Skip to main content
Steven M Zelinger
Avvo
Pro

Steven Zelinger’s Answers

6,881 total


  • Can I open a irrevocable living trust for Mom, and move the money from "my name only account" into it without her involvement?

    My Mom is 89 years old and has many problems with her finances, and is getting worse literally daily. She has several accounts ...but her largest acct. is a joint account with me at an investment firm. (about 1.2 k) I have a DPOA. We live in ...

    Steven’s Answer

    You need to sit down with an attorney right away. That is really the solution because you are a fiduciary if you are her agent under a POA. You would have to review the terms of the POA to determine your powers but it many situations transferring the principal's assets to protect them by putting them in an irrevocable trust for her benefit would be a very reasonable thing to do...but you don't want to take action with out proper advice. If her health has deteriorated that far her opinions may not mean much - it may be hard to deal with but if it is for her benefit and you are doing it for her you should be okay.

    See question 
  • How to get POA over my 20 year old special needs daughter

    I have a daughter who is special needs how do I get POA?

    Steven’s Answer

    Ms. Toussant is correct - if she has capacity she can execute a power of attorney to name you as her agent. If she does not have capacity you would need to initiate guardianship proceedings to be named her guardian. See an attorney to discuss your options and what may be appropriate for her.

    See question 
  • Is there a form to submit to a Orphan's Court in Pennsylvania to object to the appointment of a administrator of a estate ?

    I need to petition a Pennsylvania Orphan's Court to have a hearing to object to the appointment of an administrator of the estate for my late brother's estate. I can not find a form to submit to the court on the P.A. Judiciary website. Is there su...

    Steven’s Answer

    More than likely the action would be through the Register of WIlls not the Orphans Court - at least not yet. I would call the county Register of Wills office. Likely you will need to file a petition to revoke letters (that have already been issued). I would advise you to hire an attorney otherwise you could make errors that would torpedo your case.

    See question 
  • Who is responsible for ensuring that the trust is funded - lawyer or client? What is your firm's practice?

    My spouse fell ill so we retained a well respected attorney to draw up a trust for estate planning.The lawyer charged a flat fee of several thousand dollars for a trust for each of us. The trust documents were provided, but there was never any fol...

    Steven’s Answer

    Just for comparison sake: I specifically tell clients if I will or will not fund the trust for them. I usually do not b/c it is not cost-effective (my flat fee is based on if I do it or not). I do however provide extensive instructions and example forms on what to do and how to do it. I also ALWAYS set up (or at least offer to set up) a phone call with clients to go over the basic trust funding steps (often times with their financial advisor/insurance agent if any). Probate may or may not be an issue depending on the cleint(s) and the state. Maryland to my knowledge is a moderate difficulty state for probate and the probate fees are not too high there. In some places probate fees are extremely expensive so this would be more of an issue in a state like that. If the trust terms encompass your wishes most of the primary goals of the estate plan would not be negatively impacted as you describe the situation.

    See question 
  • Who can u call about a will?

    My friends kids God father passed away. She wants to know who can she call because she knows he had a will and included her kids but he died in September and she hasn't heard anything since.... He lived in NYC we lives in Pa.

    Steven’s Answer

    Beneficiaries should be notified once the estate is opened (will is probated). If the will has been probated it would be on record with the Surrogate in the county where the person died (resided). If the will has not been probated and you feel strongly it should have been you could speak to a lawyer in the county where the person resided (or nearby) to see if a petition can be filed to force the production or probate of the will. NY probate law is unique (like all probate law in each state) so you need a local lawyer (I am not a NY attorney so this is a general answer to point you down the right path).

    See question 
  • Am I liable for PA inheritance tax? Can that tax and other legal fees be paid out of that account? Must I probate the will?

    I believe I may not have explained my problem properly. At my mothers death she had $2340.00 in her savings & checking account held jointly by her & I. There is also $356.21 that was in her personal account of which a check has been mailed to me. ...

    Steven’s Answer

    The other attorneys gave you a good answer. You are responsible for inheritance tax on the joint account (and the rest of the estate for that matter). The small account can probably be withdrawn using the state small estate procedure - the register of wills should be able to assist/give forms for that.

    See question 
  • How is an inheritance divided between a married couple named as heirs when the will does not specify each persons' share?

    My mother in law recently died and her will states that she is leaving $20,000 to my spouse and I. How is this money divided between my spouse and me; do we each get 50%? The will does not specify. It only says $20,000 to "John and Jane Doe". ...

    Steven’s Answer

    In the absence of any other language the check would be made out to both of you - it's up to you from that point on how to work it out.

    See question 
  • Received single trust distribution in 2015. Are federal taxes witheld by the trustee in preparation of income taxes?

    Sole beneficiary of a non-employee trust. Received a single distribution in 2015, per terms of said trust. Are federal taxes witheld by the trustee in preparation of income taxes or do I have to pay taxes?

    Steven’s Answer

    You need to know if the distribution was trust income or trust principal (or both). The income portion distributed to a beneficiary is taxable. When the trust files its tax return it will generate a "K-1" for distribute income to the beneficiary which the beneficiary will include in his/her own 1040 when filed. It is rare that a trust would withhold taxes for a beneficiary.

    See question 
  • Received trust distribution from the principal. Do I pay taxes or does the trust on my behalf?

    I am the only beneficiary of a trust. I received a distribution from the principal and not the income made from investments. Do I have to pay taxes or will the trust pay taxes on my behalf? The trust was established in Wisonsin.

    Steven’s Answer

    In nearly all cases the principal of a trust is not going to be considered income to the beneficiary. THe income the trust makes will be taxable as income to the beneficiary. Typically and estate/inheritance taxes would have already been paid by the estate when the trust was funded. Speak to the trustee or your own attorney to be sure of the situation.

    See question 
  • Can incarcerated individuals be an heir? And do spouse's along with their children each receive separate inheritance payments?

    My grandparents had children that are all now deceased my cousin notified me that I along with 14 other grandkids are heir to our grandparents 22 acres of land in va since our parents who were the original heirs are deceased. She stated that we al...

    Steven’s Answer

    This situation requires a thorough analysis of the family tree to really get you a good answer. You should contact an attorney - probably in the state where the grandparents (or last living grandparent) resided at their death b/c it sounds like that is where the probate would be done.

    See question