Skip to main content
Joseph M. Masiuk
Avvo
Pro

Joseph Masiuk’s Answers

403 total


  • Can my mother estate be sued for funeral cost

    My mother passed and my family paid for the funeral before I had a chance to even see what she had....can that sue the estate for funeral costs

    Joseph’s Answer

    In agreeing with my fine colleagues who have also answered your question, I would add only the following:

    Before anybody runs to make a claim against the estate or even thinks about lawsuits, please reread Mom's will (if there is one). In most wills, one of the first paragraphs has the following language:

    "I direct the payment out of my estate of my funeral expenses, including the expenses of my last illness and all just debts as to which there are no defenses in law or equity at the time of my death."

    If such language is in the will, then whomever paid the funeral bill will be reimbursed by the estate by the executor.

    See question 
  • My fiance passed away last week. We lived together in his house for four and a half years. I stopped working to take care of him

    He took care of me financially. His oldest son was promised the house, there's no will to be found. He will be the executor. my fiance told me I would be taken care of if he passes. can his son kick me out and move in during probate? And, does he ...

    Joseph’s Answer

    Here's what you believe to be the case:
    --He was your fiance, and you had a loving relationship.
    --He made some promises to you during his lifetime regarding at least some of his money.
    --The place where you live is the place where you call home, even though his name is on the deed and yours apparently isn't.
    --Because of your relationship with him, you are entitled of some of his money, which he promised, and on which you rely to live.

    BUT, there is no will, so here is how the law looks at you:
    --You are a total stranger to him with no rights whatsoever.

    I know that this is a bitter pill to swallow, but yours is an all-too-common situation. While you and I know that he made promises to you while he was alive, the only thing that the law will recognize at this point is whether he made a will and whose name is on the deed.

    Sorry, but all the loving and well-meaning promises which he spoke in your ear while he was alive are worthless unless he backed them up with documents with legal power. Because he had no will, the law provides that his house and accounts in his name will go to his blood relatives.

    Your only hope is if he named you as the beneficiary on his IRA, because if he did, the IRA will not be part of his probate estate.

    Again, sorry...

    See question 
  • My husband died without a will and now his children said that a will surfaced does it have to be recorded its been four days

    its been 4 days and now I was told about the will I have not seen one when question about his car now they say that theres a will

    Joseph’s Answer

    I agree with both of the fine lawyers who have answered you. I would add only the following:

    A will has no legal power unless it is filed with the Register of Wills. If the party who has the will refuses to file it, you can file a Petition with the Register of Wills to compel whomever is in possession of the will to produce it for filing.

    If his children say there was will, they should file it. If they won't, you can have the Register of Wills order them to do so.

    Good luck.

    See question 
  • What entitlements do children have when estranged father passes?

    His only key assets was a home (paid off) in his mothers name, but she has been gone for 15 years. He does have siblings but they essentially gave him ownership of the home. Are his estranged children entitled to that home?

    Joseph’s Answer

    Estrangement has nothing to do with whether children may inherit. Blood relationship is the only thing that matters. Of course, if he had a will, his estate (including that house) passes to whomever he has named in that will.

    See question 
  • I am 50 I receive Ssi Medicaid also 20 hours of home health care a week can I still spend my settlement money f

    It was from a personal injury case and the Medicare care Leon has been paid for the case do I need to make a trust or can I spend it down or do I have to pay back for the home health care .

    Joseph’s Answer

    You have asked a very, very important question, which can have a drastic effect on your benefits if you get it wrong.

    I absolutely, completely agree with Mr. Davis, the other attorney who answered your question. You need to discuss this matter with the lawyer who settled your case who will, hopefully, put you in touch with a lawyer who does Medicaid work. They will advise you how to best proceed.

    See question 
  • How can you tell if a will is authentic?

    my husbands brother holds the original will from my father in law and won't let any one see it. He said he won't let any one touch the real will or look at it.

    Joseph’s Answer

    Is your father-in-law deceased? If he is, the only way that his will becomes a document with legal power is if it is probated. This means that the executor must take the original will to the Register of Wills office in the courthouse of the county of which your father-in-law was a resident at the time of his death. The Register of Wills will examine the document to determine whether it meets the legal requirements of being a will before it is admitted to probate.

