Estate Matters
The Klenk Law Blog



Posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

My mother, who lives in Camden County, New Jersey, is having serious health problems. She wants me to be able to use her general power of attorney, but it requires a doctor’s note saying that she is incapacitated. Is that normal?

Your mother has a “Leaping” Power of Attorney which, at one time, was the normal document that Camden County Estate Planning Lawyers would prepare. A Leaping Power of Attorney gives the “Agent” the power to act for the person if…and only if…that person has become incapacitated, and the Agent can secure a letter from the person’s doctor stating that the person is incapacitated. Without the letter, the power of attorney is useless. Read more »



Posted on Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

I am a resident of Camden County, New Jersey and want to modify my Will. My two children are older and I want to name them as co-executors. Is naming my children as co-executors a good idea?

Naming your children as co-executors (or “personal representatives”) of your Will can be a fine idea, or a terrible idea, depending on your children. You need to be honest with yourself about how well your children’s personalities work (or do not work) together. Read more »



Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

I have signed a General Power of Attorney giving my daughter the power to act for me, but I don’t want her to have it yet. I only want her to have it when (and if) I become unable to care for myself. Should I keep it in my safe deposit box? We both live in Delaware County, so she is close by.

The problem with putting your General Power of Attorney in your safe deposit box is, if you become incapacitated, your daughter will likely be unable to get into the box. If you have died, there is a process to open the box… but it is much more complex if you are alive, but incapacitated. Read more »



Posted on Monday, April 6th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Lehigh 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. Read more »



Posted on Sunday, April 5th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

My Mother transferred her Lehigh County home to me two years ago. She recently died. I am going to sell the house soon, but do I have to pay Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax?

Not in your case. The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax of 4.5% applies to transfers to children at death and includes all gifts made within one year of the date of death. If the house was transferred properly into your name 2 years ago, it will not be subject to the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax. Read more »



Posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 by Adam Reid

My entire life I have lived in Atlantic County, New Jersey. My parents lived in Atlantic City, and so do I. My father died two years ago and my mother passed away as an Atlantic County resident last week. I was an only child, and everything in my mothers Will was left to me, and I am executor. Do I need to probate her Will or open an Estate? Her only assets were our family home valued at $600,000 and her car.

In New Jersey, there are only few cases where there is no need to probate a Will. The two most common situations are 1) when a person dies with no individually held assets or 2) an individual dies with no assets whatsoever. Read more »



Posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

My father wants to transfer a rental property he owns in Chester County into my name. If he does, will this gift avoid Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax?

As a Chester County resident, at your father’s death, all assets he leaves you at death (except life insurance) will be subject to the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax at the 4.5% children’s rate. That includes all gifts made within one year of the date of his death. So, if he transfers the rental property into your name and lives for at least one more year, at his death you will avoid Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax payment. Read more »



Posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2015 by Peter Klenk

I live in Philadelphia County, and my Will names my two children as co-executors. I thought this was a natural thing to do, but my children have not been getting along recently, what are my options?

Naming your children as co-executors when they do not get along is a bad idea. Co-executors have to work well together and cooperate. Children who are having a dispute can make what is a small family dispute into a family feud that lasts generations. Read more »



Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 by Peter Klenk

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. Read more »



Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 by Peter Klenk

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. Read more »