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Joseph M. Masiuk
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Joseph Masiuk’s Answers

419 total


  • I was born into a very Prominent family in Pittsburgh PA , out of wed lock and would like an attorney to formerly introduce me.

    Because of the status of the family I was born into I believe I would haft to furnish proof of who I am and I would like to consult with and attorney first.

    Joseph’s Answer

    Per usual, I agree with my fine colleague, Ms. Stewart, but would add only the following:

    In this era, no one argues with DNA. If there was a way that you could have your DNA matched to the family at issue, then there would be little room for them to argue with you.

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  • Are there any regulations or concerns (gift taxes, probate or etc) since I live in another state?

    I live in Ohio but I am one fourth owner of my parents home in Westmoreland County. I am thinking about signing my quarter over to my disabled brother who lives in the house and is also one fourth owner. Is it better to sign it over now or put...

    Joseph’s Answer

    The only way to "sign it over" is by making a deed, which will be recorded in the Westmoreland County Courthouse, from yourself to your brother. Any Pennsylvania attorney with knowledge in deed transfers should be able to do this job for you for a reasonable price.

    Whether you "sign it over" now or put it in your will is a question that only you can answer, depending upon whether you want him to own the 1/4 interest now or at your death, assuming that you die before him. If you want him to have the interest now, then, by all means, deed it to him now.

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  • Can a lawyer be the witness for the signing of wills that have already been prepared?

    My wife and I created out Last Will and Testaments through Legal Zoom. However, when we sign we need to have the signing witnessed by two people (sure all lawyers here know this). We'd just like to have a lawyer and someone in the office be our wi...

    Joseph’s Answer

    If you chose not to have an attorney prepare your will, why would you want to have a lawyer witness the document? Is it because you believe that a lawyer's signature on the document would provide at least the illusion that the lawyer prepared the document or that he or she endorsed the language in a will that he or she didn't write?

    In agreeing with my colleagues, Messrs. Zelinger and Benz, I would add only the following: There isn't a lawyer I know who would lend his or signature to such a document. At the risk of sounding elitist, for us, it is a matter of personal pride and responsibility for what we do. Our placing a signature on a document means much more to us as professionals than you might realize. It means that we are proud of what we've written and are prepared to defend it if the need arises.

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  • She gets SSD+ food stamps+receives financial aide + is guardian of her Grandson a trust fund is coming will she lose her Food S.

    I am writing for a friend who is on SSD and receives food stamps and financial aide, she is legal guardian of her minor grandson because her daughter passed away. The boy will be coming into a trust fund soon and him being with the grandmother wil...

    Joseph’s Answer

    You need to get her to an attorney who specializes in trusts, particularly in what is called a "special needs" trust.

    We don't know enough about your friend's or her grandson's situation, but it may well be that a certain type of Special Needs Trust, which is called a d4A trust may possibly be set up to help their situation.

    Tell them I wish them good luck.

    Again, an attorney who is skilled in this type of planning may be able to help.

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  • Would we be able to file to become his Guardian or POA and get the help he needs even though that are still married?

    My dad is in rehab and it suffering from multiple ailments, including an end stage one. After this time his speech function has diminished, not really sure what he understands and he is having trouble articulating his sentences. My mother has been...

    Joseph’s Answer

    Yours is a very sad situation, but not without a solution.

    Since you are "not really sure what [Dad] understands and he is having trouble articulating his sentences", it may well be that the only recourse is for you to seek to become Dad's guardian. His lack of capacity makes it doubtful that he would be able to give anyone a power of attorney. And no, there is nothing in the law so far as I know that would prevent you from seeking guardianship even though your mother is still alive and married to him.

    In all Pennsylvania guardianship cases, there must be medical evidence presented of your Dad's incapacity. In light of your mother's objections throughout, this is likely to be a contested guardianship. I suggest that you contact an attorney in Philadelphia County skilled in handling guardianships to help you navigate these potentially difficult issues. I wish you and your family the best.

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  • What should I do if anything

    My Mother passed away in 2008 she was in a nursing home, When she passed everything went to the nursing home , so I think there is a house that has been abandoned since 2006 it is just falling apart, Who is responsible for the house

    Joseph’s Answer

    There are may unaddressed issues in your question that only a qualified attorney skilled in elder law and Medicaid can answer.

    First, you say that "everything" went to the nursing home. I doubt that Mom deeded her house to the nursing home, so it is, most likely, still the property of her estate.

    The Pennsylvania agency responsible for determining how much Medicaid money was spent on your mother should have been notified. Inheritance taxes should have been calculated on the value of Mom's estate (house included). If Mom had a will and property left in her own name, the will should have been probated. And, to your question, the house would be subject to the Pennsylvania Estate Recovery laws.

