David M. Frees III’s Answers

David M. Frees III

Phoenixville Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 9
  1. Under Pennsylvania probate laws does the estate automatically go to the surviving spouse

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. David M. Frees III
    2. Jay G. Fischer
    3. Michael Ian Werner
    3 lawyer answers

    No. The estate does not automatically go to the surviving spouse under Pennsylvania's Intestate Act. However, any assets that are jointly held by both spouses as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or as tenants by the entireties will pass by operation of law to the surviving spouse even where there is no will. Insurance policies, IRAs and 401(k)s will also pass to a spouse if she is the beneficiary. Where there is no will and no beneficiary designation, the first thirty thousand...

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  2. Can utilities and taxes be deducted from the inheritance tax return?

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. Stephen J. O'Brien
    2. David M. Frees III
    3. Donald Erich Lowrey
    3 lawyer answers

    Yes. Reasonable expenses incurred in protecting and maintaining assets of the estate are deductible. This assumes that the real estate is not left specifically to a particular person, and that is not jointly owned. I hope that this helps.

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

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  3. What is a short certificate?

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. David M. Frees III
    2. Jay G. Fischer
    2 lawyer answers

    A short certificate is proof from the register of wills, that the will has been probated and that you have been properly and legally appointed as the executor. Be careful, because many banks and institutions ask for this even when probate is not needed. For example, if all of the accounts are joint with a surviving person, and/or there is a small account, such accounts can be closed by the joint account holder just with a death certificate, or, can often be paid directly from the bank to a...

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  4. Estate planning under PA state law, probate and trust

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2. David M. Frees III
    3. Debra G. Speyer
    3 lawyer answers

    The use of Revocable Living Trusts is much more common in Ca than in Pennsylvania. In general, Pa is a low probate fee and high tax state and they tax trusts at the same rate as estates. In many cases, a family with one or just a few children will essentially avoid the probate process by entering into a simple family settlement agreement. However, the use of trusts can still be advisable where: 1) The person is quite elderly and wants a trustee to manage assets, 2) they person is...

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  5. How do you divide this asset?

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. David M. Frees III
    2. Janet Lee Brewer
    2 lawyer answers

    The answer to your question will be set forth in the will if there is a will and in the intesate act of Pennsylvania if there is no will and presuming that the last living grandparent to die was a Pennsylvania resident. If the will provides that gifts to the children are "per stirpital", then the one third share of each child who predeceased the grandparents would be distributed in equal shares to her child or children. If the distribution is "per capita" then it might be that the will...

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  6. PA probate law, executor's duties and responsibilities to the estate

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Jay G. Fischer
    2. David M. Frees III
    2 lawyer answers

    This is to supplement Jay's answer. The executor is usually entitled to much less of a fee for administering an estate made up largely of joint assets or assets which transfer outside of the probate estate such as insurance, retirement accounts etc. Also, have you considered or spoken to your brother in law about this as he may not actually intent to charge his full fee permitted by law.

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  7. Real Estate and insurance rights after parent dies.

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. Michael Ian Werner
    2. David M. Frees III
    2 lawyer answers

    The answer to the question about who owns the house should be easy to resolve. A lawyer, title company, or an experienced title searcher should be able to go to the Recorder of Deeds in your county. Be sure, who ever you hire to search the title for the last deed of record, that you establish in advance how much you will be charged. You should be able to get a small flat fee for that answer. They will likely discover that the house was 1) in her name alone, 2)was joint with one or more...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  8. What is the annual gift allowance without incurring federal gift tax

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. Margery Ellen Golant
    2. David M. Frees III
    3. Gabriel Cheong
    3 lawyer answers

    First, the quick answer: The annual gift tax exclusion for 2008 is 12,000. per person. However, in 2009 the amount adjusts to $13,000. If you are married, your mother could give each of you $12,000 for a total of $24,000 before the end of this year. Then, in January she could gift another $26,000. Furthermore, your mother has a $1,000,000.00 million dollar lifetime exemption so she can give you the balance, file a gift tax return, use the little bit of her 1 million dollar exemption needed...

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  9. Can you sue a LIving Trust?

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. Kevin W. Davidson
    2. Darlynn Campbell Morgan
    3. David M. Frees III
    3 lawyer answers

    I liked the other lawyers answers to this question. In general, asset protection is not achieved through a revocable living trust. For good reasons, most states have laws which prohibit protection from trusts that you create for yourself. However, consider receiving any inheritance that you might receive in a Beneficiary Controlled Trust. This type of trust, created by a parent or a third party which affords you a high level of control may give you a great deal of protection. Usually,...

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  10. Heirs to an estate

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Jay G. Fischer
    2. David M. Frees III
    3. Gabriel Cheong
    3 lawyer answers

    The previous answers are good. I'd like to add one more dimension. when a parent or parents die intestate (without wills) they have left all of their planning to the state through the intestate act. You will have forfited the right to say who gets the asset, when they get the asset, who manages the asset (such as a trustee) and to set the rules for how income and principal get used by your sons. Most states provide that assets inherited by a minor without a trust go outright to the child when...

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