Ask a Question

Get free answers to your Estate Planning legal questions from lawyers in your area.

Lawyers, increase your visibility by answering questions and getting points. Answer Questions
Pennsylvania Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Later life marriage; how to make sure my son gets his inheritance?

Never thought this would happen, but I found someone and seems the only way they’ll let this Thai woman (Tang) and I to be together is to get married and apply for a spouse visa. I am 61 and have to stay in US and work for 4 more years until son graduates from HS.

Fiancee is… amazing.... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on May 24, 2024

Assuming your seven IRA account "holders" are reliable and will be around when you pass, under PA law, and the law of all states I know of, wealth will pass by your contracts to your designee adult without having to go through probate or court.

Same with an irrevocable trust...
View More

0 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Late father's property was sold at sheriff's sale. Now purchaser is offering $$ to sign quitclaim?

My estranged father died in 2014, leaving behind a property in Pennsylvania, which apparently had a lien on it for back taxes to the tune of about $11k. In 2022, I was given notice by the sheriff that this property would be sold at auction, should I be interested. I wasn't, and I figured that... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Last Will. I received a copy of my father's will naming his girlfriend as executor. I m a beneficiary. Any rights?

His girlfriend was named beneficiary. Went to lawyer who wanted $5k. She wouldn't pay. My 3 sisters n myself and his church are to evenly divide 50% of his estate but we do not have access to anything. We have never had a good relationship with her. As benefactors, should we be updated on... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on May 5, 2024

Heirs' rights?

Yes, you actually do have many. The best starting point is duties of an Executrix in PA, which are many, but the overriding drive is that every personal representative of a probate estate is to maximize the value of the Estate for the benefit of creditors and the heirs,...
View More

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and International Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My grandfather passed away (resident of California) but had a property in France.

Two years before he passed, he and my grandmother filed wills in France giving each portion of the apartment to me (apartment). How does this get handled in the US and in France?

Stanislav Kshevitskii
Stanislav Kshevitskii
answered on May 5, 2024

According to French law, there are two forms of inheritance acceptance:

acceptance of inheritance in a simple form (complete);

acceptance of the inheritance with the condition of drawing up an inventory.

Full acceptance of the inheritance can be carried out explicitly, by...
View More

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: I just became the executor of my father’s estate. He currently owns a home in Pennsylvania with his girlfriend.

I have to sell my father‘s house due to the amount of debt he accumulated over the years. She hasn’t been keeping up with the mortgage payment, which is now three months behind. Can I sell my father‘s house while behind on payments? Do I need to give my father’s girlfriend, an eviction... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 2, 2024

Who is on the deed to the residence? Look at the most recent deed of record, the chain of title. Life estates? You can have a title search done for both ownership and all liens, and you should do that, as the personal rep of the Estate. If the Estate has a lawyer, that probate lawyer will know... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Upon death of a husband and there’s no bcceneficiary form for a 401k plan, does the wife receivethe distribution?
James L. Arrasmith
PREMIUM
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
answered on Feb 23, 2024

In the absence of a designated beneficiary form for a 401(k) plan, the distribution of the funds will typically follow the plan's default provisions and legal regulations. Generally, the spouse of the deceased individual is considered the primary beneficiary by default in many cases,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Drawing up our own online will for my mother's estate , if I have it notorized in Pennsylvania will it be valid for Nj.?
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Feb 6, 2024

Pursuant to New Jersey statutory law, S.A, 3B:3-2B, a holographic Will, e.g., one handwritten by the decedent, even unsigned (the handwriting of the decedent of the context of the Will may be good enough), can be admitted to probate in NJ, regardless of the location of its drafting. But there are... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Personal Injury for Pennsylvania on
Q: Need help. My babies were put in kinship, across state lines, with their uncle who broke fiduciary oaths..

After my fiancee was killed ($250,000 wrongful death payout cannot currently be accounted for), his brother used loopholes to take all of my family's assets, sabotage a CPS case, and then have my (1 and 3 year old babies) placed in his custody. Vehicles he sued me out of led to lost... View More

Peter Christopher Lomtevas
Peter Christopher Lomtevas pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
answered on Feb 5, 2024

In Pennsylvania, there are very many judicial tricks one can pull to deprive a loved one of money, property and family. Using certain words that trigger judicial reaction based on a policy or an assumption about the public will work wonders. The simple act of filing petitions and not serving the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do I need legal document living with wife and sister in law in family home wife sister 50/50 split estate.

Sister in law is executor of will, mother died in 2017, will not settled yet. Worried about paying property taxes, school taxes, home repairs with 50/50 split, etc. Part of estate includes land rented to farmer so money comes in to estate now. Worried sister in law will not provide information... View More

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Jan 29, 2024

You (and your wife) need legal documents (including a Deed) to close the Estate and make sure all Inheritance Taxes were paid so you end up with clear title to the property. You should also have an agreement between your wife and your sister- in- law to manage the property. Your wife and sister-... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: How long does it take for an attorney to become executor of an estate?

