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Pennsylvania Probate Questions & Answers
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...
Read more »

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
PREMIUM
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
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. PRO label
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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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.
PREMIUM
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. PRO label
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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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is it mandatory to hire an attorney if will does not need to go into probate.

All parties are residents of Pennsylvania. Joint OR on all deceaseds accounts. Only one other party in will, can I just calculate the inheritance tax on the joint accounts with a cpa and pay the sum to the only other member mentioned in the will. Or am I required to have an attorney carry this out... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. PRO label
answered on Jan 12, 2022

… there is no requirement that you need an attorney for this in PA …

… however - you mentioned a Will as well as being on all of the decedent’s accounts or joint …

… that doesn’t seem to make sense … whether a CPA can interpret that is up to you …

John

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do I need to get a quit claim deed in order to assume a loan?

My husband recently passed while we were on a COVID assistance mortgage plan. For the last couple of months I have been trying to get off of the plan but the mortgage company will not let me without assuming the mortgage. You see my husband was the only one on the mortgage but we are both listed... Read more »

Stephen M. Asbel
PREMIUM
Stephen M. Asbel
answered on Dec 27, 2021

Please accept my condolences for your loss. Perhaps an easier way to address this problem is to work around it. If you and your husband were both on the deed, that is a tenancy by the entireties which means that upon your husband's death, by the rule of survivorship, you became the sole... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Too many details to sum it up in one question.

You responded to my question, but with the wrong information. It wasn't my father who passed, my parents have been dead for years. My problem is... my BROTHER,has nothing in public records where it would be if there was a will or if this was being handled properly.

I realize you people... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. PRO label
answered on Dec 21, 2021

… hello - please forgive me … could you explain your situation again? … I would be more than happy to help …

John

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Two years has passed since my brother did. Nothing has been done. I can't get any information from siblings. Help

My brother passed two years ago in January. My bipolar, control freak sister says she is the executior. Nothing has been done, she says she has a lawyer but won't tell me who. No documents have been filed in public records. A company contacted me stating that I am a beneficiary of the estate.... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Dec 21, 2021

Your father's estate, if your sister probated the Will, is a matter of public record in the Register of Wills for the county in which your father lived at the time of his death. if your sister probated the Will a copy will be in the Register of Wills office along with an Petition for Probate... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: Are primary beneficiaries entitled to estate accounting details? Is there an agreement we sign when the estate closes?

What are the options for getting an executor to do his job? This estate has been open since 2013, we finally settled the real estate in July 2021 which was the most outstanding unresolved asset. Now he simply has some tax issue to clear up and needs to do whatever it takes to close and make the... Read more »

Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
answered on Dec 18, 2021

A beneficiary can compel a formal accounting by the Executor. Essentially the Executor ca offer an informal accounting and you can all sign a Family Settlement Agreement or can submit a formal accounting and ask for court approval. Either way you can demand an accounting now and file petition with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My mother died on August 1, 2021. in mid-July 2021, she asked me to take her money from her safe deposit box and

give it equally to all her grandchildren. But her Will says that her sons should get that money. Do her grandchildren get the money or her sons? Now my brother is taking this to probate. Can he actually get money that was withdrawn from the safe deposit box BEFORE our mother’s death – at her... Read more »

John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr. PRO label
answered on Nov 12, 2021

... hello ...

... there are a few issues here ... were you Power of Attorney over your mother? ... why did you have to give the money to her grandchildren? ... how much was given? ...

... the money may or may not be able to be pulled back, but it will be taxed on her Inheritance Tax...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Pennsylvania on
Q: My grandfather passed away and for years I’ve been living with him taking care of him. My uncle had lost the will.

I’ve been saving for 3 few months but it’s not easy when I pay all the bills, the house is paid off so there is no rent just condo fees. My uncle just sent me a letter giving me 30 days to leave or his team will take action to remove me. I’m not sure what to do or if I have any rights.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
answered on Oct 14, 2021

"lost the will" doesn't cut it. See if an estate has been opened. The uncle can't just act regardless. You need to file a claim as a potential heir with the register of wills for whichever county you are in. You'd want to check to see if an estate has been opened. If it was... Read more »

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