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Mark T. Coulter

Mark Coulter’s Answers

41 total


  • How do i recover the name of my parents living trusts company

    i will know the name if i see it

    Mark’s Answer

    I agree with Steven above. Further, I just wanted to add that you may not need to find the company. If it is a typical revocable living trust, you don't need to go back to the same company to assist you, and any competent trust estate attorney may be able to assist you if you are looking to amend or administer the trust. The exception to this arises when you don't even have a copy of the trust. Then, you do typically want to try to find the company (which may or may not have retained a copy, depending upon their practices).

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  • Qualifying for medicare/Medicaid for a nursing home if spent money in last 5 years.

    My mother is in the very final stages of terminal cancer. She was in a senior high rise with hospice care. She may not live much longer. She needs 24/7 help now so she was put in a temporary 5 day nursing home yesterday until a nursing ho...

    Mark’s Answer

    I agree with the above answers, and Heidi is probably well positioned for you to consult with. Other respected practitioners in the Pittsburgh area include Carl Zacharia (East and South of Pittsburgh), Julian Gray (North and South of Pittsburgh), and Andy Sykes (Mt. Lebanon area), among others. Medicaid is looking for individuals to have assets which total less than a few thousand dollars, depending upon income, and subject to some exceptions. When they do the five year look-back, they are trying to find uncompensated transfers, i.e. gifts, which created the lack of assets. Money which is spent to benefit the applicant is not a gift. If the money was given so you could purchase items for Mom, you may be able to reduce the impact of the gift. You may find some discretion exercised in how the travel expense is treated, but your best option is truly to let an attorney who focuses their practice in this field counsel your family and position your application. At the end of the day, however, know that such a gift won't strictly "deny" medicaid, but can result in a period of delay before they will start paying for the care. The agency uses the state average ($8,619 per month), and determines how many months the gift would have paid for in order to calculate the delay, or "penalty period".

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  • My mother is sick with life threatening illness and wondering what to do with her house if she doesnt make it.

    Currently, my mother owns a house valued at $108K with a $24K mortgage. She does not have a will and its impossible to get her to create one now in her current condition. If she doesnt live, I would like to keep the house but it seems pretty co...

    Mark’s Answer

    As always, there is good advice above from Heidi. To expand a little, you can take some affirmative action to simplify things, but I encourage the use of an attorney to see how these apply to your situation. Your mother could add you as a joint owner “with rights of survivorship”. The advantage is that you own the home now with her, and it just remains yours at death. There is an exemption to the “due on transfer” provision in mom’s mortgage under the Garn St. Germain law which prevents the bank from accelerating the mortgage upon a transfer where a child becomes an owner. You will owe inheritance tax upon mom’s death, but you get some capital gains tax benefits (depending upon whether or not you intend to reside there). This does, however, expose mom’s home to risks in your life, such as creditors, bankruptcy, or potentially marital claims, and this may possibly interfere with any later effort to obtain a reverse mortgage or refinance for mom. Another option is a Revocable Living Trust, often used to avoid probate on real estate assets. Again, the bank couldn’t complain, and you would owe inheritance tax, but the property is not exposed to claims arising from your life while your mom is still alive. There are other options, including a Life Estate deed (Mom continues to own it for her life, but upon her death it is yours), or an outright Deed to you now (which has its own Inheritance Tax and capital gains questions to examine). These can all be set up to let you continue the mortgage. Please, take the time to talk to an attorney who focuses on estate planning. You can find some great ones giving answers to your questions here, by searching AVVO, or by seeking a trusted recommendation. Good luck, and I always applaud families who think ahead.

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  • Is a 401K death benefit/distribution part of an estate or a seperate benefit like life insurance? See details below

    My mother passed away and my sister an I are beneficiaries of her 401K. We chose not to setup an estate and have not touched any part of the estate because she was in debt so greatly it would not benefit us to intervene. Her company is persisten...

    Mark’s Answer

    There are some excellent answers and suggestions in the prior answers, and I won't repeat those here. That said, there are indeed cases where it makes sense not to probate the estate at all, and just take the 401k or other "named beneficiary" assets. Sometimes the expense and aggravation of the process isn't worth the modest estate recovery which may be at issue. In my humble opinion, some family members worry excessively about "clearing the name" of their parents. If there are little or no probate assets, and high bills, I often counsel letting it go. If the creditor's don't get paid, they have the "right" to open and administer the estate, but they almost never do because it isn't cost effective for them. They just write it off their books. You aren't responsible for that debt personally! You don't have to be concerned about the "credit rating" of your mother, because she isn't using it any more.
    Long story short: each case is unique. Please consult with one of the attorney's in our region who are experienced in this field. Many of us, including my firm, provide free initial consultations so that you can determine whether it makes sense to move forwards or not. Avvo is an excellent source for identifying strong attorney's in your area who can assist you with your issues, or you can seek a referral from someone you trust. Posting a question here is a good start, but invest the time to get your questions answered by an attorney who understands the unique circumstances of your own case. Otherwise, you are always going to wonder if you did "the right thing".

    Good luck!

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  • My father passed away in 2004, I found out since june and he passed away in nov. my mom collected, is it to late for backpay

    I received my own ssi while I was in high school from nov 2008 until dec 2009,is it too late. my mom was my beneficiary and collected it and I moved out july of 2008,but my mom takes care of my autistic brother now and I think he still gets it,i r...

