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Pennsylvania Probate Questions & Answers
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
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David Kennedy Bifulco 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 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.
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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 Real Estate Law, Elder Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Am I legally required probate husband's will if he left entire estate to me ?

I am selling commercial property with both our names on deeds. We were in the process of doing this together before his passing but never started any listing etc. I just want to sell as is, no contingency, cash only. Must I probate the will or can I just proceed as we were planning?

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Oct 25, 2022

If both you and your husband's name are on the deeds for these properties, then your ownership probably was "tenancy by the entireties" - a form of ownership for married couples under which when one spouse dies, the suriving spouse becomes the sole owner by survivorship. The... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: What happens if 2 siblings who inherit a parent's home, cannot agree on what happens to the house during probate?

Here are the details. Sister and I inherited house from father (no mortgage or liens), no will, we started probate, we payed the inheritance tax, we got a new deed created with both our names on it, and we agreed that we both were going to continue living in the house for the next year or 2, but we... Read more »

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Sep 22, 2022

If that "new deed" to both of you has been executed and recorded, then the property is no longer part of the probate estate.

If the two of you are unable to come to some agreement about what to do with the property, either one of you can file a partition action in court, that...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Question regarding priority of claims and a home equity loan that was in both dad and mom's name when dad passed.

My dad died intestate. Bank accounts were jointly owned with my mom (his spouse). Only one account was in his name solely, a holding in a mutual fund, approx 50,000. He also had a credit card in his name solely, approx 10,000. After funeral expenses, etc there is enough left to pay the unsecured... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Aug 11, 2022

Two different questions here. PA Inheritance Tax return you usually report assets in decedent's name alone at 100% of value, and then there is a Joint Asset schedule where (in case of husband and wife) you would report 1/2 of total of joint assets.

The credit card would be deducted as...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If my sister and I inherited our father's house, how should I go about having a new deed created?

We Plan on living in the house for at least the next 2 years. The recorder of deeds aid that we need to get a new deed created and that any title company can do it. About how much does this whole process cost? I know there is an $83 recording fee. And what is required or needed to create a new... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Aug 11, 2022

You indicate that you inherited the house. How you inherited it will determine if the process is simple or a bit more complicated. If your father's Deed was joint deed with you and your sister (Joint with Right of Survivorship) it may be as simple as filing a PA Inheritance Tax Return to pay... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Who recieves money left in a checking account?

Father-In-Law passed away in December, there is only his wife (my mother-in law) and my wife (his daughter) surviving him. My Wife is the executor. There's no mention to where it goes in will. Only thing the will says is that the house is left to his wife (my mother in law) and that his... Read more »

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Aug 4, 2022

Under PA law, the appointed executor's duty is to implement the expressed intent of the testator, as expressed in the probated Will.

If an asset of the testator is not disposed or bequeathed by that Will, it is for the Court, not the Executor, to determine the testator's...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: I want to keep my mom's home, she passed away in April, and there's a balance on her mortgage, how?

It has a 26 thousand dollars balance, can I keep it or do I have to sell it?

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Jun 7, 2022

To fully answer your question would require additional information because whether or not you can keep the house will depend upon a number of factors. Are there other assets which can be used to pay off the mortgage? Are there other debts beside the mortgage which must be paid? Are there other... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Collections and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My father recently passed, resided in PA and had no assets and or no estate He did have over $30,000 of sole-owed debt.

Funeral expenses will be paid by family members. He had less than $250 in the bank, and once Social Security re-claims the pro-rated portion of his monthly benefit paid at the beginning of the month, there will be insufficient funds. There is no life insurance, property, vehicle, etc. Can the... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Jun 2, 2022

As a practical matter, if the credit card issuers are notified by letter that your father is deceased, there are no assets available to pay their bills and the family is not raising an estate administration, the likely result will be they will write off the balance. To the extent there is any... Read more »

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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 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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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
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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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: If my father dies does his wife get everything if he doesn't have a will. I'm his son from a previous marriage.
Stephen M. Asbel
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Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Mar 23, 2022

If your father was a resident of Pennsylvania and did not have a will, the Pennsylvania intestate succession law would apply. In a situation where the deceased was married and one or more of his children was not also the child of the spouse, then the spouse's share would be one-half of the... 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
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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.
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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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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: At what point during probate process can deceased persons name be removed from deed for joint-owned property

The deceased did not have a will and died four years ago but the estate was just opened in January.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Mar 1, 2022

Record a certified copy of the decedent with the Registrar of Deeds in the county in which the property is located, and any subsequent title search will show the property as owned by the surviving joint tenant.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is a clause in a will that directs the executor to hire a specific attorney enforceable?
John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
answered on Feb 2, 2022

... hello ...

... no - not at all - never ...

... John

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My dad passed away with no will. I am the sole beneficiary for everything. Can i sign a paper that i dont want it?

He does have a sister also. I don't want the house or car or anything to do with it

Stephen M. Asbel
PREMIUM
Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Feb 1, 2022

In Pennsylvania, you can sign a document called a "disclaimer" which indicates you wish to not receive either all or part of what you would inherit. If you sign a disclaimer, for purposes of the estate administration, you would be considered to have died before your father. The question... Read more »

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