Douglas L. Kaune’s Answers

Douglas L. Kaune

Phoenixville Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 10
  1. 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

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2. Stephen J. O'Brien
    3. James P. Frederick
    3 lawyer answers

    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...

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

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2. Jay G. Fischer
    2 lawyer answers

    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...

  3. My mother passed away in January and she had 3 CD's each joint owners between her and her 3 children.

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2. Jay G. Fischer
    3 lawyer answers

    The jointly owned CD's will transfer to the surviving joint owner(s) upon the death of one of the owners. Jointly owned assets will transfer outside of the estate and directly to the survivors. Assuming these accounts were owned jointly for more than one year before the date of death, they will be tax based on the percentage ownership of the decedent. For example, if there were only two joint owners, 50% of the value will be inheritance taxable. If there were three joint owners, 33.3% will...

  4. My brother-in-law has just died...the family says he has a 401K with no beneficiary.

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    1 lawyer answer

    It is possible to never name a beneficiary of a 401k plan and as a result the estate becomes the default beneficiary. Alternatively, the decedent might have named beneficiaries who have pre-deceased him. If he did not add new beneficiaries after their deaths, his estate becomes the beneficiary upon his death. The proceeds of the 401k would be distributed through the estate either in accordance with the decedent's will or the intestate act if thee is no will. A significant aspect of...

  5. Who inherits the assets of a child when their parents are divorced?

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2. Barry J. Dubrow
    2 lawyer answers

    Assuming there is no will, the child does not have children of his or her own and is not married, the two parents would be equal beneficiaries of the decedent's estate under the laws of Pennsylvania.

  6. Guardianship over a child

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2 lawyer answers

    You can allow your Aunt to become guardian for your child, but you cannot give her power of attorney over another person. If you and she agree that she should be guardian, she would have to petition the court where your son resides. There would be a hearing and you would likely have to relinquish your right to be guardian for your son. This is a very important decision and not one that could be easily reversed.

  7. Guardianship over a child

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Douglas L. Kaune
    2 lawyer answers

    You can allow your Aunt to become guardian for your child, but you cannot give her power of attorney over another person. If you and she agree that she should be guardian, she would have to petition the court where your son resides. There would be a hearing and you would likely have to relinquish your right to be guardian for your son. This is a very important decision and not one that could be easily reversed.

  8. Power of attorney and multiple agents

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. David M. Frees III
    2. Douglas L. Kaune
    2 lawyer answers

    Based on the information provided, I would agree that the POA document requires all three of the Agents to act together. Depending on the language set oout in the document, one or more of the named Agents might be able to relinquish their authority to the other named Agent(s).

  9. Does a girlfriend have any rights if listed as a friend in boyfriend's will

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. Stephen J. O'Brien
    2. Douglas L. Kaune
    3 lawyer answers

    P.S. This is commonly seen as an elective share case, but it is not. It is a very unique and specific PA statutory provision dealing with a will drafted and signed before marriage that is still in effect after marriage. The intestate share can be significantly different than the elective share.

  10. Does a girlfriend have any rights if listed as a friend in boyfriend's will

    Answered almost 6 years ago.

    1. Stephen J. O'Brien
    2. Douglas L. Kaune
    3 lawyer answers

    You will have the right to receive the greater of what the will provides and your intestate share. The intestate share is the share that you receive if there is no will. It does not matter that the will refers to you as a friend. There is specific statutory law in PA to deal with a situation such as yours, where a decedent signed a will before marriage and did not update it after marriage. The share owed under the intestate law will depend on whether he had children from a prior marriage....