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Adam S. Bernick

Adam Bernick’s Answers

316 total


  • Savings bonds and medicaid.

    Hello, my grandfather gave me several savings bonds between 1991 and 1993. My name is on the "to" line and his name is on the "mail to" line but is not on the "or" line (my mother name is there). If he needs to go on medicaid (a possibility), ...

    Adam’s Answer

    I concur with other counsel. You need to have an elder law attorney advise you on asset planning. Consult Avvo for a lawyer in her state who practices in this area of the law.

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  • When debts and atty's fees exceed estate value how do you even get to probate? Alternatives?

    I am named the executor and 100% beneficiary. However, the estate is worth less than $10,000. By the time i pay Atty Fees, debts, funeral, court fees. & so-on... i am out of pocket money. My mother was a cancer patient, medical expenses, credit c...

    Adam’s Answer

    You need to consult a local probate attorney in the state where your mother died, resided or owned land possibly to review her assets and list of creditors to determine what action to take. You should not under any circumstances agree to pay any creditors until you have spoke to local probate counsel. It is worth your time and effort to pay for a detailed consultation and review of the claims and assets to determine options.

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  • My mother left the house to me and my sister to be divided when sold, My Sister has the power of attorney and will not

    communicate with me if the house is sold and what the proceeds were after paying the expenses, am i entitled to a copy of the closing papers , What kind of attorney would I need,

    Adam’s Answer

    You need to meet with a probate attorney in the state where she resides to review any documents and at which meeting you should have a list of what happened when in date order. If she is still alive, the agent under a POA has no obligation to discus anything with anyone or account for anything without a court order. If your mother is lucid she would have the right to cancel the POA, but should arrange this with an independent attorney. If she is not lucid you do have the right to challenge the validity of the POA or even if it is valid and a guardianship is not ordered you do have the right to petition for an accounting and discovery. Note that you have to pay all your own fees and costs and likely the judge will not order her to cover same unless she stole money from your mother and even then she may just be ordered to re-pay the money. Meanwhile, your sister can legally use your mother's money to pay for her lawyer and again absent her taking money or substantially failing to do her job as agent she will not have to re-pay your mother's estate for this. Note that the POA ends at death, too. I strongly urge you to consult an independent probate or estate attorney to discuss the matter

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  • If a CD is in trust for a person does it have to be listed in the estate inventory?

    My mother had CDs in her name with myself on some as in trust and on some with my sister in trust or benificiary.

    Adam’s Answer

    So long as the trust terms specific it is for the beneficiary then it would not be listed in the estate probate inventory. This would also be the case if it is an in trust for account at the bank. Note that even if the items passes outside probate it may need to be reported on the inheritance tax return and will be subject to inheritance tax. Have a PA probate attorney review the assets debts and income and expenses and prepare the return.

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  • Our neighbor built a fence on our property that is 7' tall. We would like it changed or removed. How do we go about it.

    A storm caused neighbor's tree to fall on her house. It also knocked down my fence. I took down all the remaining slats and poles and was going to replace with another fence. The original fence was 6 feet high and went down to four feet at the ...

    Adam’s Answer

    Your question is not clear. You should have a real estate attorney review the specific facts of your case to determine what needs to be done. If the neighbor built a fence on your land and will not remove it you will need to obtain a court order to compel its removal. If you do not then the neighbor can proceed in court and try to claim the land in question is now his under the doctrine of adverse possession.

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  • Can my sisters sign a qualified disclaimer to give me my parents (both deceased) home?

    They want no part of the home as they both have their own and want me to have it. I paid off the mortgage last year.

    Adam’s Answer

    You need to consult with a probate attorney to determine what forms need to be filed when. Of note you need to determine what the effect will be if they sign a disclaimer as generally a valid disclaimer means that they are presumed to have died before your parents. There may be deadline issues involved in the case and if they have children of their own the disclaimed interests may pass to their children. What you may need is an assignment. So discuss the matter with a probate attorney in the state in question.

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  • My mother passed away in March 2013. My sister shared ownership of a town home with her, both names are on the mortgage

    My mother had no cash asset but has assets in Jewelry, art work etc. My mother left no living will and I am being denied any of her assets by my sister who shared her town home. From what I understand and believe to be true the property is "up sid...

    Adam’s Answer

    Based on the information that you provided you need to have a probate attorney in the state where she died to review the documents in question, including the Deed.

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  • Can my children obtain control of the funds left by thier Father?

    My Children's father left money for them through their Grandfather, with a will describing how to handle said funds. In the will it states that whatever accounts they set up for his children should have control turned over to the children at age 2...

    Adam’s Answer

    You should have an independent probate attorney from the state where probate is occurring obtain a copy of the documents to review and then discuss with you options. Without review of the wording of the documents it is unclear as to the procedural options you can take.

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  • Will the estate of a decedent pay the due taxes on decedents business

    My father passed owning a business that is still producing an income. In his holographic will he gives his half of the company to a business associate. This would mean that My step-mother and the business associate now own the company. There are t...

    Adam’s Answer

    You need to consult a probate attorney in the state where he died, resided or owned land. If probate is in process, consult an independent attorney to review the probate documents and any business documents as there may be some form of buyout or other arrangement as part of the corporation.

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  • Can i file the Will that my grandfather left since its been about 5 yrs and my mother did not do it?

    Its been about 5 yrs or so since my grandfather passed. I was his power of atternory. I have the will. My mother took the insurancance money and did not follow the procedure with the will. In the will, it's me, my mother and her half brother. My m...

    Adam’s Answer

    You need to consult a probate attorney in the county where he died, or was domiciled or owned land as to any specific procedures. In PA if it has only been 5 years probate may be possible, but the executor named in the will is the one who files the will, absent litigation to compel filing of the will or have yourself or other named heirs appointed. Without seeing the will it is impossible to determine who should do this. A lot may depend on how the accounts were titled while he was alive as if they passed outside probate to her there may not be anything to probate. Also, unless the estate was the beneficiary under the insurance policy the will would have no effect on the insurance proceeds or other non-probate property.

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