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Jan Matthew Tamanini

Jan Tamanini’s Answers

341 total


  • My sister-in-law is power of attorney for my husbands parents, she recently put them in two different nursing homes.

    She has declared them wards of the state, having sold small amounts of stocks they had. But the family has a company of which my father-in-law still has shares of stock which we would like to buy, she claims that this does not have to be sold sinc...

    Jan’s Answer

    Pennsylvania's filial responsibility law, which provides that the children of indigent parents are responsible for their support, is in the Domestic Relations Code at 23 Pa.C.S. §4603(a). It says that children (as well as a spouse and parents) "have the responsibility to care for and maintain or financially assist an indigent person, regardless of whether the indigent person is a public charge...." I assume when you say "She has declared them wards of the state" that your sister-in-law filled out medical assistance applications for your parents to make them eilgible for benefits. So your worry about potentially being liable as children of your in-laws would make your spouse as well as your sister-in-law potentially liable for support is valid.

    Pennsylvania is one of only two states of the 30 who have filial responsibility laws to actively enforce them, and it is also the most aggressive enforcer. HOWEVER - the more important point I find in your question is your concern that your sister did not report your parents' business assets.

    Failure to report all assets on the application for medical assistance is welfare fraud. Your sister could be both civilly and criminally liable for omitting these assets from the application if that is indeed what has occurred. I'd recommend you consult with an attorney in your area who is familiar with these issues. You may contact your county bar association's lawyer referral service for a low-cost consultation (usually no more than $50 for a half-hour) to discuss your concerns; I would also recommend you let your sister-in-law know that she may want to consult an attorney to discuss her potential liability for her actions as well.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

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  • My boyfriend finished a construction job 2 weeks ago, hasn't been paid. The homeowner sold the house, and is going through HUD.

    The homeowner is going through HUD for payment. Job completion form was signed 4/13. I know paperwork has to be done, etc, but why is it taking this long? What exactly are they doing, or should be doing? Shouldn't these things have been done maybe...

    Jan’s Answer

    The written contract (hopefully your boyfriend has a written contract) would govern payment terms. If the written contract has no specified time period for payment, then any "reasonable" time may apply.

    It's not at all unusual for contracts to give someone who owes money for services weeks, and even months, to make payment.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

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  • Can I legally take a car I signed for if my brother doesnt continue to pay on it,

    The car is in my name. I signed for it, its registered to me alone and the insurance is in my name. He has threatened to stop paying on it,

    Jan’s Answer

    Do you and your brother have a written agreement regarding his payments? If so, and that agreement specifies any terms for default, you should follow those terms.

    Regardless, if your brother does not have title to the vehicle and the insurance is yours, you are the legal owner of the vehicle. You give very little information, so there may be other factors here that would make a difference. When you say you "signed for it" -- did you take out a vehicle loan in your name alone, or did you cosign the loan for your brother? If both of your names are on the loan, if he stops payment you are responsible for continuing to pay the loans or you will be in default and the bank or financing company may reposses the vehicle if you are delinquent on payments.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

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  • How do I undo a "durable power of attorney"

    There is a girl with psychiatric issues that would like to live on her own which she has successfully done in the past. She is 19 now and would like to have her own apartment and not live in a girls home. I was wondering what steps could be take...

    Jan’s Answer

    There are several different types of powers of attorney which could be in play here: a durable financial power of attorney, a durable health care power of attorney, and a durable mental health care power of attorney. In each of those, if the girl in question granted the power to her parents, and her doctor/psychiatrist would certify that she has sufficient mental capacity to act on her own behalf, she could likely sign her own lease without affecting the power of attorney.

    A durable power of attorney (regardless of type) generally does not take away the subject's powers to contract if the subject is of sufficient legal capacity to do so; it merely allows someone else to handle things for her. if she is unable to act on her own behalf. Some powers of attorney specify that they will be effective ONLY if the subject is incapacitated; others specify that they are effective regardless of the subject's capacity.

