Klenk Law

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

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.

Is it better to be charged hourly for an estate-planning attorney, or pay a percentage of the estate?

Posted on Sat Nov 21, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

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.

Is the Personal Representative personally liable to the estate beneficiaries?

Posted on Fri Oct 30, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I filed my father’s will with the Surrogate and was named the Personal Representative, but am having second thoughts. My family is litigious. Can I be sued and found personally liable?

By accepting the position of Personal Representative you became a fiduciary with a duty to the beneficiaries. If your family is litigious, you are right to be concerned. All the beneficiaries have the right to petition the Surrogates Court and ask the court to surcharge you should they feel any action you took reduced their inheritance. This could be a sale of land at too low a price, a fee you paid to a creditor, or even your salary.

How do I sell deceased relative’s stock?

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.

My sister is claiming loans from my deceased father were gifts. As Personal Representative, what can I do?

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.

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