My mother passed away in October. I've been working with an attorney to settle her estate: me and the other heir's signed renunciation papers. I live in another state, and the others are unable to settle the estate.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Jan 27, 2024

Admitting a Will and having a named personal representative (Executor/Executrix) appointed is a pretty simple matter, in most cases, although a personal appearance by the personal representative at the Probate Clerk's office is usually required, to be sworn in.

That can happen where...
View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Banking for Pennsylvania on
Q: My Aunt has written me a check emptying her checking account. What are the legalities if I deposit it in my account?

She is recently under hospice care. I am the soul beneficiary. There’s a lot involved. She’s afraid if we wait until her death I won’t have access and she doesn’t have a legal id to add me to her account.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Jan 12, 2024

We've been representing financial institutions for over two decades.

"Legal id"?

You aunt's financial institution most certainly has her signature card for her deposit account, and that's all that one needs to add another adult to her account, on a simple...
View More

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: What should we do with my widowed mom's house to protect the heirs against capital gains upon her death?

My mom and dad bought the house in the early 70's for about $35,000. The house is now likely worth over $400,000. My dad is deceased, and my mom is 82 and relatively healthy. There are 3 kids, and we want to know if we should do something now to protect against heavy capital gains taxes... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Dec 18, 2023

The PA "death tax" on an Estate, when the heirs are the children of the deceased, is like five percent of the fair market value of what's distributed. No heavy tax.

The Federal 'unified tax and estate' tax has a deductible of several million, so you needn't...
View More

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is it normal for a probate to take over a year and half with a will? There are stocks involved but no property.

Something just doesn't feel right with my in laws estate. The mother passed June of 2022 the father in September. They were seperated, so seperate estates. The mother in laws was just sent to the state for taxes, the lawyer said the stocks portion of it were tedious. My wife just had to... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Dec 15, 2023

Whatever is "normal" is governed, and overridden, by a probated Last Will, with its description of powers of the personal representative/Executor.

The appointed pers rep is charged to ensure that any actions of the Estate work to maximize the distribution to the beneficiaries....
View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can you avoid getting a probate bond without a will?

My mother passed away recently, and she didn't have a will. I contacted an attorney to take care of her estate, and I'm getting the death certificates he needs.

He told me that since she didn't have a will, I'd have to get a bond. The problem is I don't have the... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Nov 17, 2023

Probate court rules can vary from county to county, but in your situation, a "family agreement", which usually deals with matters of both distribution and procedures, would be a good place to provide that you are to be the personal representative and that you are to serve without bond... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: In PA, Can non-probate inheritances be filed on a separate inheritance tax return from the return filed by the estate?

e.g., An estate is established, no will exists. Probate (and some non-probate) items will be included on the Inheritance Tax Return filed for the estate. There also exist some non-probate items with beneficiaries named (e.g. IRA, annuities). Can the beneficiary file their own Inheritance tax... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Nov 16, 2023

In PA, the "estate tax" is levied upon the fair market value of the benefit distributed. Usually, the Will provides that the Estate will pay all debts, and that includes the tax on bequests. Once paid, the distributed benefit gets the "stepped up basis" to its fair market... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: does the creator of a revocable trust need my social security number before it becomes an irrevocable trust?
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Oct 25, 2023

Uh, NO.

A SSN assists in verifying your identity, like your bank account info is important to distribute trust income periodically, but it (neither) has nothing to do with a grantor's choosing to make a trust either revocable or not.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do we start the process of removing the executor?

My sister is executor, my mom passed May 2020, and had a very simple estate. Still not closed out, and she will not respond to emails from me or the probate attorney. There are deposits in moms name she will not clarify where they are

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Oct 25, 2023

This issue, and your questions, should be addressed to your probate attorney.

In PA, every personal representative, whether executor named in a probated will or and administrator, both appointed, and entrusted, by the court, is required to file an Inventory of all estate assets. That...
View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a parent leave a house to their adult children if there's outstanding debt?

My father doesn't think he can leave my sister and I the house because he says the bank still owns it technically. He doesn't know where the deed is, but the courthouse should have it. I don't know what to do. He's in a rehab facility currently, he's 82. He says he said the... View More

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Oct 18, 2023

Yes, of course, assuming the property is located in PA. The owner of the property (him) owns the property, and the bank with a mortgage against the property has a mortgage lien against the property. So long as payments are made in accordance with the mortgage Note, the bank had no right to... View More

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Social Security for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do we fight dad getting moms ss benefits, when she passes away?

They've not been together since the 1970s but are still legally married. Mom can't afford to file for divorce&even if she did, there's no guarantee dad would agree to it. He doesn't deserve to receive her benefits, she doesn't want him to get them. She wants them to go... View More

James L. Arrasmith
PREMIUM
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
answered on Oct 15, 2023

I understand your concerns. In the U.S., if your parents are still legally married, your father might be eligible for certain Social Security benefits upon your mother's passing, regardless of their prolonged separation. Your mother's wishes about her benefits cannot change Social... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: What must executor do in Pennsylvania when a person dies with no assets

My father is in hospice, I am executor. He is in PA. I am in NC but due to health issues can't travel. He has no house, car, assests of any kind except a very small bank account. I am sole beneficiary. I know I don't need probate, but what do I need to do legally to close his estate once he passes?

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
answered on Oct 13, 2023

Probate his will.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.