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Klenk Law

Tag: Probate Lawyer

Do children or spouses inherit a portion of a family estate when a sibling heir dies?

Posted on Thu Aug 13, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: One of four siblings is now deceased since death of our parents. Do the deceased sibling’s three children or his surviving spouse inherit his share of the estate?

There are two different answers depending on the order of the deaths.

If your sibling died first, and then the surviving parent died without a will, then that parent’s probate estate is divided up under the New Jersey intestacy rules which give 1/4th share to each surviving child and a 1/4th share to be split among the deceased child’s children. Your sibling’s spouse receives nothing.

Can I be sued as the executor in Pennsylvania?

Posted on Wed Aug 12, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am named as the executor in my mother’s will, but my family does not get along at all. Already, disagreements about the sale of land have become heated. If I agreed to serve as executor, can I be sued if my family has disagreements?

As the executor, you are a fiduciary, owing the beneficiaries a duty to act in their best interests. You will be given broad powers. To counter these powers, the beneficiaries are given the right to Petition the Orphan’s Court to review your actions and, if the court would find that any action of yours diminished their inheritance, to surcharge you (fine you) to make them whole.

How do you figure out what a house is worth for inheritance tax?

Posted on Tue Aug 11, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother died and left us her house. We got two appraisals, which were near the value listed for real estate taxes. Then, we received a cash offer for a higher amount. Do we pay taxes on the appraisal amount, or the amount we will now sell the house for?

You have an argument for both values, but be careful! The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is based on the value of the house on the date your mother died. So, you could argue that the appraised value is correct and that the house simply went up in value after her death. This would mean listing a smaller number on the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return, which you would think means less tax.

Not necessarily so!

Effect of Signing an Executor Release in Montgomery County

Posted on Mon Aug 10, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: The lawyer serving as the executor for my mom’s Montgomery County estate has sent me documents called an Informal Account and a Receipt, Release, Refunding and Indemnification Agreement. If I sign this, do I waive my rights to ask any questions?

As a beneficiary of your mom’s estate, you have the legal right to have a Probate Attorney ask the executor to file an accounting with the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court. But, the cost of compiling the accounting will be paid out of estate funds. Which will reduce the pool available for distribution to the estate’s beneficiaries.

What happens if I die without a will after a second marriage in Pennsylvania?

Posted on Mon Aug 10, 2015, on Intestacy, Dying Without a Will

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am married to my second wife and live in Chester County, Pennsylvania. We have been married for many years and everything we own is in joint names. I don’t have a will. If I die first, don’t my children from my first marriage get part of my estate?

If everything you own is held jointly with your wife and she survives you, then she has the right to take all of your assets. Your children will get nothing. Your second wife has no obligation to give your children anything, so she could disinherit them at her death.

Do I have to pay estate creditors in Gloucester County if no estate is opened?

Posted on Fri Aug 7, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My husband died a resident of Gloucester County without a will. All his assets were owned jointly with me. This week, I received a form letter in the mail from a creditor saying they had issued a statement and proof of claim against my husband’s estate. Also, they requested immediate payment in full. It is addressed to his estate, but came in the mail to me. What should I do?

When someone dies without a will and all their assets are held jointly with a spouse, there is no need to file a will as the assets pass to the surviving spouse because of the joint ownership. That being said, avoiding probate by using a joint ownership does not mean that he avoided his creditors.

What fees can an attorney executor charge in Lehigh County?

Posted on Thu Aug 6, 2015, on Fees

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.

Obtaining Decedent’s Bank Assets in New Jersey

Posted on Fri Jul 31, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father died a resident of Burlington County, New Jersey. I live in California. His only asset was his bank account, and I am his only child, but the bank will not give me the account. They say I need to get a certified certificate from the Surrogate. Why is this?

When someone dies a resident of New Jersey, their assets pass to other persons or entities either under their will or, if they have no will, by the New Jersey rules of intestacy.

The bank has no idea who should get those funds in his account, as your father could have a will giving them to anyone

Can I be sworn in as a Personal Representative in New Jersey if I live out of state?

Posted on Thu Jul 30, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father died a resident of New Jersey, but I live in Florida and have trouble traveling. Can I be sworn in as Personal Representative outside New Jersey?

It is possible to make arrangements for you to be sworn in as a New Jersey Personal Representative by the Surrogate of your county in Florida. This takes a bit more time and expense, but is cheaper than flying back and forth to New Jersey.

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Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.

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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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AWESOME LAWYER! Peter Klenk is an exceptional attorney and a very nice person! Today I spoke with Peter about estate planning and was impressed with by his professionalism, cordiality, and attention to detail. I highly recommend Klenk Law for probates, wills, trusts, and other issues germane to estate planning!

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Peter and his staff are very responsive and always willing to help my clients and in a cost efficient manner.

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Like another reviewer, I contacted Peter through his website using the free consultation link, for a question regarding PA inheritance taxes. The question was quite technical and difficult to explain, and the answer was nowhere to be found on the web. Peter grasped precisely what I was asking, and provided a clear, helpful response (with a touch of humor) the very next day.

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Mr. Klenk, quickly understood the circumstances presented and provided clear and concise advice. This advice provided me with the information I required to progress the case to my advantage.

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Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.

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Peter Klenk made a complex subject understandable and allowed us to move forward with our estate planning. He was patient with our questions and creative in the solutions he proposed.

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