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Douglas L. Kaune
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Douglas Kaune’s Answers

63 total


  • How long is a nursing home in PA required to keep a person's records after they become deceased?

    My grandmother was neglected by the nursing home she lived in. My parents were too upset to do anything about it, this was 9 years ago and now that I'm of age, I would love to file a suit.

    Douglas’s Answer

    Because of the passage of the 9 years, it is likely that the statute of limitations has run on any claim that you might have had. I suggest that you confer with an attorney who has significant experience with nursing home negligence claims. They will be able to review the facts of the case and determine if a case can still be made at this time.

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  • What can i do?

    My husband past away in an accident now his adult children from previous marriage came in the house while i was gone and started taking some of his stuff. We are legally married and hve a child together.

    Douglas’s Answer

    Technically this is a civil litigation and or criminal action and less of an estate/probate question. Basically, these people have stolen from you unless there is some formal documentation of your husband's desire to transfer the assets to them upon his death.

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  • What is the Family Caregiver Exception Rule ?

    When my mother had a stroke, I moved back home & took care of her for 7 years before she died. I lived in the family home & hired caregivers to take care of her while I was at work. The last 2 years of her life, I took off from work to care for ...

    Douglas’s Answer

    It appears that you would fit the family caregiver exception. You would be required to reside in your mother's home for at least to years prior to her needing nursing home care and would have to show that you provided care that helped to prevent her from entering a nursing home prior to her actual entry date. PA Department of Welfare will still submit an estate recovery claim against the estate. You will have to submit the case facts to the PA DPW to receive their "blessing" and clear the claim.

    As far as probate avoidance, if the house is in your mother's name, you will have to have probate to transfer the property even if you are within the family caregiver exception. You will also likely owe inheritance tax even if you fit the family caregiver exception because the property would be taxable in your Mother's estate.

    You should certainly consult an elderLaw and Probate attorney in your area. This is an important issue to resolve and well worth the representation cost.

    www.utbf.com\trust-estate

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  • One Year rule of ownership on inheritance tax rules in Pennsylvania

    My mother purchased a CD 11 months prior to her death. I am co-owner of this CD. She purchased this with the proceeds of a prior CD also co-owned by me which was rolled into this new CD. How does the one year of ownership apply in this case?

    Douglas’s Answer

    You can add the previous term of ownership of the first CD to that of the second CD so long as you can prove the like ownership through bank statements etc. THis should allow you to get the more favorable tax treatment of joint ownership for more than one year prior to death and only 1/2 of the value will be subject to PA Inh. Tax.

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  • Can I get a copy of a will in Pennsyslvania once it is submitted into the Will of Registry?

    I am out of state and need to get a copy of my fathers will can I do that and if so how?

    Douglas’s Answer

    Yes, the will becomes public record. You can go to the Register of Wills Office in the County where the decedent resided at the time of his death. Alternatively, you can call the same office and discuss what their requirements are for sending a copy out to you.

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  • If a grand daughter is listed in the will and the next listed is daughter. Can dautghter challenge any of its provisions.

    If a granddaughter is listed on the will to be given everything and a daughter is listed second that if somthing happens to the grand daughter the daughter would then recieve everything. Can the daughter challenge any of its provisions.

    Douglas’s Answer

    I believe the answer to your question is yes, your daughter can contest your will. The more difficult question to answer is if she would be successful doing so. It is difficult to successfully challenge a decedent's will. The likely rationale would be that you suffered a diminished capacity or someone forced you to create the will in the way it was created. Check this article posting out for a closer review of some of the issues.
    http://www.utbf.com/trust-estate/2009/09/when-youre-leaving-someone-out-of-the-will-making-sure-that-your-will-is-respected/

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  • Can you sue a Lawyer if he screwed up a Will? (follow-up question to something asked before)

    My Dad's Will stands on its own. The Lawyer who wrote it, showed his notes for the will to the Executor (estranged sister) where 4 major valuable items were not included in the Will. These items all reside in other family members houses and were ...

    Douglas’s Answer

    The short answer is yes, you can sue the lawyer for legal malpractice. The real question you should ask is, can you be successful suing the lawyer? The answer to that question is much more difficult to answer. Wills frequently do not mention specific personal property, but instead mention personal property as general items. Clients often CHOOSE not have items mentioned in the will because they assume the estate will be less likely to have to pay tax on the specific items. Clients instead, agaist counsel, CHOOSE to mention items in an informal manner thinking, "mykids will get along and I will save them a few bucks in tax." This does not always play out as you are finding out. It might have been the lawyer's fault and your father might have been counselled on his options and chosen to have the will prepared as it was. Additionally, the attorney might have had know knowledge that your father "gave" the items away later. You can check out a number of pertinent blog articles at www.utbf.com/trust-estate/

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  • How can I make a change as Executor?

    I'm the executor of an estate and have a question. There are four beneficiaries. 30%, 30% 30% and 10%. Before passing his wish was to have all be equal (4@25%) but never made the formal change with an attorney. As executor how can I do this? All ...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Be very careful. You should not change the will in advance. That is not your responsibility. Your job is to carry out the will as set out. I understand the desire to "help" but you could be the one who gets in trouble down the road. Take a look at this article for some of the things you should consider before you get involved. http://www.utbf.com/trust-estate/2009/11/mom-named-me-as-executor-now-who-can-sue-me-read-this-before-starting-the-executor-or-trustee-job/ The beneficiaries can consider disclaimers during the estate administration, but special care should be taken to make sure that this would work in your case. Alternatively, depending on the size of the estate, the beneficiaries could consider making gifts after the estate administration is completed to equalize. These are options to keep you out of the line of fire and so that you do not inadvertantly get yourself in trouble.

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  • In pennsylvania. What action can be taken if my brother, the executor of the will refuses to distribute the assets of the will.

    It has been three years since my mother's death I have not received my inheritance.

    Douglas’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I would suggest Meeting with an attorney in the county where the estate was probated. It is likely that they will contact the executor or the the attorney of the estate. If no easy resolution can be had, it will be necessary to petition the Orphans' Court in that county to require an accounting of the estate and to force distribution from the esate. You can take a look at this site for additional information on the probate process and things to consider. http://www.utbf.com/trust-estate/2009/10/initiating-probate-in-pennsylvania-pa/

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  • Do we need a lawyer to file a will and any thing else to do with the estate or can we do it ourselves.

    My mother in law passed away 2 weeks ago and my husband is listed as the executor in her will. We would like to know if we "need" to hire a lawyer to file her will, file the inheritance taxes and if we need to have an appraisal of the house or if ...

    Douglas’s Answer

    You are not "required" to have an attorney represent you in the estate administration. However, you might "need" one if you try handle all of the estate requirements on your own. The estate administration process can be quite complex and it is easy to miss the detailed requirements of the probate process, the inheritance tax returns, the fiduciary income tax returns and accounting protections for the executor. It is definitely a "proceed at your own risk" endeavor. Here is a recent posting on the initiation of the probate process. http://www.utbf.com/trust-estate/2009/10/initiating-probate-in-pennsylvania-pa/ You can find other good information on the site as well.

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