Skip to main content
Douglas L. Kaune
Avvo
Pro

Douglas Kaune’s Answers

63 total


  • Sever the tie *legally* from parents, as an adult?

    In Pennsylvania we have these ridiculous Filial Responsibility laws that require people to take care of their family members' racked up medical bills if they are unable to pay for them. I don't keep in touch with my family and am sure as hell not ...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Although I have not come across a case whereby an adult child has divorced a parent, I would not be surprised if one comes down the pike in the near future. The filial responsibility provisions of PA law are confounding to say the least. They also seem to be arbitrarily applied. It boggles my mind to think that someday I might have to write a $10,000 a month check for my Mother's nursing care.

    As you may know, there are child emancipation laws so a minor child can get out of the control of their parents. At some point there might be similar cases and statutory provisions that cover the "How To" for an adult child who wants to get out from under the specter of having to pay for a parent's care. Unfortunately, I can't point you in that direction for answers today.

    See question 
  • Would I need a probate lawyer

    My grandfather passed and he left his property to my father, he also left money for maintenance of the property and what is left is supposed to go to my brother and I. Now he is selling the house does that mean the full amount for maintenance woul...

    Douglas’s Answer

    It really depends on what your Grandfather's Will (assuming he had one) said. That would detail whether your father held a life estate and if the life estate ends when your father sells the property. It is also possible that the Property was held in trust for your father and that the proceeds from the sale of the property would also be held in Trust for him for his lifetime. There are quite a number of different possible scenarios and impossible to guess which one applies.

    Definitely get a hold of your Grandfather's Will and read it. You would likely benefit from experienced counsel as well.

    See question 
  • I have 25,000 bequeathed to me in my father's will. My brother says I only get it when the house is sold? Is that right?

    Father lived in S.C. died October 2014. Left me 25,000 from estate. He left my brother 1/2 of the house and the other 1/2 to deceased's wife's family. My brother says there is no money until house sells. My dad had some money, checking, savings, ...

    Douglas’s Answer

    It will depend on a couple of factors.
    1. Are there cash assets to pay specific bequests? If no, then there is no way to pay you until the house is sold. If yes, what does South Carolina law say?
    2. If there are liquid assets to pay specific bequests, you will have to hire SC counsel to review the state law. PA has a rule of law requiring specific bequests, where there are liquid assets, to be paid within 6 months of the date of death. in your case, it will depend on SC law which i cannot advise you on.
    Either way, it is probably a good idea to get SC counsel on your side.

    See question 
  • What is the easiest way and cheapest to buy a house from my father. He is going to a rest home and needs some money for dept.

    He wants 110000 for his house. Can I get a loan for 50000 so he can pay off what he wants then pay him a cash mortgage monthly. Or can I buy for 1.00$ then give a110000 gift. Is that possible

    Douglas’s Answer

    Considering your father is moving into a nursing care facilities, your options might be more limited. I am assuming from your post the true fair market value of the property is $110,000. That is an important point of consideration. I also assume, that he does not have much in the way of financial assets. If that is true, you will have to get a mortgage to pay off your father's existing loan. That will leave $60,000. You can either get a larger loan so that you can pay him more of that $60k balance or use your own cash to pay the balance.

    I suggest meeting with an Elder Law attorney as there may be additional opportunities such as exempt transfer to family caregiver, "reverse half a loaf" crisis planning, $500/month gifting and more. There are definitely planning options, there is just too much to review in this type of forum.

    See question 
  • How does a Trust's TIN get changed on death of "primary" spouse/trustee? (FL residents).

    Our parents have a Revocable Trust , with both listed as "Grantors" & "Co-Trustees". The Trust's TIN was estab'd in its paperwork as my Dad's SSN. Our Dad recently passed away, and we're contacting financial institutions where they hav...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Your best course of action largely depends on the structure of your parents' planning. It is not clear if they had two separate Rev. Trusts or if they were operating a single joint revocable trust. The next steps also depend on what the Trust says will happen upon the death of your father. Are assets directed into a marital or family trust for the benefit of your mother or are they directed to be added to her separate Rev. Trust.

    Unfortunately, it is hard to grasp all of the details this way. It is likely best for you to sit down with local counsel to get the lay of the land and determine the best course of action. This type of initial counsel will be well worth it in the end.

    See question 
  • Our dad passed Mar 7 & mom Mar 13. An insurance policy needs to be paid to my sister & I. Do we need Small Estate Affidavit?

    No real estate involved. Bank accounts have been closed. They were both in an assisted living facility and most of their estate was spent on their care. The insurance company is insisting we need a Small Estate Affidavit. The insurance policy wa...

    Douglas’s Answer

    AS mentioned by the others, you must determine if you were the named beneficiaries. If so, you will only need a death certificate at the time you contact the insurance company. If not, there will be a more time consuming process. My suggestion is to find out your standing as beneficiaries on the policy and then cross the next bridge at a later date.

    See question 
  • Can my step-dad's estate refuse to pay me my inheritance because of this?

    I lived with my step-dad until he passed away a few months ago. I was supposed to get $20,000 from his estate, I signed the papers and everything. Now his Executor (his brother) is saying that I took some things out of the house so they're not gi...

    Douglas’s Answer

    You have a strong position based on your rendering of the facts. Unfortunately, the petitioning process might be a bit complex for someone who is not used to navigating the Orphans' Court. That being said, $20,000 is a relatively small amount and you have to be careful getting into a legal battle requiring significant attorney fees. I do think it is worth taking action, but you should likely get some form of representation.

    See question 
  • How do I get deceased husbands name off of car title from PA now that I live in SC? Car is paid off, have SC license & paid tax?

    Have been to DMV many times with original death cert., power of attorney, went to probate office here in SC, told they could do nothing since he's not a resident nor home owner in SC. Called courthouse in PA, told they could do nothing. There is n...

    Douglas’s Answer

    I would suggest contacting the PA Department of Motor Vehicles in Harrisburg, PA or a Auto Tag office based in PA. As an example, Best Auto Tag. There are forms that you will need to fill out and submit for transfer of the vehicle to "Next of Kin." Once the care is in your name, you can then determine the process for transferring title to SC.

    See question 
  • Can executor force collection of funds after closing estate?

    An estate is closed on Dec 10, 2014. On Dec 28, 2014 the executor notifies someone they owe the estate money. Allegedly a company sent this person money that was supposed to be for the deceased. There is a discrepancy because this person and the d...

    Douglas’s Answer

    IF this is a just debt owed to the estate, the executor will have the power to execute on it. The process for reopening the estate will be relatively easy. If the debt is collected, the executor would be responsible for filing an amended PA Inheritance tax return so that tax is paid on the collected funds less any related expense to collect the money.

    As for how the SS# was obtained, that is a separate matter and would not necessarily release the person from having to pay the just debt back to the estate,.

    See question 
  • Should a Will and Power of Atty prepared in GA registered in GA Probate Court be redone if the person is moved to NY?

    We were advised by my sisters GA lawyer to redo both the will and Power of atty in NY after she was moved here. We went to a local NY lawyer picked out of the phone book and were told it was not necessary to have the documents redone. We rece...

    Douglas’s Answer

    I always tell clients who are moving out of state to schedule a meeting with local counsel in their new state of residence so that there can be a thorough review of all estate planning documents. It is not that documents become null and void just because you move to a new state, however, the new state may have unique legal issues that were not addressed in the old documents.

    States have different inheritance and estate tax laws that might require different planning. States also often have different power of attorney laws. You just want to make sure that the documents are up to speed and compliant with all of the unique legal issues in the new state.

    See question