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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Banking for Pennsylvania on
Q: My husband and I are in the divorce process. I just found out he refinanced the house w/o my knowledge. Is this legal?

My husband (soon ex) and I built a house together 3 years ago. Due to criminal charges and domestic he was evicted from the home and I live here with our children. We are both on the deed as well as his father (who helped us) but I am not on the home loan, just my husband and his father. I just got... Read more »

Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo answered on Aug 1, 2020

If he signed mortgage documents without you joining in, you are unaffected by the new mortgage documents.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My adult daughter died suddenly without a will in PA. She was disabled, owned nothing & only has a bank account.

How do I proceed to obtain the money in the bank account? It's under $2000.

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Jul 29, 2020

Unfortunately, if your name is not on the account, you will have to open an estate, and, even more unfortunately, it will likely cost you more than $2,000.00, even under the “small estate” procedures.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: What does it means to no longer live in a home pertainining to a Will

My Mother left a Will pertaining that my if my sibling no longer live at resident the house has to be sold.The sibling wasn't living there when the Will was written hasn't live there for over 2 yrs. never changed there mailing address so all the mail goes there,another sibling and... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jul 25, 2020

This is a case where cannot give you an answer without reading the exact words of the Will. But in general conditions in a Will such as this are enforceable. So if the Will names a particular sibling, and states that the house is to be sold if that sibling is not living there, and that sibling is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: If I provide for my son and my husband provides for his son in our wills, if I pass first,does his son get everything?

We have separate wills. I have provided for my son and my husband has provided for his son. If I pass first, would my husbands son receive everything and my son nothing?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jul 20, 2020

You state that you have separate Wills, but it is not clear if you are leaving everything to your husband if you die first (in which case his Will would control all assets when he dies (and vice versa if he dies first) or if you are leaving your husband out of your Will and trying to leave all... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Separate wills and separate benificiaries?

My husband and I have separate wills. In my will,I provide for my son if my husband does not survive me. In my husband’s will, he provides for his son if I do not survive him. If I should pass first, does everything go to his son after my husband passes and my son does not receive anything?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 17, 2020

Your statement of facts answers your question. You wrote, "In my husband’s will, he provides for his son if I do not survive him." Other than that, there is no way for any attorney in this forum to answer your question without actually reviewing your husband's will.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is there oversight if someone dies and no one files a will?

My father, whom I was estranged from, died in April 2020. I am curious about his will and would like to know its content. I have no idea who the executor is or if there is one. He died in a nursing home. County says no will has been registered at this time. 1) Does someone have to file a... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jul 2, 2020

Your post shows Oregon as the origin so I will start off by saying probate is state specific, depending on where the decedent resided at the time of death. That being said, in Pennsylvania there is no requirement to probate a Will unless the decedent had sufficient assets to open an estate, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Thank you in advance!!!

Hi, Here’s my question.

My father has own land in Puerto Rico for about 30+ years Maybe even reaching 40 yrs.

Me my brother and my sister are all adults, we were supposed to keep the land and the house in Puerto Rico after his death.

But he has been married now for quite a... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Jun 29, 2020

This is not the kind of question that you can get a general answer to. Many questions such as does dad live in Pennsylvania or in Puerto Rico. And where were they married? and does dad have a will? you (and dad) will need to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure dad has... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My grandmother just recently passed but she left a handwritten will in which I was a witness to

In the will it states how she wanted her assets divided among the family which include money she had left in the bank. But however her daughter who has her named on the account refuses to carry out my grandmother wishes is this legal

Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall answered on Jun 18, 2020

Potentially, if your grandmother and her daughter were joint owners of the bank account (which is also called "joint owners with the right of survivorship" - check the paperwork that was signed when the account was opened, or when daughter's name was added to the account). In such a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: My wife and I are both disabled and a disabled 22 year old son whom we need a power of attorney for.

My wife and I are both disabled and a disabled 22 year old son whom we need a power of attorney for. Please help poor and have very limited funds where can we get help?

We live in western PA

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jun 5, 2020

your local legal aid /legal services should be able to help. Also, your county disabled assistance office may also help.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: If you are living with someone who passes away, can your belongings be taken by their family members?

I am 19 years old. I'm currently living with my 60 year old mother who has stage 4 cancer. I have a 45 year old brother but he is a drug addict and has not come around since the cancer. I'm pretty much my mothers live in maid. I have been trying to organize my mother's affairs for... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 20, 2020

They can't LEGALLY take your things, but whoever is appointed executor of your mother's estate will have the right and obligation to marshall (gather up and safeguard) her real and personal property. If you are appointed executor, then you are safe. If someone else is appointed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: moms estate and common law marriage

in the state of Pennsylvania my step dad should be intitled to her estate they have been together for 25 years

state law common law before'05

state law states section code 1103

were just trying to see how to go about it without going to court . and the children giving... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. answered on May 19, 2020

... Hello ...

