Estate Matters
The Klenk Law Blog



Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

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. Read more »



Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: When my father became very ill two years ago, we hired a full time caretaker to help him. We live in California and my father lived in Philadelphia, so we could not be there at all times. At his death, we were shocked to find out that his will was changed and the caretaker was the executor. She says all his money was spent on medical care, but that is impossible. We are now being told we are the heirs, but there is no money. I suspect she has stolen his money. What can I do?

You have a few options. If the will has been filed and accepted by the Register, you could appeal the validity of the will to the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court. Read more »



Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: For years, my parents lent money to my cousin and his wife to pay their children’s education. To my surprise, at their deaths, my cousin’s wife was named executor. She “hired” my cousin who is a CPA to handle the estate’s books. Over a year has passed and they refuse to give me any information about the estate and are calling the loans to them, “gifts”. What can I do?

I take it that you are the residuary beneficiary of the will? If so, you have the right to demand through a formal accounting to know where every penny went and a justification for every expense. You also have a right to investigate whether all those years of funding education and other money transfers were gifts or loans. Read more »



Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother died late last year a widow survived by my sister and me. Her will named me as executor and divided all assets equally between my sister and me. Right after the funeral, my sister drove to my mother’s house and took all the jewelry and refuses to return any of it. What can I do?

As executor, you have a few options. The right answer will depend on how much conflict you wish to have with your sister. (Although, conflict might be unavoidable at this point.) Read more »



Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother is incapacitated and living in an assisted living facility in Camden County, New Jersey. She appointed my brother agent under her Power of Attorney. My mother has a life insurance policy that names me as beneficiary. My brother refuses to make the payment, so the policy will soon lapse. Can I make the payment?

You certainly can make the payment, as the insurance company does not care who sends the check. The life insurance company will only care if the check clears. Read more »



Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Before she died, my mother-in-law lived in my Bucks County, Pennsylvania house and required round-the-clock care, which I provided. My husband’s brother and sister did not even visit. Now that she has died, her estate is being divided up between the children. They refuse to compensate me for all the work I did caring for their mother. Can I make a claim to be paid?

Your mother-in-law’s estate is to be divided up between the heirs as her will dictates, or through the rules of intestacy if she had no will. Prior to the division of the assets, all creditors must be paid. Read more »



Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

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. Read more »



Posted on Friday, July 24th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My stepfather died about a year ago and left me a very nice truck in his will. The executor stopped taking my calls about when I would get the truck. I just found out he used the truck to haul his boat on a recent fishing vacation. How do I get the executor to give me my inheritance?

Just when I think I’ve heard it all about bad executors, you give me a story of an executor who drives estate assets on his own fishing trip.

As an heir, you have the right to force the executor to account for all actions he took as executor (like driving estate property on a private vacation) and for a Schedule of Distribution. The Schedule of Distribution is the executor’s explanation of when you will receive your inheritance. In that process you can also ask that the executor be “surcharged” for bad acts.

Driving estate property for his personal vacation is a bad act, which has reduced the value of your inheritance. You could certainly ask for the executor to pay you for each mile driving and for the reduction of value to the vehicle. My firm would be happy to represent you, and I would really like to hear the executor’s explanation.

If you have any other questions about Probate, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.



Posted on Friday, July 24th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My neighbor promised to give me her Montgomery County house in her will. She died recently and her son, who did not talk to her for 10 years, has filed a will from the 1970s that leaves him everything. Can I challenge that will?

If I understand the facts correctly, your neighbor died and—to the best of your knowledge, her most recent Will was the one her Son filed with the Montgomery County Register of Wills. That Will is very old, but as far as you know, is the most recent Will she signed. Though she verbally promised to give you the house in Montgomery County, she failed to write a new Will. Read more »



Posted on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I created a Revocable Living Trust to avoid probate with the Philadelphia Register of Wills, but I have decided that I would like to form a trust that would pay for my nieces college education. Can I do this using my Revocable Living Trust?

You can certainly form an Education Trust within the terms of your existing Revocable Living Trust. A Living Trust is divided into two main parts; the terms that apply when you are alive and the terms that apply after your death.

What I can do is draft an amendment to your existing Revocable Living Trust adding the Education Trust into the “what happens after your death” portion. Read more »