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Tag: Delaware County

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.

How do I reimburse my daughter for the time she is spending taking care of me?

Posted on Mon Jan 18, 2016, on Estate Planning

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Though always independent, I recently have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had to move into my daughter’s Delaware County house. I can’t do much for myself anymore and have to rely on my daughter. She is spending a great deal of her time caring for me and she has had to pay for several things out of her own pocket. I want to treat my children equally, but my two sons are very busy and are not able to help, so the work falls all on my daughter. I feel that I need to repay her for all this work at my death, what can I do?

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.

Hourly vs. Estate Percentage for Delaware County Probate Fees

Posted on Sat Nov 21, 2015, on Fees

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My dad died recently and his estate-planning attorney wants to charge us a percentage of the estate to act as the probate lawyer. I see that you charge hourly. Which is better?

I have found over the years that charging a percentage of the estate as the estate’s lawyer is seldom fair. Usually the percentage is disproportionate to the work done. I find that being paid hourly for actual work done is fair for everyone. Either way is legal and proper, I just feel more comfortable charging by the hour.

How do I sell a deceased relative’s stock in Pennsylvania?

Posted on Fri Oct 23, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My grandmother died in a Delaware County senior living facility without any real assets, except for a small bank account and some stock held in just her name. Her will said it was supposed to be used to pay her last bills and then anything left would be divided among her grandchildren. We’re confused as to how to sell the stock once we do the transfer paperwork. Do we have to sell it through Computershare or can we sell it through any brokerage?

During her lifetime, the stock and bank account could only be accessed or liquidated by your grandmother. Now that she is dead, the accounts will sit until an authorized person contacts the bank and brokerage. As your grandmother had a will, and she lived in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, that person will be the Executor under the will.

Delaware County Rules on Loans versus Gifts

Posted on Thu Oct 8, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My sister and her husband are always broke. They asked my father for a loan to help them pay off a bunch of debts and he gave it to them. They were supposed to repay him monthly, but only sent him one or two payments over the years. Now that he has died, I am the Personal Representative of his estate and I asked for them to repay the loan. Suddenly, they claim these loans were “gifts”. What can I do?

One of your jobs as Personal Representative is to gather together all the Estate’s assets. Any loans your father may have made are an asset of his Estate, so you have the power (and obligation) to collect the debt.

Who to nominate as executor in Delaware County?

Posted on Mon Sep 28, 2015, on Estate Planning

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I live in Delaware County, and my will names my parents as co-executors. I thought this was a natural thing to do, but my parents are going through a divorce. What are my options?

Naming your parents as co-executors when they do not get along is a bad idea. Co-executors have to work well together and cooperate. Parents who are having a dispute can make a small argument into a family feud that lasts decades.

You should investigate changing your will to name another family member or, if you have none that you trust, to name your Delaware County estate planning attorney. Your lawyer will charge a fee, but that fee will be small when compared to the potential costs of litigation and family turmoil. When named executor, I normally ask that the document state that I receive my hourly fee rather than a percentage of the estate, which many lawyers take. I find the hourly fee is fairer for everyone involved.

How long do I have to challenge my Dad’s will in Delco?

Posted on Mon Sep 14, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father, a resident of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, died of dementia 12 years ago. Shortly before he died, his will was changed giving everything to my cousin. We believed that my father died broke, but now that my cousin died, we found out that he had a joint account with her containing a large sum of money. The prior will states that I would receive ¼ of his estate. Can I challenge the will?

First, a will challenge case alone based on incapacity or undue influence, even if successful, would not help you. You stated that the funds were in a joint account. A joint account passes outside of probate, meaning the will has no effect on the joint ownership. To be successful, you would first have to prove that the joint account was created improperly-perhaps under undue influence or forgery-so that the assets would pour into the estate. Then you would have to prove that the existing will was invalid.

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