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Klenk Law

Tag: Estate Litigation Lawyer

What are the consequences of making an at risk distribution?

Posted on Mon Jun 29, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my Mother’s estate in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I have advertised the estate and paid all the valid creditors, but a neighbor of my mother has made a claim for a five-figure sum of money that has no validity. Can I make distribution without paying him?

The quick answer is yes, but the right answer is that you should not.

As the executor, you are free to make “at risk” distributions, meaning a distribution that may put you personally at risk. Any experienced Chester County probate lawyer should advise you that ignoring your mother’s neighbor could put yourself at risk. Remember, even when your attorney’s asking you to slow down or take a few extra steps, they’re trying to prevent you from causing yourself more problems later on. You might be motivated to close out your duties quickly, but that neighbor could make some major hassles for you—even if their claim’s not valid.

How do I challenge a will that doesn’t give something promised to me?

Posted on Thu Jun 18, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My neighbor promised to give me her Philadelphia house in her will. She died recently and her son, who did not talk to her for 10 years, has filed a Will from the 1970s that gives him everything. Can I challenge that will?

If I understand the facts correctly, your neighbor died and — to the best of your knowledge — her most recent will was the one her son filed with the Philadelphia Register of Wills. That will is very old, but — again, as far as you know — is the most recent Will she signed. Though she verbally promised to give you the house in Philadelphia, she failed to write a new will that backs up your claim.

How do I get answers about an inheritance in Atlantic County?

Posted on Tue Jun 2, 2015, on Formal Accounting

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My husband’s aunt willed him a share of the proceeds on the sale of her jewelry, but the executor told us that the money was mine and sent me a check. We looked up the will ourselves at the Atlantic County Surrogate, and it looks like my husband should get more money. The executor will not answer our questions. What can we do?

As an heir listed in the will, your husband has the legal right to force the executor to account for the estate. Even though the money landed in your household, there could be plenty of reasons for you to insist that the cash is properly accounted for.

How can I defend my use of Power of Attorney in Gloucester County, New Jersey?

Posted on Tue Jun 2, 2015, on Power of Attorney

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother named me her Agent under her Gloucester County, New Jersey Power of Attorney, and I cared for her for years. Now my sister claims I embezzled and stole money using the Power of Attorney. How do I clear my name?

As Agent, you are permitted to retain a Gloucester County Surrogate’s Court Attorney to assist you in filing a Formal Accounting of all your actions as Agent. This accounting is then provided to all interested parties, who are free to either accept the terms or to object.

How to finalize an estate as executor in Philadelphia when faced with conflict?

Posted on Sat May 30, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have sold the real estate, liquidated all the assets, and am ready to distribute, but my sister will not give me a release of liability. What can I do?

You are right to be concerned.

Prior to making distributions from the estate, you should insist on getting a release of liability. This is typically done informally by using what is broadly referred to as a Family Settlement Agreement.

When should I expect to receive my inheritance?

Posted on Tue May 19, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My Grandmother died three years ago in Lehigh County leaving me a lump sum in her Will. The house is sold and the taxes are paid, but I have not received my inheritance. The executor will not return my calls, what can I do?

As the heir of a Lehigh estate, you have the right to force the executor to provide you with a timeline for when you will receive your inheritance. If the executor will not give you one voluntarily, you can have your Lehigh County Orphans’ Court lawyer file a Petition for Accounting with the court. The executor must reply, or face potential removal and surcharge.

Compelling an Executor to Release Inheritance in Delaware County, PA

Posted on Thu Apr 2, 2015, on Estate Litigation

My Grandmother died three years ago in Delaware County leaving me a lump sum in her Will. The house is sold, the taxes are paid but I have not received my inheritance. The executor will not return my calls, what can I do?

As the heir of a Delaware County estate, you do have the right to force the Executor to provide you with a time line when you will receive your inheritance. If the executor will not give you one voluntarily, you can have your Delaware County Orphans’ Court lawyer file a Petition for Accounting with the Delaware County Orphans’ Court.

How to defend my use of Power of Attorney in Burlington County, New Jersey?

Posted on Wed Apr 1, 2015, on Formal Accounting

My mother named me her Agent under her Burlington County, New Jersey Power of Attorney, and I cared for her for years. Now my sister claims I embezzled and stole money using the Power of Attorney. How do I clear my name?

As Agent, you are permitted to retain a Burlington County Surrogates Court Attorney to assist you in filing a Formal Accounting of all your actions as Agent. This accounting is then provided to all interested parties, who are free to either accept the terms or object.

Exclusive Power of Appointment and Bad Faith in Montgomery County Orphans’ Court Litigation

Posted on Thu Mar 26, 2015, on Estate Litigation

Some form of legal action is the first thought of most children who are disinherited by their parents, especially when their perceived share of the parents’ estate goes to their siblings instead. If it is your intention to create an estate plan that disinherits a child or to challenge a plan that disinherits you, many options exist.

The Orphans’ Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania recently ruled on one parent’s strategy to disinherit in the Zucker Estate.

Acquiring Releases of Liability as Executor in Delaware County, PA

Posted on Tue Mar 24, 2015, on Estate Litigation

I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I have sold the real estate, liquidated all the assets and am ready to distribute, but my sister will not give me a release of liability. What can I do?

You are right to be concerned. Prior to making distributions from the estate, you should insist on getting a release of liability. This is typically done informally by using what is broadly referred to as a Family Settlement Agreement.

What Our clients are saying

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I was referred to Peter after my divorce to put documents together to protect my assets. He suggested a number of documents that would help protect my children and their future. Also, he put together wills, power of attorney and living wills. I initially spoke with him on the phone, he took 30-40 minutes to understand my situation and explain the benefits of having such documents. After a week or two, I met with him in his office and signed the documents. Everything else was remote phone calls and emails. He re-explained these documents and what whom to share. I am in good hands.

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Tremendous firm with bright, kind and tenacious people. Great representation for our family.

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I've worked with and known Peter Klenk and his associates for years. They are highly professional, diligent and truly experts in their field. By focusing on just wills, trusts, and estates, Klenk law has experienced every angle of estate planning and applied that knowledge to help prepare our clients with thorough and comprehensive documents.

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Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.

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Mr. Klenk has been easy to work with. I am confident he has given me good advice whenever I have called upon him. He has shown good work ethic and depth of knowledge in preparation of estate, wills, and trusts that I have worked with him on.

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