upon how the uncle's will reads. It's common for Wills to include alternate provisions for named heirs who predecease the testator, and your great-uncle's will may well redirect the bequest to your mother when she... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: If you are left a specified amount in a will , can the lawyer tell you your going to receive less than was specified .

The specified amount was the same for my 2 siblings and 2 charities . I live in nj but the will is coming from pa

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Feb 3, 2023

There is not enough information in your question to give you a definite answer, but if the total estate is not large enough to pay 100% of the specific bequests to you and your siblings and the charities, then yes you can receive less than 100% of the specific bequest. However, typically all of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My parents have been married 40 years. They want to transfer property from only my dad's name to both. What do they do?

He has real estate as well as our house in his name only, and my mom wants her name put on the property as well. How can they go about switching ownership legally from just him to both of them, so that her name can also be on the deed?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Jan 30, 2023

Easy to transfer title ownership.

Your father can sign a deed from himself to both his wife and him, and probably as joint tenants, with right of survivorship so that when one dies, the other owns the entire property automatically. He then records the deed. There will be a fee for that by...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have a friend who changed their bank account and listed me as next of kin now upon rigorous paperwork he has now takin

Taken me off that list now I did not sign any paperwork I did not know about this till until today and this was done last week do I have any legal right because he did this without my knowledge or my signature or anything I just want advice on this thank you very much. Just wanted to add in... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jan 24, 2023

Your friend has every right to change his identification of "next of kin" with the bank any time he wants and your signature is not required.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My brothers and I are owners of our family home with my oldest brother having 5/8 and the others 1/8.

My oldest brother is having serious health problems that could possibly be fatal. He has incurred some medical debt due to having no health insurance. If he signs over his 5/8 share of the property to the rest of us, can we avoid paying his medical bills with the estate if he should pass away?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Jan 11, 2023

PA has a "fraudulent transfer" statute, to defeat the give-away of assets by a debtor or soon-to-be debtor intending to make himself "judgment proof". The reach-back period to recapture transfers of property for insufficient consideration is four years.

You don't...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Business Law, Probate and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Estate property sole without executor consent for SIGNIFICANTLY Below market value

Father passed away in 2017. I was named the sole executor and beneficiary in his will. The will explicitly outlined this property as belonging to him and being left to me in the case of his death. Suddenly a silent business partner that walked away four years ago exerts that he is half owner of the... Read more »

David Kennedy Bifulco Esq.
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David Kennedy Bifulco Esq. PRO label
answered on Dec 2, 2022

Dear Executor, without more details it is difficult to give you an answer as to what recourse you may have. That aside you are the Executor which means that you step into your Father's shoes regarding the disposition of his assets. The attorney that represented the Estate should have... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello, my mother has a 401 k with Fidelity. She passed away without a will and I need some kind of small estate

document in order to collect funds but I don't know exactly what I need. My mom did not own a home or have any assets can someone give me a clear answer on what I need to do and please talk in layman's terms so I can understand please.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Oct 31, 2022

Since your mother had a 401k plan, she should have designated you as beneficiary (or one of several beneficiaries) to receive the account. If she did not designate at least one beneficiary, then your mother died Intestate (without a will) and Fidelity is describing a Small Estates Petition in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hello I'm trying to collect funds from my mom estate but I need some kind of estate document and I'm not sure what I nee

I don't know the document I need

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Oct 26, 2022

You haven't provided all the necessary information, e.g., where is the probate proceeding in your mom's case, and are you the named and acting Executor under the will, and has the will been accepted/admitted into probate?

If you are the named Executor, you can procure Letters...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My daughter got married a few days ago. She asked me to sign my will and trust before

the wedding. But the lawyer won't let me do. He scheduled about week after her wedding. I am still not signed yet.

I worry what make a difference. I her parter has a will and already signed or his own money.

I would like to know what makes difference.

Thank you

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Oct 20, 2022

There is a concept in marital law about "separate property of each spouse, meaning property acquired by each prior to the marriage, or by will or gift after the marriage.

A will transfers no property until the death of the testator, and until then, can always be changed so long as the...
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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
PREMIUM
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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