Estate Matters
The Klenk Law Blog



Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

My mother, who lives in Gloucester County, New Jersey, is having serious health problems. She wants me to be able to use her general power of attorney, but it says I need 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 Gloucester 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 »

No Comments



Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by Adam Reid

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. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 by Adam Reid

I am the Executor of a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania estate. Should I be worried about the beneficiaries attempting to surcharge me?

As an executor, you have a duty to take possession of, maintain and administer all the real and personal estate of the decedent. In essence, you must preserve and protect the property for distribution to the proper persons within a reasonable time, in the manner a reasonably prudent person would in their own affairs. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 by Adam Reid

I am the Executor of a Delaware County, Pennsylvania Estate. The beneficiaries are making unreasonable demands and have hinted at attempting to have me replaced as Executor. Should I be worried about removal?

In Delaware County, removing an Executor or Personal Representative is not typically an easy task especially in a plain vanilla estate administration situation. Petitioning for removal of an Executor requires an in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania law. In its simplest form, in order to remove an Executor, it must be show by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the Estate are likely to be jeopardized by the Executor’s continuation in office. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

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. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2015 by Peter Klenk

I am the personal representative of my brother’s Atlantic County, New Jersey estate and all the assets pass into trust for his minor children. I am worried his ex-wife will object to everything that I do as executor as she is unhappy that she doesn’t get control over the children’s money. What can I do to avoid trouble?

This is one of those situations where no good deed goes unpunished. You are serving as your brother’s executor to make sure your nieces and nephews are properly cared for, but by serving as personal representative you are also responsible for any mistakes or errors you make that reduce the children’s inheritance. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Sunday, March 22nd, 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 Lehigh County, PA.

The problem with putting your General Power of Attorney in your safe deposit box is that 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 »

No Comments



Posted on Saturday, March 21st, 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 says I need 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. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

I am a resident of Camden County, New Jersey. If I have recently formed a Revocable Living Trust and moved all my New Jersey assets into the trust, do I still need a Will?

If the goal in forming your Revocable Living Trust was to avoid probate, then you must either transfer all your assets that would otherwise be Probate Assets into the Revocable Trust during your lifetime, or have them pour into the Revocable Trust at your death. That is often done by using a Payable on Death Account or naming the Trust as Beneficiary. Read more »

No Comments



Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

My Mother transferred her Delaware 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 »

No Comments