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Douglas L. Kaune
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Douglas Kaune’s Answers

63 total


  • What is Probate on an estate

    What is the difference in Probate and having a will and executor?

    Douglas’s Answer

    Check out this Blog posting. It may provide some assistance in answering your question.

    http://www.utbf.com/trust-estate/2009/10/initiating-probate-in-pennsylvania-pa/

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  • My mother passes away and my oldest brother is the executor. I am not sure he is able to handle the responsibility.

    Can we have another sibling appointed executor if he willingly steps down?

    Douglas’s Answer

    The short answer is, probably. If there was a substitute Executor named in the will, your brother can renounce in favor of the successor named in the will. If the named successor is appropropriate then you are set. If the named successor is not appropriate then there might be other considerations or approaches to best handle the situation. If there is no successor named, then your brother can renounce in favor of another individual and the Court may accept his "suggested" apointment but is not required to. A lot of how your case will proceed will depend on how the family gets along and how well they are willing to work together to get their common goal accomplished. THere are definitely variables to each situation that are impossible to address here, but this is something that likely can be accomplished if you are able to work within the Pennsylvania rules.

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  • My mother passes away and my oldest brother is the executor. I am not sure he is able to handle the responsibility.

    Can we have another sibling appointed executor if he willingly steps down?

    Douglas’s Answer

    The short answer is, probably. If there was a substitute Executor named in the will, your brother can renounce in favor of the successor named in the will. If the named successor is appropropriate then you are set. If the named successor is not appropriate then there might be other considerations or approaches to best handle the situation. If there is no successor named, then your brother can renounce in favor of another individual and the Court may accept his "suggested" apointment but is not required to. A lot of how your case will proceed will depend on how the family gets along and how well they are willing to work together to get their common goal accomplished. THere are definitely variables to each situation that are impossible to address here, but this is something that likely can be accomplished if you are able to work within the Pennsylvania rules.

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  • I am a benediciary of a Trust and the trustee wants to transfer the trust to my name shoudl this cost anything?

    Exisiting trust - trustee wants to transfer to me or disolve trust

    Douglas’s Answer

    It is difficult to answer your question based on the limited information provided. It would be necessary to see the trust terms and requirements to determine the best approach and possible cost. It is likely that if the trust is being terminated, there would be some fees charged by the trustee as a part of his or her usual duties. There is not likely a fee to close the trust accounts themselves. There might also be income tax due for income earned by the trust and for the preparation of necessary tax returns.

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  • At the death of someone, is it required to file probate

    if there are no assets except some insurance money

    Douglas’s Answer

    Probate would be required only if the insurance proceeds were to be paid to the decedent's estate directly or to a deceased beneficiary. A named living beneficiary can claim the proceeds outside of probate.

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  • My mother is in a nursing home she owns her home can i live in it or will i have to turn her home over to the nursing home for h

    My mom is in a nursing home she owns her home can i live in her home or do i have to turn it over to the nursing home for payment of her care

    Douglas’s Answer

    Please keep in mind this is a general answer and you should review the specifics of your case with an experienced elder law attorney. Proper representation could serve to protect a significant portion of your mother's assets.

    The primary residence can be a tricky asset in cases relating to nursing home care payment and Medicaid. If there is a reasonable chance Mom can return home, you do not have to sell the home during her lifetime. That being said and assuming you do not sell the house, there would likely be an estate recovery claim against her estate and thus against her home value after she dies. Depending on the length of your mother's stay in the nursing home, the claim could be for the entire value of the home or more. Obviously, the state could only be paid back to the extent the estate had assets.

    You could potentially reside in her home during the remainder of her lifetime. The house could not be transferred to you unless you qualify for the family caregiver exception to the general rules or unless you choose to purchase the property for fair market value. You might be responsible for paying for the upkeep and maintenance of the home if your mother's other assets have been expended.

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  • My brother and I were to be left equal share of our parents estate. At the time of their death, my brother took all their

    personal property for their own use sold the house without me knowing and liquidated everything. I got a small amount of CD's and never saw a copy of the will. Can I get a copy of this will at the court house?

    Douglas’s Answer

    If the will was filed as a part of the probate process it does become a public record. I would begin your search at the Register of Wills office in the County in which your parents resided at death. Keep in mind that there are other possisble ways for assets to be distributed such as through a deed transfer during lifetime, joint ownership at death or beneficiary designation. You should also ask the Register's Office if an inheritance tax return was filed for either of your parents. You should be able to access that as a matter of public record if one was filed.

    Douglas Kaune

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  • As an only child, am I entitled to inherit from my mothers estate or does my step dad get it all?

    My mother passed in 2002 in Pittsburgh without a will. My stepdad, with whom I do not share blood, immediately claimed everything to be his. To my knowledge, I do not think her estate has been settled as I never received anything from any office i...

    Douglas’s Answer

    You should check the county courthouse (Register of Wills) to determine if a will was probated. If it was, the will determines the beneficiaries. If there was no will but there were probate assets you might be entitled to a portion of the estate. If the estate was not probated it is likely that the assets all transfered by joint ownership or beneficiary designation to your step- father. Please check with a Pittsbugh attorney for assistance.

    Douglas L. Kaune, Esq.

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  • I am the residual beneficiary of an estate. Can the executor and attorney convey the furnishings as part of the home sale

    The executor was aware that I wanted the furnishings. I was asked to leave the furniture in place to stage the home. The executor and attorney allowed the buyer to request the furniture and appliances to get more money out of the sale. Is this leg...

    Douglas’s Answer

    The answer to your question likely lies in the provisions of the decedent's Will. There should be a personal property provision that directs how the Executor is to dispose of personal items. If the items are to be given to you then I think you would have grounds in stating a case to receive the items and that they should not be sold. If the Will directs that the personal items are to be sold and proceeds to be added to the residue, then the Executor is likely acting within his/her rights.

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  • I was named executor of my mother's will. She wanted me to divide her jewelry and antiques equally among the grandkids.

    My sister took power of attorney after my mother slipped into dementia. She has been giving my mothers things to her daughter before my mother died, and has the rest in her condo.She would likely hide the rest when she realizes I'm about to probat...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Does your Mother's will actually say who gets the jewelry or did she simply tell you her wishes? This will be an important factor in proving your mother's intent.
    You should also determine if your mother had a formal inventory of the jewelry either through her insurance company or otherwise. You must find a way to prove what items your mother actually owned.
    You must also determine exactly when these items were given away and also that your mother did not give them away herself.
    These are difficult cases forthe reasons listed above and for others including the cost of legal representation to go after items that might have been given away improperly.

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