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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: In PA, if my sister and I live with my father and he passes away, can we keep living in the house?

Both my sister and I are over 18 oh, and my father passed away. We both have been living in the house helping take care of him. He told us that both my sister and I would be getting 50% of the house. We have not been able to locate a Will anywhere, and I know we are supposed to pay inheritance tax... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on May 24, 2022

There are too many unanswered questions right now to give you a specific answer in this type of forum, but you are fortunate that there are no mortgages or liens on the house. You should meet with an experienced estates attorney to assist you in opening an estate administration (since there is no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Tax Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: If there is unclaimed death benefits from my grandparents who died 28 years ago is it hard to claim

I am the only child of their only child and they have no siblings left alive. My father who was their only child died 20 years ago. They had no will.

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko
answered on May 19, 2022

Your question is not specific enough to answer. What are “death benefits?” Is this life insurance, real estate, etc.?

As a general proposition, a portion of estate assets would ordinarily go from one grandparent to the other and a portion would have gone to your dad, unless your...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: What is the best way to have a great aunt give us her home and car in the event she passes away in Pennsylvania?

The great aunt has a will and the executor is her niece. Does she need to include this in her will? should we do a deed transfer now so we avoid the most taxes? what is the best route to avoid the 15% inheritance tax?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on May 19, 2022

If your great aunt wishes to continue owning the home and car until she dies then she would need to revise her Will to include both of these assets as specific bequests to you.

Your great aunt can gift the house and car to you now if she is comfortable with transferring title to you. As...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: When a married couple in PA has separate wills and the man dies, do all joint accts automatically belong to the wife?

Does this make the estate bankrupt and is the wife then liable to pay outstanding bills?

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
answered on May 3, 2022

… hello …

… re joint accounts? - they go to the designated joint owner …

… re bills? - they are payable by the estate …

John

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: When a married couple in PA has separate wills and the man dies, do all joint accts automatically belong to the wife?

Does this make the estate bankrupt and is the wife then liable to pay outstanding bills?

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on May 3, 2022

Although all joint accounts pass to the surviving wife by law, and avoid probate, and therefore are not included in the probate estate which would be available for husband's creditors, the question as to whether the surviving wife could be liable to pay deceased husband's creditors... 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 »

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Apr 27, 2022

In PA, the designated "attorney-in-fact" must always act to promote the best interests, especially financial, of the grantor(s) under the Power of Attorney.

Upon the scant facts you provide, there seems to be no financial benefit to your parents by forfeiting their long-held...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father wants to purchase a home using his VA home loan he currently gets community based services (home care aid)

In the event of death will the state try to get the property to pay for his services ?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Apr 19, 2022

The VA home purchase benefit entitles the vet buyer to finance 100% of the purchase amount of the property, and consequently, for several years after the purchase, there is little or no equity in the property.

When federal funds (administered by the State) are expended for end of life...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Pennsylvania Estate Law My dad died 2/2/2022. My sister’s the executrix and we are estranged. Want advice.

I live in Louisiana and want to know that she’s not stealing from the Estate. She just contacted me after no contact for 2 months and wants me to help clean out the family house. Am I obligated to comply? Can I charge the Estate a fee to fly up there, car rental, hotel fee since she wants help? I... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
answered on Apr 14, 2022

… hello …

… I have never heard of an executor commission being 10 percent - in Pennsylvania, it has to be “reasonable” …

… you don’t have to help her clean out the house, and being reimbursed would be up to her …

… although your father just passed a month...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Sole heir to my dads estate in PA. Sold the house & going to pay the inheritance taxes. How much more needs to be done?

What else needs to be done before I can get the left over money in the account?

Edited: to say their was no will. But yes it was posted in the paper and 1 other place by my lawyer. About 2 months ago

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Apr 10, 2022

Assuming you opened a probate case and got the will admitted, PA law requires you to post notice of the estate opening in a newspaper in the county "of general circulation". Creditors of the estate have one year from the date of first publication within which to make a claim against the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: John does she just sign the original page and have it notarized or redo the original page and have it notarized ? thanks
John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
answered on Apr 1, 2022

... hello ...