... You are correct in all of your statements ... However, I would consult an experience Probate and Estates attorney to review your options ...

... proving Common Law Marriage is very fact specific and establishing it is difficult - especially without going to court...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: with common law marriage and the estate for my mom do all children have to agree that the spouse gets a potion to

my sister and I agree he should . but my brother and younger sister do not. they prefer money over family

so if it comes to it should he get his own attorney?

our attoney my sister and I have didn't tell us about common law marriage. I did the digging and found it now Im... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on May 19, 2020

All would have to agree or you and your sister would have to make gifts from your shares.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: my mom recently passed without a will. my step dad and her have been together for 25 years. can he get her estate to?

they walked down the aisle but the lience ran out. does common law stand for them. we have an attorney but he failed to tell us about common law marriage in Pennsylvania. we want him to be include my mom loved him dearly.

is there any information aside from section1103 im missing

thank you

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on May 19, 2020

In all probability, the most efficient way to do that would be to distribute the estate to the children and for the children to then gift to your mother’s partner whatever portion of the estate the children wish him to have. There will be a 4.5% inheritance tax on whatever passes to the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Grantor exercised Power of Appointment giving daughter house. Can trustee-brother sell house and place back in trust?

Grantor still alive, Pennsylvania. All other assets divided evenly. Trustee-brother wants to sell, put back in trust so that he can take HALF of proceeds of house upon grantors death instead of daughter getting 100%. Commingling?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 26, 2020

It is not possible to answer your question without reviewing all of the relevant documents and verifying that the grantor had capacity at the time and had not Ben subjected to undue influence, but if all of that is true then no, brother cannot change grantor’s desired disposition.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a beneficiary request a copy of the family trust from the lawyer while the grantor is still alive? In Pennsylvania?
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 23, 2020

like so many legal questions "it depends". The questions are what type of trust is it (revocable or irrevocable), is the beneficiary a lifetime beneficiary, and is the beneficiary a vested beneficiary or a contingent beneficiary. You will have to start with the family lawyer and if he... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: What are my right's after my mom's death do I have since I lived with her to settle the estate and have to move out

I lost my job because of taking care of her my siblings left me to make all the decisions for her care now they want their inhierentence it's only been a month

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Apr 14, 2020

If there was a Will, the Will controls. If there is no Will, you and your siblings have equal authority and equal responsibilities. You also get equal inheritances. However, you have the right to claim a “family exemption” right off the top because you lived with her. As I recall, that is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is there a time limit on probating a will?

My sons grandfather passed in 2015 and left his home to my son in his will. We've been living here since before he passed with him and continued to live here after. Two guys came walking into my house through the front door last week with the keys to the lock claiming they bought it in a... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Apr 14, 2020

Since I just answered your last question and you are now asking if there is a time limit on probating a Will, I will try to read between the lines and fill in the missing pieces.

It sounds like, when grandfather died, you never probated the Will and thus never got a deed from the estate,...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Does my mother need to specify beneficiaries on her accounts or is the Will sufficient to settle the estate?

My mother has no beneficiaries on her financial accounts. The Will states that she bequeaths $10,000 to each of her grandchildren. There are 4 (four) grandchildren; the remainder divided equally among her 3 (three) children. Therefore, very difficult to specify beneficiaries. The Will states that I... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Apr 12, 2020

it is difficult to answer a specific question like this without knowing all the facts, but in general if there are no beneficiaries on the accounts they will go into the estate and the will controls the distribution. you have a number of ideas including trusts for minors which suggest your family... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: What happens once the funds in an estate are not enough to cover the inheritance tax on the realestate?

The house is co-owned by his girlfriend of 20 years and she was named the owner in the will and on the deed. I did not inherit the realestate. I am his son and the executor of his estate. I keep getting conflicting information on what is supposed to happen and I'm getting very confused.... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Mar 29, 2020

First of all, if you have not already done so, you need to consult a lawyer to represent the estate.

Inheritance taxes are obligations of the inheritor, not of the estate. Most often, however, a testator writes a Will that shifts that tax burden to the estate. Thus, the first question is...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My wife is not on the deed to our home. Do I need to record a quit claim before a Revocable Living Trust ?

We would be the only trustees on the trust.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Mar 19, 2020

there are a number of open questions here. Is there a mortgage on the home? Is the Living Trust in your name only or is it a joint living trust? also, a caution. the PA Department of Revenue is reading Living Trusts very closely and taking a very narrow view of what qualifies as Living Trust... Read more »

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