Klenk Law

Category: Estate Litigation

Theft-Disqualify-A-Beneficiary-From-Inheriting

Does Theft Disqualify A Beneficiary From Inheriting?

Posted on Tue Aug 30, 2016, on Estate Litigation

Ask a Question” mailbag: Isn’t it true that theft from estate disqualifies beneficiary from inheriting from that estate? “As the executor of my mother’s estate I was able to prove that my brother stole from my mom. The judge ordered him to return the money. My mother’s Willdivides the assets between all the children equally. Is my brother disqualified from inheriting his share?”

What can I do to protect myself from being taken advantage of by my Dad’s landlord in Delaware County?

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016, on Estate Litigation

My Dad passed away this month. When he died, I found out that I was still on his Delaware County apartment lease as a cosigner. The lease was signed in 2011. I had moved out in 2013, letting the management company know that I wanted off the lease. When I asked if the management company had anything for me to sign, they replied ‘no’. When I had moved out, my Dad had let his brother, his son and his grandson move in. They are still there and the landlord’s been asking them for money for each day they are there past the end of last month. When my Dad died, I just thought I would be morally obligated to remove my Dad’s property and clean. Instead, I am getting a feeling that the landlord wants to hold me responsible for damages, utilities, and possible future rent. My Dad had nothing and I am a stay at home mom of special needs children.

Delaware County Litigation – How to Protect Yourself Against Claims

Posted on Mon Dec 28, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I have advertised the estate and paid all the valid creditors. However, a neighbor of my mother has made a claim for $10,000 that has no validity. Can I make distribution without paying him?
The quick answer is yes, but the correct answer is that you should not.

If the executor is untrustworthy, how do I protect myself?

Posted on Fri Oct 23, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother died a resident of Bucks County and named her sister as her executor. I am the beneficiary of the entire estate. My aunt filed the will last month, but has changed the locks on the house and refuses to answer my calls. She has a history of alcohol abuse and I am worried that she is spending the estate money on herself. Is there any way that I could freeze the accounts and protect my inheritance?

Pennsylvania executors are given a great deal of power to act on their own, without court supervision, and are not obligated to share much information with you on demand. This works well when the executor is honest, as the estate can be managed less expensively.

Gloucester County Landlord Creditor of Estate

Posted on Mon Oct 5, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My Dad passed away this month. When he died, I found out that I was still on his Gloucester County lease as a cosigner. The lease was signed in 2011. I had moved out in 2013, letting the management company know that I wanted off the lease. When I asked if the management company had anything for me to sign, they replied ‘no’. When I moved out, my Dad had let his brother, his brother’s son, and his brother’s grandson move in. They are still there and the landlord knows of the situation, asking them for money for every day they have been there past May. At best, when my Dad died I thought I would be morally obligated to remove my Dad’s property and clean. Instead, the feeling I am getting is that the landlord wants to hold me responsible for damages, utilities, and possible future rent. Dad had nothing and I am a stay-at-home mom of special needs children.

You have mentioned a number of potential issues. First, the only person who has the authority to act for your dad after he has died is the Personal Representative of his estate (if he had a Will) or the Administrator of his estate (if he had no Will). It sounds like your dad (or his estate) owes the landlord some money.

I Was Served With a Petition for Accounting, What do I do?

Posted on Tue Sep 29, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my father’s estate in Lehigh County. My sister and I do not speak, so the process has been terrible. She refuses to sign the family settlement agreement I sent her, and instead has petitioned the Orphans’ Court to make me account. Do I need to respond?

Yes, you must respond to the petition. As a beneficiary, your sister has every right to ask that you file a formal account with the Court. She does not have to show that you have done anything wrong, only that she is a beneficiary. She may have done you a favor, because it is clear that she was never going to sign your family settlement agreement. This would mean dragging the estate administration on potentially for years. Now you get a court-mandated end date.

Lehigh County Power of Attorney Account Upon Request

Posted on Fri Sep 25, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My dad named me his power of attorney. For many years I helped pay his bills and care for him. After years of in-house care and then a nursing home in Lehigh County, all his money was gone except one small account which we both split. My brother thinks I stole the money, but that is not true. He has served me a citation to account for my actions under the power of attorney, what do I do now?

By accepting the position of agent through your father’s Power of Attorney, you became a fiduciary. As a fiduciary, you owed your father a duty to look out for his interests. But that job also comes with the obligation to explain your actions as agent to certain people.

An interested party can ask for you to account for all the actions you took as the agent. During his life, this could have been your father. Now that your father has died, your brother (as the heir to half his estate) has the right to ask for a power of attorney accounting from you because if it is found that you took any money, half of anything recovered will go to him.

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