Before you hire the attorney, call his or her office and ask if the attorney is licensed in both states.
Many of us who practice at or near the PA/NJ border, in fact, have licenses to practice law in both states.
Congratulations for doing the smart thing and planning your estate with the help of an attorney. I wish you the best!
There's some important information missing from your question.
Most importantly, did Mom have a will or did she die without a will, or intestate?
If she died with a will, the will serves as the map to divide her assets.
If she died without a will, Pennsylvania Law determines how this division should be made.
If the proposed division of Mom's estate isn't being made according to these standards, then the Orphans' Court of Montgomery County (if Mom died a resident of that county) must...
You say you want a lawyer to administer an estate on a contingency basis? May I respectfully ask, "contingent" upon what? If your goal is to find a lawyer who will charge you a fee contingent upon the settlement of the estate, then there is no contingency in that proposition. The estate will be settled, whether by Family Settlement Agreement or Adjudication--but it WILL be settled.
I may be wrong, but if your goal is to find an attorney who is willing to be paid contingent upon the dollar...
As Ms. Arnold has pointed out, the "words" which were spoken to you about keeping the house are only just words. They have no legal power.
I've noted in earlier responses I've made on Avvo about this subject that, assuming you paid no rent while you acted as caregiver, you were "paid" for the care you gave by the ability to live rent-free. In other words, one washes out the other.
Nonetheless, you may wish to consult with an estate planning attorney just to make sure that I am right.
I agree with Mr. Proy. A life estate is certainly one way to accomplish what your folks want.
There is, however, another way in the event that your folks are convinced that they want to part with total ownership.
What I've done in the appropriate case is to deed to the house over to the kid and then have both parties sign a lease where the parents have the right to live in the house for the next "fifty years or so" at rent of a dollar a year.
The cases in which I've used a lease, as...
We need a whole lot more facts to be able to answer your question. However, before you start lawyering up on this matter, I suggest that you have a sit-down with your brother to discuss Mom. Regardless of how bad a situation is, families do better by talking things out with themselves rather than to try to have lawyers do the talking for them.
Remember, once Mom is gone (assuming Dad is gone, too), you and your siblings are going to be all the family you have. If the relationship with your...
The things that Mr. Proy and Mr. Frederick talk about in their answers are the types of things that experienced estate planning and probate attorneys handle all the time. How available finances impact upon tax (both income and inheritance) liability are very complex.
Because you live in Paupack, I would suggest consulting an estate attorney in either Milford or Hawley.
And, most importantly, I am sorry that you have lost both of your folks. I wish you only the best as you continue to grieve.
With all respect to you, and while agreeing with Mr. Fromm, let me put it to you this way:
You already have a lawyer. The estate is paying good money for that lawyer's advice and counsel. Your question to us must be asked to the estate's lawyer. It would be wrong (and against the rules of lawyer ethics) for any of us here sit in judgment of your lawyer's advice or to provide you with a second opinion.
As Pennsylvania lawyers, we are bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct, which are our rules of attorney ethics. Rule 1.16 provides that:
(d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee or expense that...
You've heard from Texas and Michigan. My opinion is that Pennsylvania also agrees. The "Life Tenant" pays for all expenses of the house during his or her life--just as if she owned the property outright--because, during her lifetime only, she does. However, she cannot sell anything other than the use of the property for the span of the remainder of her natural life, which, in reality, no one is going to buy.
Her responsibilities would also include paying the insurance.