    HOWEVER, if a court awarded her parents a legal guardianship over her due to mental incapacity, that is different from a power of attorney and would require the girl to go to a court to prove that she is capable of handling her own affairs. You say her parents currently "control" her disability check. If she has sufficient capacity to handle her own affairs, she may be able to go to her local Social Security office to take required steps to transfer the check to her own control and address.

    This girl should first consult with an attorney who would be able to go through the details of her specific situation and advise her on the appropriate steps to be taken. It would appear she may be eligible for free or "modest means" assistance through the Philadelphia Bar Association's lawyer referral service - http://www.philadelphiabarlawyers.com - phone 215-238-6333.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

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  • Can i be sued for not building party bus by his due date? i told him i would try my best but cant garrentee it would be done

    it was taken 2 wks before HIS due date and didn't let me even have a fighting chance! He owes 3600 in labor and wont pay so i took every out of bus before i released it. he broke our verbal contract, and also he didn't have all part to complete i...

    Jan’s Answer

    Two points:

    First, asking "can I be sued..." on any question will merit a "Yes!" response. Anyone can sue anyone else, any time, for anything. The pertinent question is, could someone bring an action with even a remote chance of success?

    Second, although most verbal contracts may be enforceable, some of them are not. There is a legal concept that is part of Pennsylvania's laws that specifies situations in which verbal agreements are void. Your question does not provide sufficient information to determine whether this would apply to your situation.

    Regardless, since enforcing a verbal agreement through legal action in a dispute is always a "he said, she said" type of situation, anyone expecting to collect money or other valuable consideration should always reduce an agreement to writing. It's very common for two sides to a contract to have different ideas of what they agreed to do, and a written agreement is one way to help ensure that both parties truly understand the contract's terms.

    If you plan to sue the other party to collect on your labor costs, make sure to print out the contents of all of the text messages you have, along with a copy of your phone records showing the dates and times of the messages along with the other party's phone number as the sender/recipient. You would have to file in small claims court before your local magistrate, since the amount in question you have specified is under $8,000.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

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  • How can I help my grandmother revoke power of attorney over my uncle?

    We have tried several times with no success. He has threatened to have her declared mentally unstable.Has already done it once. He is going through her assets quickly. I am afraid he will bankrupt her. Can she appoint another power of attorney? W...

    Jan’s Answer

    The simple answer to your question is that the person granting a power may always revoke that power, and that is usually done through granting a new power of attorney to someone else. Of course the individual granting the new power must be competent to do so.

    The more important point here, though, is that you seem to be saying that your uncle is using your grandmother's assets for his own benefit. This is NOT permitted -- a power of attorney grants the person with the power authority to use the grantor's assets to benefit the grantor, not to benefit the person with the power. This requirement to act on behalf of the grantor is called a "fiduciary duty" -- and if the person with the power abuses his fiduciary duty to the grantor, he may be both civilly and criminally liable for fraud.

    I suggest that you and your grandmother call the PA Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 692-7375 -- or the SeniorLaw Center at 877-727-7529 -- to get your grandmother's interests protected. Your grandmother -- and, if she would like, you -- may participate in her consultation (it's usually by phone) to get her affairs back under her own control.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

    If you feel this answer has been helpful, please consider checking the "good answer" box below.

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  • My mother made me her power of attourney 19 months ago a little over a year ago she was diagnosed with dementia and about 40 day

    my mother made me her power of attourney 19 months ago a little over a year ago she was diagnosed with dementia and about 40 days ago she was hospitalized cuz of a bowl obstruction and shes in rehab now and is going to a nursing home for a few mon...

    Jan’s Answer

    If I correctly understand your answer, you want to know whether your mother's dementia makes her incompetent to change the power of attorney (POA). Did you receive notice that your mother is revoking the POA for you to act on your mother's behalf? If the new POA revokes your POA, you may be able to challenge the revocation if a doctor certifies that your mother is not competent to handle her own affairs. To do this, you would have to file a petition in the county court of common pleas to challenge the recent POA to your sister.

