The Klenk Law litigation team recently handled a contested Guardianship case where our clients successfully petitioned a Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court to become Co-Guardians of their sister’s estate and person.
A woman with a severe case of Down Syndrome had been living with her mother since birth. As the mother approached her eightieth birthday, it became clear she was no longer capable of providing the daughter adequate care. The woman’s two sisters approached the Klenk Law team to determine whether they could be appointed Co-Guardians of the woman in order to appropriately manage the woman’s finances and have her moved into a more appropriate living situation.
Our goal in all guardianship cases is to achieve the best result for the incapacitated person. Typically, this begins with contacting all family members to ensure everyone is in agreement with that goal and as to who should be appointed guardian. In this situation, the mother simply was unwilling to cede control over the woman despite her failing faculties.
Knowing that the mother would contest the appointment of the sisters as Co-Guardians, the Klenk Law team gathered medical histories and other relevant evidence. The team then filed a Petition with the Orphans’ Court requesting our clients, the sisters, be appointed Co-Guardians of the Estate (finances) and Person (personal decisions) over the woman. After serving all interested parties with the Guardianship Petition, it was time to present our argument to the Orphans’ Court.
Based on the evidence submitted at the hearing, the Orphans’ Court was convinced, despite the mother’s objections, that the sisters were best suited to make decisions for the woman. They were appointed plenary Co-Guardians of the woman – meaning without condition. The sisters were able to move the woman into an assisted living facility with other Down syndrome patients that provided twenty-four hour care. Further, they were able to gain control of the woman’s finances in such a way that allowed this care to be affordable.
Removing a child from their parents care is never a desirable task. However, with the goal of achieving the best result for the incapacitated person in mind, we knew the sisters needed to be appointed Co-Guardians. Ultimately, if someone’s livelihood is at stake you will want a team that regularly handles contested and uncontested Guardianship proceedings to guide you through the emotional and complex process.
A little Estate Planning can go a long way in reducing inheritance taxes. This case study is an example of how the Estate Planning Lawyers at Klenk Law can help LGBT couples.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania resident Mr. Smith was a single man without children. Mr. Smith wanted to leave his partner $500,000 at his death for his partner’s care and use. At his partner’s death, Mr. Smith wanted any remaining money to pass to his nieces and nephews.
Basic Planning: Mr. Smith came to us with a typical Will. This Will gave his Partner $500,000 outright, which would have been subject to 15% Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax of $75,000.00. Further, this outright gift is subject to the Partner’s creditors, lawsuits and gives the Partner the discretion to leave any remaining money to whomever he wishes at his death; potentially completely ignoring Mr. Smith’s wishes about the nieces and nephews. Further, even if his partner did respect Joe’s wish, a gift from his partner to his nieces and nephews is subject to another 15% Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax. Potentially, this could have been an additional $425,000 x 15% = $63,750.00 tax.
Our Advanced Estate Planning Option: After brainstorming various options, Mr. Smith decided to have us create an Irrevocable Trust for his partner during his lifetime. Mr. Smith gave the trust $500,000. The Trust terms allowed his partner’s use of trust funds after Mr. Smiths’ death. Mr. Smith died two years later; avoiding the $75,000.00 Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax.
His partner later married and then died five years later. At his partner’s death, the trust contained $300,000, but his partner had no right to give the $300,000 to his new husband, which he likely would have if the funds were in his name. Further, the $300,000 passed to Mr. Smith’s nieces and nephews free of the $45,000 Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax due had his partner given the money to them in his Will.
A $120,000 tax savings. Plus, his partner had the use of the funds during his life sheltered from creditors, and possible divorce and the money passed to Mr. Smith’s family rather than his partner’s new spouse.
If you are part of an LGBT relationship, do not limit yourself to the old fashioned “I love you” Will, instead, examine the many options presented by Irrevocable Trusts. If you have any questions about LGBT Estate Planning, don’t hesitate to contact us to request a free consultation.