.. she just has to sign the original page - she does NOT have to redo it ...

... with respect to being notarized, some Powers have a notary - some do not ... just follow the document ...

John

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: How to authorize power of attorney ,Wife's mother just put in nursing home care Wife is named in will as POA

My wife was second in the Power of attorney ,if her brother could not perform the task ,He passed away 12/31/2020 will was written about 8 months prior. She needs to sell the house and put it in trust for her mother to be used to pay for nursing home care, because of her brothers death she is also... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
answered on Apr 1, 2022

... hello ...

... to start, it seems that you may be confusing a few terms ... it also appears that you may be referencing two different documents - a Last Will (you had mentioned an Executor) and a Power of Attorney (you had mentioned that she is the second in that - behind her brother)...
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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
PREMIUM
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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Grantor needs to transfer her home into her living trust in PA. Should she use a quit-claim or a special-warranty deed?

She still has a mortgage.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 28, 2022

Either form of deed will serve the purpose.

Warranties, in a deed or any other document, assure the person to whom the warranty is given, and if breached, that person may be entitled to the grantor for the breach.

Inasmuch as the grantor's own living trust will be the grantee,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: If a house is willed to someone but there is a lien on the home who is responsible for the lien?

The lien is from a home equity loan where the primary applicant is not on the deed of the property but the co-signer is. In this scenario, the co signer passed away and in their will they gave the house to someone unassociated with the loan/lien.

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Mar 18, 2022

A Devise of real property subject to a Lien to a Devisee conveys the property to the Devisee with the Lien against the land, but does not render the Devisee personally obligated for the Debt which created the Lien. The Lienor may go against the land but not the new owner. However the Lienor... 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
PREMIUM
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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: The will states "half to be distrib to those as if she was intestate and unmarried". Had no kids. What does this mean ?

She was married and did die intestate in PA. Her husband inherited her very small estate. The question asked appears in her deceased husbands will. How would this be distributed ? She was from the Philippines. No children. Would half her husbands estate be distributed to her family ? Or since her... Read more »

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko
answered on Mar 13, 2022

A lawyer would need to review the Will in its entirety. On the basis of what you have quoted, the Will might be referring to distribution of half of his estate in accordance with the Pennsylvania intestacy laws, i.e., to her family, or the equivalent of half of what was her estate in accordance... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Have Covid restrictions extended filing deadlines i.e. estate probate filings, early tax payment discounts?

If the appointment of an estate administrator was 15 months after the death of the estate owner (date of death was Oct 2020, appointment of administrator was Jan 2022), what should be used as the the date Estate formed for generating the estate Tax ID date? Note, the original death certificate was... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
answered on Mar 9, 2022

... hello ...

... I would consult an experienced attorney with respect to what date the estate was formed ...

... with respect to filing deadlines for the discount, no ... none of them were extended ...

... good luck ...

... it seems that you may be served to have...
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?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 7, 2022

I agree with the preceding answer, but there's another factor to consider: the valuation for estate tax purposes (where the appreciation in value is taxed at 4.5%) becomes the "stepped-up" basis for future income tax/capital gains purposes. The estate tax 4.5% is a way better rate... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania on
Q: Trust owns house

Revocable Trust owns house in with trustees were originally my mother and stepfather. They established this in 2007. They were the settlors and trustees. She passed in 2018. He passed in 2021. Successor trustee is me. Can Medicaid take house in estate recovery?

Joshua N. Daly
Joshua N. Daly
answered on Feb 26, 2022

Since it was a recovable trust, and not an irrevocable trust, the trust assets are most likely available to the Estate Recovery Program. However, I strongly recommend taking the trust document to an estate planning or elder law attorney to confirm as much, and also to determine if your parents... Read more »

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
PREMIUM
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 »

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