    If the new POA is in addition to your power, and not a replacement for it, you may still challenge your sister's exercise of her POA if you feel she is abusing her fiduciary responsibility. Many people do not understand that a POA requires the holder to act on behalf of the person granting the power. In other words, your sister must use the POA to benefit your mother, not for her own benefit.

    If you are concerned that your sister may be abusing the POA, using your mother's funds for your sister's own personal benefit, you may want to speak directly with your sister and let her know that if she is abusing the power she may be both civilly and criminally liable, and that you will report any suspected misconduct to the local authorities.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

    If you feel this answer has been helpful, please consider checking the "good answer" box below.

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  • Can I legally ask for my money back?

    I bought a truck and trailer over the internet from an individual. I based the purchase on pics that he had sent me. I sent he the money first. I flew from PA to Florida to pick the transporter up. The truck and trailer both are in very rough shap...

    Jan’s Answer

    You have given insufficient information to provide any certain answer, but here are some things for you to consider. First, you don't say what website or other source you used for the purchase. If you used eBay there may be provisions in eBay's standards that could be helpful to you. If you used another website or email, you would have to look to the terms of the written purchase agreement, if any, that you have.

    Note that a purchase agreement doesn't have to be a formal contract, but if you have written communications where the seller made representations in writing that the photos were of the truck he was selling or that the condition was as shown, you could have a basis to pursue a claim of fraud.

    All of this being said, even if you have a legitimate claim against the seller, you would likely have to pursue the claim in Florida to get any chance at recovering your money. Though the sale was made on the Internet and for that reason you could file suit in PA, were to to get a judgment against the seller you would have to collect at his place of residence, which would (I assume) be Florida, meaning you would have to pay to transfer the judgment, and there may be other state law issues on which the seller could challenge your judgment.

    Is this seller a licensed motor vehicle dealer? If so, you may be able to get assistance from the Florida Bureau of Consumer Protection (http://myfloridalegal.com/consumer).

    If you paid for the vehicle by credit card, you may be able to dispute the transaction and get your money returned through that route or by cancelling the payment if it is still pending. If you paid in cash, there's no third party to the financial transaction that could intervene on your behalf.

    Hopefully these suggestions will give you an idea of where you should start.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

    If you feel this answer has been helpful, please consider checking the "good answer" box below.

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  • My HOA violated the bylaws, how can I fight this?

    I have served as treasurer on board for 4 years. Yesterday, I was told I was no longer on board by the person taking over as president. According to our bylaws, to remove a person from the board, the board must present it to the homeowners and tak...

    Jan’s Answer

    Call the Cumberland County Lawyer Referral Service for a low-cost initial consultation with someone who has experience in nonprofit organization law. The website for the service is http://www.cumberlandbar.com/LRS.aspx (usual charge is $50 for a half-hour consultation); phone (717) 249-3166.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

    If you feel this answer has been helpful, please consider checking the "good answer" box below.

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  • Anything i can do to compel an ex to sign off on a title after he's already signed a bill of sale?

    I used the bill of sale to refinance the vehicle at my bank. Now that the old loan is paid off and the credit union released the title, he's refusing to sign off.

    Jan’s Answer

    Did your written divorce settlement include the requirement that he sign the title over to you, and was your settlement made part of the final order? If so, tell your ex that you will bring an action for contempt of court against him. He may be more willing to sign if faced with a fine and/or jail time.

    If you have no written divorce settlement and no order affecting the vehicle ownership, contact your county bar association for a referral to an attorney for a low-cost consultation.

    Of course, as with all of my online answers, my advice is limited by the brevity of your question and the facts provided. Additional information would be required to provide definitive legal advice, so this answer isn't intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client relationship.

    Good luck!

    If you feel this answer has been helpful, please consider checking the "good answer" box below.

    See question