Klenk Law

Tag: Lehigh County

Who pays the funeral bill in Lehigh County?

Posted on Wed Sep 30, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father-in-law died in Lehigh County without a Will. My wife has one brother who is younger than her. Who is responsible for his funeral bill, as the funeral director is billing us?

Typically, when a person dies the family will make arrangements with the funeral director to pay the bill themselves and then are reimbursed by the estate. Often, the funeral director will not take on the expense of the funeral without knowing they will be paid. Your question makes it sound as if you did not agree ahead of time to be responsible for the bill. If so, then you are not responsible to pay the bill, though I am sure the funeral director would prefer that you pay that bill.

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.

My brother filed a petition to have me account as my father’s Power of Attorney. Can he do that?

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.

Can I hold my dad’s wake at a stripper bar, per his request, is it deductible, can my sister stop me?

Posted on Tue Sep 15, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father recently died a resident of Philadelphia and I am the executor of his estate. The will says that he wants $5,000 spent for his wake at his favorite stripper bar. My sister is going to be upset. Can she stop me from honoring dad’s wishes? I read on your site that funerals and wakes are deductible. Is a wake at a striper bar deductible?

In some cultures, the wake is a festive event. In others, it is a somber event.

Your dad went for festive.

His putting his wish in the will and giving you a specific dollar amount puts you on firm ground. If he had just told you this wish without putting it into writing, your sister could more easily stop the wake or later demand that you pay for it out of your share.

What fees can an attorney executor charge?

Posted on Thu Aug 6, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the co-executor of my mother’s Lehigh County, Pennsylvania estate, along with her attorney. What fee can he charge?

First, if your mother’s attorney is serving as the executor and will also be providing your mother’s estate legal services in Lehigh County, the attorney should not be charging both fees:

an executor’s fee and
a fee for legal services based solely on a percentage of the estate.

Do I need long term care insurance in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania?

Posted on Mon Jul 27, 2015, on Estate Planning

Like all insurance, if you end up needing long term care insurance, it can be a great deal. But, if you don’t use it, then you could argue that you wasted your premium payments. In reality, you buy insurance to cover the “what if” situations in life.

I have had plenty of clients that paid for long term health care Insurance that died without using their policy benefits. However, I have also had several clients who fell ill and were able to stay in their homes with in-house care only because of the funds paid out from a long term health care policy.

Lehigh County Will Contest, An Introduction.

Posted on Wed Jul 1, 2015, on Will Contests and Will Challenges

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: After reading the information on your site, I believe my brother used undue influence to get my father to change his will. If I decide to challenge the will, where will the trial be held? How long will the process take?

Where you live, will contests are heard by the judges in the Lehigh County Orphans’ Court, located in Allentown. In many cases, will contest challenges settle before a trial. If the case settles, the parties could agree to terms in a matter of weeks. We’ve even seen family members settle challenges on the courthouse steps minutes before trial.

What’s the statute of limitation for estate creditor claims in Lehigh County?

Posted on Fri Jun 19, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my Father’s estate in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. I want to distribute the estate assets according to the will. Is there a statute of limitations, or a time period for creditors making claims against the estate? If I distribute the assets, can I be held responsible if creditors make a claim?

As you’ve guessed, your Father’s death did not end his obligation to pay unpaid bills. By taking on the job of Executor, you gain the power and responsibility to assemble his assets and pay those bills. Compared to other states, Pennsylvania is rather creditor-friendly. If you have notice from a creditor, you are expected to address the claim. That being said, creditors cannot wait forever to make their claim. You trigger a one-year statute of limitations period for claims when you properly advertise the estate.

Can I still close my mother’s Lehigh County estate if I’m facing embezzlement claims?

Posted on Tue Jun 16, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I have served as the Executor for my mother’s Lehigh County estate for over a year and wish to close the estate. However, my brother claims that I have embezzled money from the estate. This is ridiculous, but how can I close the estate while he makes these claims?

As the executor, you could make an “at risk” distribution of the estate assets. This means you distribute the money without getting a release. This is not advisable, as your brother could then use his inheritance to hire a Lehigh County Orphans’ Court Lawyer to force you to file a formal account. Because you would have distributed the estate funds, this cost would have to come out of your pocket.

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