Steven M Zelinger’s Answers

Steven M Zelinger

Philadelphia Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 20
  1. Are executors of insolvent estates permitted to accept an executor's fee? How is gross estate value calculated?

    Answered 3 months ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Blake R Laurence
    3. Eric James Sachtjen
    4. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    4 lawyer answers

    In answer to the executor's fee question - yes they are permitted so long as something can be paid. Costs of administration, including executor's fees, are a priority claim so are paid in full if possible. Values are typically fair market values on date of death. If you are speaking about the value of real estate, the best method is a third-party appraisal, but tax assessments can be acceptable (or of course selling price).

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  2. How to do something about a power of attorney abusing their authority?

    Answered 11 months ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.
    3. Kelly Scott Davis
    4. Brian A. Raphan
    4 lawyer answers

    If someone is abusing a power of attorney, you can file for guardianship to have them removed and the POA revoked. I'm not really sure what "uncle is on paperwork but has no say" means? Is he a backup POA? In all honesty, you have to think about the big picture - if he is in a nursing home 10,000 would be eaten up in a month or 2 depending on the level of care so spending his money and qualifying him for Medicaid would have taken place by now. On a moral level the POA has to use the money...

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  3. My 12 yr. old childs paternal grandfather died recently. How can I find out what he left her in his will?

    Answered 11 months ago.

    1. Pierson W. Backes
    2. Steven M Zelinger
    3. Kevin Matthew Sayed
    3 lawyer answers

    If your daughter is a beneficaiary she should get notice. If the will was probated you should be able to go to the county Surrogate's office and ask for a copy of the will. Keep in mind that depending on how the grandfather set up his estate, your daughter also may be entitled to assets that wouldn't be included in the will (beneficiary designations on insurance, 401k, or perhaps a trust).

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  4. Until my husband signs the original will, is a sample copy legal if he signs and dates it in front of two witnesses?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Cynthia A McNicholas
    2 lawyer answers

    Sounds like the bigger issue is if the will is drafted to correctly carry out his wishes. You should consult with the attorney. There is no requirement that the will be signed at the attorney's office - but it has to be signed with the formalities (two disinterested witnesses and a notary and it is good to have a "self proving affidavit" to make probating the will easier). Only an original will is valid so if he signed the "sample" with the proper formalities it could be considered his...

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  5. In NJ to add a codicil to our will do the witnesses need to know us or can they be strangers?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Ruth Elaine McMahon
    3. Charles Adam Shultz
    3 lawyer answers

    They can be strangers, but they have to be competent adults, able to determine generally that you are of sound mind yourself (the formalities for a codicil are the same as for a will).

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  6. Where do I file a petition for the probate court, for my mother, should she demise.

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Cynthia A McNicholas
    2. Steven M Zelinger
    3. Jay G. Fischer
    4. James P. Frederick
    4 lawyer answers

    Do you mean to ask how to raise the estate after your mother dies? Well, the administration of an estate is opened in the county where the person was a resident at death. If she lives in Delaware then her estate would be opened there. Sometimes there are arguments or issues with residency and that might need to be resolved as sometimes one state's laws are favorable compared to another. The measure of residency is "intent to return" in simplest terms. You state that you want to stay...

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  7. What are my rights as co-administrator?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Lawrence A Friedman
    3. Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr
    4. Martin L Bearg
    4 lawyer answers

    You are co-admin with another so you have equal rights to that person - you not only have rights but also responsibilities and you want to make sure you protect yourself. Sometimes co-representatives of an estate have two separate attorneys so if you are not happy with the attorney and you feel you are not getting the proper advice both to carry out your duties and protect yourself you may wish to hire your own attorney.

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  8. What can be done if my parents estate needs to be reopened & I have no idea where my brother is?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. John B. Whalen Jr.
    2. Steven M Zelinger
    3. Leonard L. Shober
    4. Eric Jerome Gold
    4 lawyer answers

    You need to hire an attorney. If you need your brother for something and he cannot be located, you will have to petition the court to explain this.

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  9. When both parents are deceased with no executed will, what is legal responsibility of children for property?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Yvette E. Taylor-Hachoose
    3. Eric Jerome Gold
    3 lawyer answers

    I agree with my colleague, but I might add that an estate does not necessarily need to be opened and the family may be able to walk away. The debts would be debts of the estate not necessarily lead to any liability for the individual family members. You will want to meet with an attorney to determine if it is worth it to "raise" the estate(s).

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. Is there any way to avoid court when there is no will involved?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Steven M Zelinger
    2. Steven J. Fromm
    2 lawyer answers

    Just to clarify your concern are you expecting a battle? Opening an estate in probate is not quite the same as "going to court" unless there is a fight. The bottom line, which you appear to understand to some degree, is that assets owned by the decedent alone go through probate, assets that are jointly owned/have beneficiary designations do not. The process for transferring automobiles can be streamlined with the Register of Wills/DOT so that's less of an issue. You says there is a joint...

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

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