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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Contingent Beneficiary

My mother passed away shortly after changing her will to place my step-father as beneficiary/executer and placing myself (only natural child) and included my step-sister as contingent beneficiaries upon his death. He had a will made up saying the same.

Due to the nature of my moms sudden... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 2, 2019

You can get a copy of your mother's will from the court where her estate is being probated. A will cannot be changed by anybody but the testator. After the testator dies, it cannot be changed by anyone at all.

However, if your stepfather inherited your mother's entire estate outright,...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: my husband parents are deceased since 2006 how can we get the deed changed in my husband name no mortgage on home?

any resources to find an affordable estate lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA

Elizabeth Tarasi
Elizabeth Tarasi answered on Dec 1, 2019

You will need to hire an attorney. I’m in the Pittsburgh area and am happy to help you. Beth Tarasi emt@tarasilaw.com 412-391-7135

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: G-mom passed & left a bank account naming my dad as 20% beneficiary. My dad predeceased what happens to his share?
Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Nov 12, 2019

Your question cannot be answered without having a lawyer look at the relevant paperwork. However, I will give you a conditional answer, based on several scenarios:

If the bank account was a joint account, and if your father died before your grandmother, his interest in the account would...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My daughters father passed away in Jan, we were not together. His will was excuated prior to her being 18.

His girlfriend was excuator and my daughter received nothing not even any personal belongings. Can this happen?

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Nov 11, 2019

No one other than a spouse is, by law, granted rights in an estate. Therefore, in answer to your question, yes, it can happen. If the dad wrote a Will in which the daughter was excluded, that Will is enforceable.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have a revocable trust drawn up in FL where I live. I have property in Pennsylvania I would like put in the trust

Does the PA lawyer need to see the whole trust? Can I just do a quit claim?

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Nov 7, 2019

The PA lawyer should see the entire trust so that you can be properly advised. In all likelihood, you can just do a quit-claim deed to the trust. However, you need to speak to a lawyer first.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My Brother and I previously acquired our family cabin for $1. No deed survivor clause, but how can my sons get it?

I want to ensure my 2 sons eventually acquire the cabin and acreage. Although I have a basic Will noting my sons are to receive my 1/2 ownership, can my Brother do the same to ensure his ownership doesn't go into probate to his wife and subsequently leave the original family, or is there something... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko answered on Nov 6, 2019

If your deed did not convey to the two of you as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, you each own half as tenants in common. That means that each of you can pass your respective interests by Will. However, in Pennsylvania, as in most other states, a spouse is protected by being entitled to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: If only the beneficiary can I request an account of what the lawyer has done 9 months after my fathers death ?

I am the beneficiary of my fathers estate but not the executor. Can I have the laywer give me an account of what he has put out and taken in through the estate and what so far he has done?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Oct 16, 2019

There are a few key facts missing here, first being WHO is the Executor? The Executor has an obligation to administer the estate, which includes keeping the beneficiaries informed as to the status of the administration. If the lawyer is the Executor then you certainly have the right to ask him or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: What can I do with an attorney who won’t pay what is owed so that we can close my dad’s estate?

My dad was an attorney in PA and passed away in 2012. His law practice was still open when he got sick and he passed his open estates on to another attorney. They had a signed contract with a breakdown of how much was coming in from each estate & what percentage each of them would receive. It... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 30, 2019

File a complaint with the State Bar of Pennsylvania.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Collections for Pennsylvania on
Q: My siblings tried to get over on my so I had to get a separate lawyer ..

The estate owed me money for cleaning out my mothers home and I was paying all her bills including her credit cards because she had no will and since I lived with my mother my siblings were telling me I had to pay for everything , well I did I found out when I got a lawyer that I was not bounded to... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 27, 2019

You really should discuss this with your lawyer, who knows this case and your situation better than anyone in this forum.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: In Pennsylvania, does property in a trust that is held for a specific person automatic pass to that person upon death?

It is stated in the trust that the property passes to a named beneficiary. Does title immediately pass upon death, similar to how it would in a will?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 25, 2019

Sorry to say, but more information is needed. In general, however, just like under a will, such distributions are usually not "automatic". There is a process to be followed. With a will, the process is called probate. With a trust, the process is called trust administration.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: In PA, if an account of the spouse is TOD to another family member does the surviving spouse get 1/3 elective share rig

In PA, Marital asset being willed to another family member and account has a Transfer on death to another family member. If the surviving spouse is not left 1/3 of assets can they elect a 1/3 if it’s a TOD? Financial investment guy says it doesn’t matter if the surviving spouse doesn’t get... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 16, 2019

The spousal election is taken against all of decedent's assets as a whole, and not against individual assets. The statute is specific as to what assets are included in the election, and it also excludes a few. The eligible assets are NOT limited to probate assets. For example, jointly held... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can my estranged parents steal from money left to me from my grandfather if I'm an adult?