    Mark’s Answer

    There is not quite enough information here to begin to give you a decent answer. Is this an SSI question? SSI is its own distinct field of legal interest for attorneys, and I suggest you contact one who is well qualified in that unique field. In Pittsburgh, Robert Peirce & Associates (downtown) or Karl Osterhout (Oakmont area) have great reputations. You can often get a free consultation to ask your question, so take the time to call an attorney experienced in that field.
    Good Luck!

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  • If a home is quitclaimed to a trust in Pennsylvania, can a nursing home go after the proceeds for payment?

    My parents are both becoming disabled, one is currently in long term care and the other is about to go into assisted living. They have the deed to their house quit claimed to the trust itself.

    Mark’s Answer

    As any answer is going to state, this is a question subject to a number of different variables. First of all, the issue isn't usually "can a nursing home go after the proceeds", but instead "Will the Dept. of Public Welfare put a lien on the home which could make us sell it upon my parents' death?". The nursing home doesn't want the house; it wants paid as time goes on, and your circumstances imply that you make be hoping for the Medicaid Long Term Nursing Care benefit to kick in. That eligibility itself is subject to many variables, such as what assets your parents have, what their income is, what they have given away (such as a deed to a trust) in the last five years, whether a trust is revocable or irrevocable, what interest they retained in the trust or property....and so on.
    This is one of the more convoluted areas of the law, and it is difficult to figure it out on your own. Please take the time to have a consultation with an attorney experienced in this field. I know we offer complimentary initial consultations, and some other attorneys will do so as well. Don't try to tackle this alone; the problems created are often ones which can't be easily undone, but could have been avoided. Good luck!

    Mark

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  • Does a power of attorney have power over an estate

    Does the power of attorney for medical & bank account only

    Mark’s Answer

    The above responses address your question. I'm only chiming in to agree to let you know we are available right up the road in Monroeville if you want to discuss your personal situation.

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  • My mother passed away back in may 2014 owned property , there was 3 children one passed away 4 years ago she had 4 children do I

    to share any of the estate with them. the other sister dont want anything to do with the estate. her son now is renting the house out and she did not have a will if i open this estate do I have to put this information in the news paper.do I have t...

    Mark’s Answer

    Here in PA, when there is no Will and, I assume, no surviving spouse of the decedent, the "issue" of the decedent (i.e. the children), split the net estate equally. Children of a deceased child step into the shoes of their parent, and split that share among themselves equally. Thus, mom's estate has 3 shares, and the children of the deceased sibling split their parents 1/3 into quarters. 1/3 to you, 1/3 to your sibling, 1/12 to each of 4 of your nieces/nephews by your deceased sibling. In the meantime, if the home was your mother's, the estate needs to be opened so that an Administrator can be appointed to resolve your mother's final affairs, rent the home if appropriate (no one child has that authority nor the right to the income), etc. The IRS doesn't need to know about the home per se, but there are issues regarding reporting rental income and/or deductions, capital gains if the home is sold, PA inheritance tax to be paid to avoid a lien on the home, continuing payment of real estate taxes and utilities, etc. Honestly, find a good estate administration attorney in your area and schedule a consultation. I can predict this family estate will fall into chaos without a guiding hand. Finally, you have to put the opening of the estate in the local legal journal (Pittsburgh Legal Journal if Mom was in Allegheny County too), along with the Trib or the Post Gazette, if you want the protection from mother's creditors available under the statute. Long story short: See an attorney. Not to plug my office, but my office in Monroeville offers a free initial consultation to orient you to the process and determine what help, if any, you would like to be provided. Feel free to call us.

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  • Should I put my mortgage free home in an irrevocable trust to protect against any potential creditors or nursing home reasons?

    I want to have our home remain for our children. Should I put it in trust? I don't want any creditors coming after it, or if the need arises, it be used to defray nursing home expenses. Does having a home in trust also help with inheritance tax...

    Mark’s Answer

    I agree with most of the attorney's above (sorry Shelly, I disagree, at least in PA), and don't want to rehash their answers. I would like to point out that in many families, avoiding Inheritance Tax on the home is counter-productive. For example, we often see clients who paid $20,000 for a home decades ago, which is now worth $150,000. If I draft a plan which has the family pay inheritance tax (4.5% of value of home, or $6,750), then the children don't need to pay income tax on the rise in value of the home (typically 15% or 20% income tax on capital gain, or $19,500 to $26,000 in the example). Thus, the goal isn't necessarily to avoid Inheritance Taxes, but to be tax-smart. A well designed estate plan needs to carefully balance a number of different variables, and you should never count on any generic approach or "form" to protect your unique family situation. Please take the time to meet with an attorney whose practice is focused on estate planning and elder law issues, whether me or someone else. Personally, I work in Monroeville, and assist a large number of clients in Westmoreland County. Have a great week!

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  • Estate recovery letter?

    Hello my mother recently passed away. She had been in the nursing home for 15 months. I received a letter in the mail for Recovery of Estate. I am listed on the house deed and it reads "joint tenants with rights of survivorship". Would this st...

    Mark’s Answer

    Pennsylvania's Estate Recovery program is currently limited to essentially probate assets, and as such under the applicable regulations, does not apply to property held jointly with rights of survivorship. Feel free to contact us with further questions.

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