    These are but a few of the issues you have remaining. Please consult with an elder law attorney to tie these loose ends up.

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  • What legal rights do I have how can I get her out of my home when she won't leave on her own

    My mother lives in my home. I need her out because of my health . She is 78 yes old . She I has health issues and on lot of meds. I have health issues and cannot physically emotion mentally take care of her. She is very manipulative self centers ...

    Joseph’s Answer

    As my colleague, Mr. Klenk, has observed, you are in a tough spot.

    Both attorneys have given you the appropriate legal remedies. However, there are other options available to you other than seeking the assistance of a court to have your ailing mother evicted under force of law.

    Might I gently suggest another approach? It seems that you don't need legal assistance so much as you really could use some family support. Is it possible for you to seek the assistance of one of your siblings, or, perhaps one of your mother's siblings, to assist and support you to ease your mother into a separate residence, be it assisted living or some other type of residential arrangement?

    In the event that you can't get any help from family, I see that you live in Hanover, which is in York County, the last time I checked. If family can't or won't become involved, you should place a call to the York County Area Agency on Aging. That Agency is equipped to deal with difficult situations involved with the elderly, and perhaps they can help you.

    At any rate, please know that you are not alone. There are people out there who can help you. I wish you the best.

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  • What can I do to receive a share of my fathers settlement?

    My sister is my fathers executor of his will i am on the will, my father started a lawsuit and my sister finished it. According to the will my sister is to receive everything left after distribution of will. Being that we just won fathers settleme...

    Joseph’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues in that 1) you need to find an attorney to interpret the will, and 2) you've given us conflicting information.

    You say that you're "on the will" but there's no way we can tell what that means. If you are named to receive something, then you should receive what you're named to receive. If, however, if you are named with your sister to share what's left after all the other gifts, if any, in the will are given out, then you should receive that share.

    Again, a skilled lawyer should be able to tell you what your dad intended.

    I join with Ms. Stewart in offering you my condolences for the loss of dad.

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  • Is there a form to submit to a Orphan's Court in Pennsylvania to object to the appointment of a administrator of a estate ?

    I need to petition a Pennsylvania Orphan's Court to have a hearing to object to the appointment of an administrator of the estate for my late brother's estate. I can not find a form to submit to the court on the P.A. Judiciary website. Is there su...

    Joseph’s Answer

    I'm really glad you asked this question because it points out a misconception which most of the public has regarding estate planning documents and court papers.

    Although there are things about both types of documents which may be the same from time to time, it is a mistake to consider all such papers as "forms." In no way are these documents to be considered as containing only boilerplate which does not change from case to case.

    There are a number of things which must be considered in putting together a legal document or a court paper:
    1. The facts do matter.
    2. The governing law does matter.
    3. The Rules of Procedure concerning what type of document to file and how and when it is to be filed are also critically important.

    You're writing to us from Easton, which is a jurisdiction governed not only by the Northampton County Local Orphans Court Rules as well as the Pennsylvania Orphans Court Rules. Not only must papers filed in that jurisdiction conform to these rules, but they must plead facts sufficient to convince a judge that he or she should issue a Decree granting what you want. I hate to be blunt, but this is the type of stuff which laypeople have a tough time understanding. You're obviously intelligent in that you checked a website to see what to do, but unfortunately your search disclosed only the tip of the iceberg, and it's probably the wrong iceberg to boot. What you want to accomplish takes more than intelligence--it takes knowledge and skill, not to mention experience.

    As Mr. Zelinger aptly said, you don't want to "torpedo" your case by doing the wrong thing the wrong way. You would be best served by working with a lawyer experienced in doing this stuff.. The internet is a wonderful tool, but it doesn't have all the answers. Please do yourself a favor and find a lawyer to help you.

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  • Last Will and Testament / Probate / Power of Attorney

    My family is really distraught. My Uncle passed away this week and no one knew except by obituary. Seems that a neighbor of his was his power of attorney, he transferred his property to them a few months before the POA, was emptying his bank accou...

    Joseph’s Answer

    I see that you and Ms. Stewart are both in Pittsburgh.

    You don't need legal advice from us on AVVO. While it's nice to get advice in this forum, it doesn't move the ball. You need action, and soon, before your uncle's neighbor spends the assets and there is nothing left to claim, if, in fact, this is a claim worth pursuing.

    Ms. Stewart has giving advice on AVVO for at least as long as I have. Through that time, I've become a real fan of the advice she gives. I believe her to be one of the best in this Commonwealth at what she does. To put it bluntly, if I had the problem which you have described to us here and I lived in Pittsburgh, I would be contacting Ms. Stewart for the free consultation which she is offering to you.

    And no, I don't receive a dime from anyone for making this recommendation. I'm only suggesting as forcefully as I can that you need to know whether your case is one worth pursuing--and you need to know fast.

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