The Klenk Law estate administration and litigation teams recently handled a case in which our client who was set to inherit a home in Philadelphia subject to two mortgages. The client’s main question before accepting the inheritance was, “If I receive the gift do I need to pay off the mortgage to sell the home?” The team was able to successfully Petition the Philadelphia County Orphans’ Court to have the mortgages satisfied of record without payment. This satisfaction enabled our client to sell the home without paying off the mortgages with a title that was free and clear to the buyer.
A man died survived by his son and mother. In the man’s will, he left all of his real property in trust for his mother and all other property in trust for his son. At the mother’s death, the real estate held in the mother’s trust was to pass into the trust for the son. When the mother passed, the son received notice that the mother has taken out two mortgages on the property during her life. Before accepting the home, the son was concerned about whether or not he was responsible for paying off the mortgages and how they might affect his ability to sell the home.
After reviewing the mortgage documentation, we discovered that the mother had taken out both mortgages as an individual. The mother and the banks had not required the paperwork to be signed appropriately as trustee. As the mother did not individually own the home, she could not independently mortgage the home.
Appreciating this distinction, the Klenk Law administration and litigation teams got to work. They put together a trust accounting and petition for the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court requesting that the banks be required to record a satisfaction of the mortgages with the Philadelphia Recorder of Deeds.
The team prepared a thorough trust accounting, notified the banks that our client did not intend to satisfy the mortgages, and served a copy of our petition on the banks, which outlined our reasoning. The Philadelphia Orphans’ Court agreed with the Klenk Law team’s argument. The Court ordered that the banks record a satisfaction of mortgage of record on the property. This satisfaction of mortgage allowed our client to sell the real estate without paying off the mortgage, free and clear of all liens. A big success and savings to our client!
Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.
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.
When it came down to picking the right attorney to handle my affairs, I knew right away it was this firm. From speaking to their secretary to speaking to Peter I knew I was making the right decision. After only a few mins Peter knew right away what I was looking for and handled all my questions professionally and even gave me great feedback that put my mind at ease. All that without even giving a single penny! So of course I hired him! So far so good...
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!
Great friendly staff
Tremendous firm with bright, kind and tenacious people. Great representation for our family.
I'm totally satisfied with Klenk Law. Peter has a great legal mind with the personality of the guy next door.
Everything about my experience was a 10+! Peter and his staff made what I thought would be a difficult process easy and understandable. Every detail was handled correctly. No other firm could possibly do better than Klenk Law!
Peter and his staff are very responsive and always willing to help my clients and in a cost efficient manner.
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.
Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem
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.
Peter is excellent. I had a very complicated situation with my parents' estate planning and potential Medicaid needs. Peter was very knowledgeable in estate planning matters, able to define the best solution for the situation. Additionally, he was congenial and able to communicate effectively to my senior citizen parents the benefits of estate planning. He earned my trust, and more importantly, my parents' trust in a 45 mins consultation period. Highly recommend Peter. He is very easy to work with.
Peter recently gave a presentation about Wills & Trusts at my employer, and it was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable and provided valuable information to the group. People were very engaged and asked several questions, all of which Peter thoroughly answered. Personally, my husband and I have selected Peter to help us with our estate planning, and he has been very helpful in providing us with all of the information we need to provide a secure future for our family. Thank you, Peter!
Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.
Peter explained things in a way that was easy to understand. Everything was done in the time frame he said it. Could not have been better!
You & your staff are the best thank you for everything.
Peter and his staff handled all of our needs in a very professional and timely matter.
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.
Peter explained a complex subject very clearly, helped us to decide the best approach to managing our estate and then made it very easy for us to execute the required documents. He will be a valuable resource for years to come and clearly has a great understanding of estate law that will lead to innovative solutions for us. I would unhesitatingly recommend him for estate planning.
Fantastic customer service. Very personable and most importantly they provide great explanations of what is required based on your individual needs. Highly recommend Klenk Law for anyone that needs to create a will and estate documents.
Always professional and very responsive. Everyone on the staff that I have worked with. I look forward to continuing our relationship.
Affable...yet surprisingly cerebral estate planning atty. High marks all the way around.
Peter and his associates made things easy for us.