Joseph M. Masiuk’s Answers

Joseph M. Masiuk

Southampton Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 13
  1. How do I find out if my mothers Will is valid

    Answered 5 months ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Gail Marcus
    3. Estela Matta
    3 lawyer answers

    There is no such thing as "original copies" of a will. There is the original will, which was the document hand signed by your mother. If she signed more than one and they were witnessed (and hopefully "self-proved" by a Notary Public), they are "duplicate originals." Otherwise, there is only one original. The rest are copies. As a copy, the document which you have with you has no legal power, even if offered to probate. There are a very limited set of circumstances in which the Register...

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  2. Can an inherited house be deeded to a will's beneficiary if the beneficiary is in prison?

    Answered 8 months ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. John B. Whalen Jr.
    3. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    3 lawyer answers

    In fact, if the will says that the three of you should inherit the house, the proper way to satisfy the will would be to have the executor of the estate deed the property to the three of you. The party deeding the property, known as the Grantor, is the only one who is required to sign the deed.

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  3. May a lawyer licensed in New Jersey prepare valid estate plans for a resident of Pennsylvania and on death prosecute them?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Yvette E. Taylor-Hachoose
    3. Jeff Tomberg
    3 lawyer answers

    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!

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  4. How do i find out if my mom had a will?

    Answered 9 months ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Karen Lynn DeMarco
    3. Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.
    4. Charles Adam Shultz
    4 lawyer answers

    I agree with the answers of my two fine colleagues and add only the following: Are you SURE the paper you're being asked to sign is to prevent you from contesting anything? In Pennsylvania, to open an estate without a will, someone must apply for Letters of Administration. For these Letters to be issued, anyone who is an "Heir at Law", which generally means a son, daughter, or grandchild (depending upon who is left to survive the deceased) must sign a paper called a "Renunciation." This...

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  5. Children are disagreeing over mom's estate. What to do?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Nicholas Bernard Proy
    3. John B. Whalen Jr.
    3 lawyer answers

    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...

    8 lawyers agreed with this answer

  6. My friend made a will and had it notarized and had 2 witnesses to the signing. It this will legal in the state of PA?

    Answered 9 months ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Steven M Zelinger
    3. Jacques H. Geisenberger Jr.
    4. John B. Whalen Jr.
    4 lawyer answers

    There is absolutely no way we can tell that the document which you say is a "will" is, in fact, a will without seeing it. Contrary to popular belief, it takes more than two witnesses and a notary seal for a will to be a document with legal power. A lawyer is best equipped to examine the document to tell you whether your friend's paper meets the legal requirements. Also, you should know that for a will to take on legal power, two things have to happen: 1) the Testator (willmaker) must...

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

  7. How can I get an attorney whose area of expertise is in estate administration, stocks, bonds, real estate, and financial assets?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Paula Brown Sinclair
    3. Bernard Harley Greenberg
    4. Rochelle S. Rabin
    5. Robert V Cornish Jr.
    5 lawyer answers

    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...

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

  8. What are my rights as a caregiver in an estate issue

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Virginia C Arnold
    3. Leonard L. Shober
    4. Lawrence A Friedman
    4 lawyer answers

    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.

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

  9. How long after all assets are liquidated should it take the lawyer to finalize distribution in PA?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Steven J. Fromm
    3. Leonard L. Shober
    3 lawyer answers

    In our office, assuming no difficulties or problems, distribution of an estate is finalized after we receive what is called the Notice of Assessment from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Inheritance Tax Division. This is a document which tells us whether the Inheritance Tax Return REV-1500 was accepted as filed and whether the Commonwealth agrees with our calculation of tax paid. Once the Commonwealth has "blessed" the tax return, there should be no impediment to...

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. "My parents are signing over house to me

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Joseph M. Masiuk
    2. Nicholas Bernard Proy
    3. Robert Cronin
    4. Christina Margaret Costanzo
    5. Seamus M. Lavin
    5 lawyer answers

    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...

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

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