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Steven M Zelinger
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Steven Zelinger’s Answers

7,412 total


  • How can I find tax id number for living trust?

    My dad recently passed away, had living trust set up for him and my mom (she is still living), trying to settle everything, insurance companies are asking for tax id number for trust..how can I find this information?

    Steven’s Answer

    The trust may not have a tax id (EIN) number yet. If it was a joint trust and they are the trustees they don't need one. Since she is still alive she probably still doesn't need one. Usually you would use the grantors (mom's) social security number. I would go see a lawyer to help mom since you are apparently in over your head and you don't want to make mistakes.

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  • Do I have to pay back a gift given to me by my mother?

    I was power of attorney for my 92 year old mother in Florida. She got sick, I went down there she said take the money don't let the hospital take it. My name was on her accounts. She gets better and moves to Pennsylvania with me. She didn't like i...

    Steven’s Answer

    When you say your name was on the accounts was it as POA or as a joint tenant? If it was joint tenant did the funds originate with her or with you?

    If you were agent you owe mom a fiduciary duty. It is possible,, but certainly can raise red flags when you give yourself gifts, especially if others would take her estate at death (other than you).

    I would get yourself to a lawyer b/c this is very fact-specific.

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  • Is it possible to probate in PA when the deceased used to live in PA, but lived outside the US at the date of death?

    My mother lived in PA for many years, but had lived out of the country at the time of her death. The only asset which must be probated is $22,000 cash, in a PA bank checking account. No foreign probate was required, but we do have a will (prepar...

    Steven’s Answer

    This is a tough one - what does the death certificate say exactly? It would not be possible to probate in PA unless there is a death certificate or a petition with the register of wills asking what the estate should not be in PA. A small estate affidavit would be the only simple option but I"m not even sure if that is permissible in PA if the person technically wasn't a PA resident at death.

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  • Is there any legal recourse to recoup cost of repairs on family home?

    My father began working on repairs in my deceased great grandmother's home. It was shared with the family that he would fix up and maintain the home and put it into Trust. He has put in at least 15,000 in repair work, but the work does not inclu...

    Steven’s Answer

    You don't say if there was a will for the great grandmother or not...more than likely some combination of family now has an ownership interest in the house which could now be very convoluted if she had no will and different children/grandchildren have since died, etc. Your father certainly can recoup his monies if the family can come to agreement and/or if the house is sold. I have dealt with many issues like this and while they are not easy you should start by seeing an attorney with experience.

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  • Person X creates a will at a law office. Family members A and B are designated executors of the estate. Family member C lives

    far away so is not designated to be an executor. Person X dies. As executors, family members A and B keep what they want from the estate. Family member C is excluded, even though the will states he is to receive an equal share of the estate. Q...

    Steven’s Answer

    Absolutely not. The attorney was hired to prepare a will. The engagement of the attorney ends there. The executors are fiduciaries and they have an obligation to carry out their duties - they may or may not have hired an attorney(s) to advise them on how best to carry out their duties. If you are the injured party you may hire your own lawyer to enforce your rights as to the estate. In fact it is possible the law firm that helped X draft the will never knows that the decedent has died. Some attorneys retain original wills for their clients so if the family requests the original they may know the person died but even then the executor doesn't have to hire the firm.

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  • Is it possible to change article of incorporation for a 501C3 non-profit organization without losing its tax exemption status?

    Hi, I am a founder/ceo of a 501C3 and I would like to add community programs to what was originally stated in its articles of incorporation in addition to, adding the option for the organization to have members and also assist needy individuals/...

    Steven’s Answer

    it may not be that the articles need changing but your by-laws may need to be updated. It may also necessitate a change with respect to state reporting and federal 990 rules. I would hire an attorney with non-profit governance experience to guide you.

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  • NJ Division of Taxation is requesting child birth certificate and copy of SS card for earned income credit.

    I applied for and received an earned income credit for both Federal and NJ for 2015. This was the first year that I applied for the tax credit. I recently received a letter from NJ requesting copies of birth certificates and SS cards for the depen...

    Steven’s Answer

    This is a request from NJ Taxation. I would provide the requested information otherwise they will likely disallow the credit.

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  • What type of attorney do we need to handle a sibling buy-out of our deceased parent's home that is in a trust?

    My sister would like to buy my brother and I out for our parent's home. It is in a trust and owned free and clear. She will be paying cash and we have already agreed on a price. What type of attorney could handle this? We also need to know how th...

    Steven’s Answer

    More generally an attorney that handles estate administration will be able to handle it.

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  • What is the difference between a revocable trust and a will?

    A family member is considering doing a revocable trust and not a will I'm interested in knowing the benefit of either

    Steven’s Answer

    I'll add to what the others said as follows: Usually a person has a "pour over will" and a living trust. Assets get to the trust in a few ways: Beneficiary designation (like on life insurance), ownership (the trust owns the asset) or pour over (if someone dies owning an asset it passes through probate and "pours over" into the trust. Ultimately it is the trust that has all the major provisions about the disposition of the assets. A person can have this setup or they can have a will with trust provisions "at the end" - ultimately it is largely the same in terms of end result. However a living trust has the benefits of: 1. Privacy (probate assets that go under the will are public) 2. Speed (in some cases having assets in the trust makes administration easier), 3. incapacity management (assets in a trust allow a trustee to manage assets for an incapacitated person including the grantor of the trust), 4. fee reduction (some states charge lots of fees for assets to go through the will/probate and having assets in the trust ahead of time avoids these charges.

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  • Is the amount of assets and/or cash inherited from a probated will public information?

    After inheriting substantial money from my maternal grandmother via a probated will, I am concerned as to whether or not my father will be able to access that info from public records.

    Steven’s Answer

    You should consult a lawyer local to you familiar with the probate process in the area where the estate is being handled. That said, since it most places probate records are public, you can probably safely assume that any person can look at the probate file that would include an inventory and a copy of the will so they would know how much the estate is worth and how it is divided up. In many situations the accounting of the estate may also be available showing all transactions in detail. This would not include assets that passed outside the will such as beneficiary designated accounts/policies.

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