My grandfather left my brother and I legacies so that we can attend/complete college. He also left us some money in his will. He recently died and we are concerned that our parents, who we are not close with, may try to steal that money. Can they legally access this since we are legal adults? Are... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 14, 2019

There is no way to answer your question without seeing the relevant documents. My standard advice is hire a probate attorney to petition the court to appoint you as executor. That will smoke out the will. Or not. Your parents might try to "disappear" the will because that is better for them. In... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Two pieces of real estate, PA1 & MI2, in irrevocable trust at PA bank. PA1 distributed to the beneficiary Free of Trust

by court decree in 2000. Beneficiary now listed as owner on county website. Bank, sole trustee, wants to sell MI2. Beneficiary not in favor. Orphans’ Court proceedings where Petition to Authorize Sale of MI2:

a) Describes the decree of 2000 as, "Pursuant to Decree of this Court dated …... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 13, 2019

Regarding the property you can PA1, it would be very rare, unusual and unexpected for a court to order it back into trust after it has already been distributed. I would say the risk of that is extremely low.

Regarding MI2, this probably is all taking place within the same original case...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: In PA. My wife has an investment account created during the marriage. Can she will it all away or am I entitled to it?

Money was from a malpractice suit that occurred during the marriage. She placed the money in stocks and bonds and she set it up to go to her family upon death. Can a marital asset be willed away from a spouse at death? We used funds from the account for a down payment on a second house and have... Read more »

Karen Ulmer Pendergast
Karen Ulmer Pendergast answered on Sep 13, 2019

In the event of death, a spouse may will their assets to anyone, however, the spouse has an elective share of 1/3 of the assets. This means that if your spouse leaves you less than 1/3, you can elect against the will to get the 1/3 of the assets.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: I live in Georgia, but a member of my family died in PA. He had unclaimed monies under $10,000 in the NC Treasury.

I know that I need a small claims affidavit. What does the state of PA require? I seen online an affidavit, via notary stamp only and I could have it filed and stamped by the clerk of courts. Does the notary have to be from PA for form notarization?

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Sep 11, 2019

You need a copy of the death certificate. You need something from a court showing that you reperesent the estate of your family member.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Pa law. If decedent died intestate and a biological child was adopted. Does grandchild of biological child inherit?

No spouse, one other biological child.

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka answered on Sep 11, 2019

I am going to restate this slightly to make sure I am reading this correctly. It appears that Decedent had a biological child that was then legally adopted by separate parent(s). Under PA law it is clear that the Child will inherit from the adoptive parent(s) but will NOT inherit (under intestacy... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Constitutional Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hi,Can a buyer/mortgage holder/beneficiary be demanded to do this or be threatened to go to court?

In the event of a Triggering Event Consisting in the death of Grantors, or an intent to gift, lease, extend options for use or purchase or other transfer of beneficial interest in the surface estate to the Premises to anyone other than a Grantor, prior to effecting any such transfer, Grantors, or... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 30, 2019

It depends on a number of factors, such as whether this is a private agreement or it is on the record. If it is not on the record, then it would not be enforceable AGAINST a buyer or a mortgage holder because they had no notice of it, but it still would be enforceable against the Grantor for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do I access my moms estate that had passed away in 2010

I live in California, my mom passed in Pennsylvania. My mom passed away in 2010 and her boyfriend at the time was trying to get me and my sister to sign over all of my moms assets to him so that he can take care of my half brother and sister At the time I was very young, me and my sister ended up... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. answered on Aug 16, 2019

... hello ...

... go to the Register of Wills where the Estate was probated ...

... it will probably be archived but they will be able to help you ...

... you may have waited to long to do anything, but good luck ...

John

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Changing deed rights?

I am looking for information regarding the removal of a statement in my deed that my grandmother (Grantor) would now like to have removed. The following is what she is wishing to have removed. "Reserving unto the Grantor a life estate in the within described property." This deed was done in... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 16, 2019

The actual process of removing the life estate is fairly simple (for an experienced real estate attorney, anyway), but it should not be done without legal advise as to income tax, property tax and other implications, such as the effect this might have on Medicaid pre-planning.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can a daughter make a claim on deceased father's estate, so his second wife doesn't take it all?

I dont have the will. The wife omitted me from his obituary.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Aug 14, 2019

The answer depends on what your father's will says and the age of the daughter. He might have left everything to the daughter. He might have left everything to his wife. Or he might have done something else. Hire a probate attorney in the vicinity of the town where your father lived when he... Read more »

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