    Again, a will has no legal value unless the will maker has died and the will has been probated in the Register of Wills office. If, in fact, your father-in-law has died and your husband's brother refuses to produce the will for probate, he can be ordered to do so by the Register of Wills. I advise you to seek the assistance of a probate lawyer to help you force production of the will.

    Good luck.

    See question 
  • Can a legal proxy refuse to honor a Living Will?

    After my death, my body is to be donated for forensic research. If my daughter is my legal proxy, can she refuse to honor my wishes and have my remains buried or cremated?

    Joseph’s Answer

    With all respect to my out-of-state colleagues, Pennsylvania law specifically addresses this issue in 20 Pa. C.S.A. §305, entitled Right to Dispose of Decedent's Remains. To remove all doubt, our clients sign what we call an Affidavit of Contrary Intent which, under this law, sets the terms of whom will take charge of the body and what they are to do with it. This situation most commonly arises when there is a dispute between one military veteran spouse who wants to be buried at Arlington, and his or her spouse, who wants everyone together in the family plot.

    We recommend that such an affidavit be drawn by a lawyer familiar with these issues.

    See question 
  • My Mother is 73 , and does not have a will, which I am trying to get her to take care of this week, what does she need ?

    She lives in PA , she has a pre-nup with her husband, but I do not have a clear Idea of what is in the pre-nup. What does a lawyer need to know or see if we meet with one to get her will in order. I am just trying to make sure she has everything i...

    Joseph’s Answer

    In addition to the fine answers given by my colleagues, I would add only the following:

    I join Ms. Stewart in congratulating your Mom for taking steps to have a will. While she's at it, though, I would suggest that she also plan for the possibility of incapacity.. Mom should give serious consideration to having her lawyer draw up a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, a Power of Attorney for Property and Finance, as well as a HIPAA Release. With those three documents she will be able to give a person, such as yourself, legal power to obtain medical information and to make health care and financial decisions for Mom if, for some reason, she is not able to do so.

    With people living longer, we have found that planning for life with incapacity has actually become more important than deciding who gets what at death. You've told us that you are "just trying to make sure Mom has everything in order." Having Mom do Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Property and a HIPAA Release in addition to a will will do exactly that.

    See question 
  • Is it too late to pursue this?

    I am going to try to explain this the best way I can. My husband's mother passed away in 2004 and in her will she states that minus $10,000.00 he & his brother are to split the 90,000.00 she had in an investment The problem is that his brother an...

    Joseph’s Answer

    There is no better advice than that which has been given you by my two fine colleagues, Mr. Zelinger and Ms. Stewart. The truth is, given that your brother-in-law was a co-owner of the account with your mother-in-law, your husband is fortunate that his brother did not simply claim all the money for himself. As Ms. Stewart has aptly pointed out, most people don't know that the Joint Accounts Act generally trumps anything that is in the will with respect to any given account. If your brother-in-law had decided not to give your husband anything, I believe that no court in Pennsylvania would say otherwise.

    See question 
  • Parents died 4 years ago. I've asked my siblings 10x for an accounting of their estate. I was only given a copy of their will.

    The will is notorized on the last page with all signatures but none of the other pages are initialed. My siblings sold two of the three homes that were in my parents name, there is one left and my sister lives there with her husband and three dau...

    Joseph’s Answer

    Your letter contains many complaints about how you have been mistreated and shortchanged by your siblings up to this point, which forces me to ask the question, "Why have you waited this long to see a lawyer?" Or, put another way, "How much more are you willing to lose until you force your relatives to treat you in a manner to which you are entitled according to law?"

    You say that you've asked your siblings "ten times" for an accounting. I'm sure that it had to occur to you that after around asking for, let's say, the fourth time, or at least the sixth time, for sure, that they were not going to honor your request. Had you seen an attorney, it would have been short work for him or her to file a Petition to Compel an Accounting, which would FORCE the executor or executrix to give you what you required.

    It still may not be too late. Lawyers are here to help. Many of us have represented people in the very same situation as yours and have obtained for them what the law requires. In extreme cases, when an executor or executrix has plundered an estate, the Court may order what's called a Surcharge, which requires the executor to make up any shortfall (including the attorney's fees it cost to pursue it) out of the executor's own personal assets.

    I surmise that your siblings have treated you this way at least in part because they fear no consequences. Now that you know that the law may impose consequences, what do you plan to do?

    Good luck to you.

    See question