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Douglas L. Kaune
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Douglas Kaune’s Answers

64 total

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

    Does each CD become the property of each child for the full amount or does the estate get 1/2 of the CD and the child get the other half?

    Douglas’s Answer

    I suppose, as pointed out by Jay, I should have added the disclaimer that my response above is only generally the case. However, there could be other issues at law in your case that would cause the jointly owned assets to be treated in a way other than their ownership designation would warrant warrant on its face and thus causing them to be added to the probate estate. There is no way for me to make that determination from the facts provided and you should therefore discuss your facts more fully with an experience attorney.

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

    Does each CD become the property of each child for the full amount or does the estate get 1/2 of the CD and the child get the other half?

    Douglas’s Answer

    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 be subject to inheritance tax. You must also determine who is responsible for paying the tax. If there is a will and there are other probate assets you should check to see if the will holds the estate responsible for paying the tax on ALL taxable assets whether probate or non-probate in nature.

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

    Is that possible...I thought when setting up a 401K, you are required to have a beneficiary?

    Douglas’s 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 having the estate named as a beneficiary might be the resulting income tax ramifications. If the estate is the beneficiary, there will be little to no continued income tax deferral for those assets. It is important to consult an accountant ASAP in this regard.

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  • What are the criteria for division of assets the day one spouse enters a nursing home?

    What are the criteria for division of assets the day one spouse enters a nursing home, and the other remains in an indpendent living community? How would a Mutual fund that was recently converted (within one year of the spouse entering a nursing...

    Douglas’s Answer

    Generally speaking the marital assets would include jointly owned accounts, individual no IRA accounts, IRA accounts in the nursing care resident's name, life insurance cash value, stocks, mutual funds, bonds and other like accounts. Excluded items would include among other things, a house where the community spouse lives or might live, IRA or 401k or other retirement account of community spouse, 1 car. There will be a calculation whereby the marital assets will have to spent down to the lesser of 1/2 of the marital assets or approximately $105,000 whichever is less. There are nuances in spending the funds that can serve to protect and use the available assets to the greatest extent possible. These should be explored with an experienced elder law attorney.

    The immediate annuity, assuming that it qualifies as actuarially sound, will be income and the income payments will be included in determining the community spouse's income level.

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  • Prudential life insurance stock

    A widow didn't have to open an estate for her husband. Trying to get the shares transfered to her name thru Computershares ran into a problem they need a medallion stamp from a bank. The banks will not put the stamp on the form for her because th...

    Douglas’s Answer

    If the prudential stock is in the decedent's name alone, it might be necessary for someone to be appointed executor or administrator of the estate to sell or transfer the shares. Typically, someone must be formally appointed by the Register of Wills in the county of the decedent's residence to transact on a decedent's assets. There are some exceptions of course, but this does not seem to be one. You should talk to the legal department at Computershare or Prudential shareholder services for exact transfer/sale requirements in the case of a decedent's estate. This will help you determine the next steps toward resolution.

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  • My Mom passed away in Dec. 08 in PA. As Executrix of the will, I would like some advise as to probating the will. Her estate is

    very small and her liquid assets will surely take care of her debts with little left over. 1. Should I open an estate account? 2. We share a check/saving account with a balance of about $1000. 3. She died in Butler county in a hospice, and h...

    Douglas’s Answer

    I would like to answer a few of your questions and hopefully the answers will give you an idea of how to proceed.

    Probate would be established where her primary residence was located. The real question is whether she established Butler County as primary residence or if it was just intended to be temporary.

    Probate is required to access assets in your mother's name alone. If there are no such assets then you might not need to probate the will. It is important for you to make this initial determination because one the probate process is initiated you will be required to perform certain tasks and pay certain fees that you could possibly have avoided.

    Even if there are assets in your mother's name alone you should decide if it is prudent to probate the estate. If the expenses are definitely greater than the assets you might determine that the process might be cost prohibitive. It would then be up to the creditors to go after the estate assets separately.

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

    When a yong adult dies without a will, who inherits their assets when the parents are divorced

    Douglas’s Answer

    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.

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  • PA probate laws and procedures

    my mother-in law passed away christmas eve and my husband is an only child and is the executer of the will. She left the house and properties to him. There is nobody to contest the will, there are only my husband, myself and our underage daughter....

    Douglas’s Answer

    The PA Inheritance Tax Return filing deadline is 9 months after the date of death. You can also apply for a 6 month extension during which interest will accrue on any unpaid portion of the tax ultimately due. A penalty will be applied for any tax paid after the extension period. The executor can also pay an estimate of the tax within 3 months after the date of death and have 5% credit added onto the amount paid. Any remaining balance can be paid at the time the Inheritance Tax Return is filed. Any overpayment will be returned after the Inheritance Tax Return is filed.
    Technically, the Inheritance Tax Return can be filed anytime after the date of death. That being said, the Executor/Administrator must be very careful that all assets, expenses and debts have been determined before filing the tax return. If assets, expenses or debts are later discovered the Executor/Administrator will have to file a supplemental tax return. This could cause additional expense and time delay for the estate.

    Doug Kaune - 610-933-8069

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  • Probation and distribution of Estate

    Are adult blood children from a first marriage entitled to any portion of their father's estate is everything has been willed to the 2nd wife?

    Douglas’s Answer

    It is unlikely that the surviving children would be entitled to a portion of the decedent's probate estate. Assuming the father's will is valid, he was mentally capable of creating a will and was not coerced to sign the will it should serve to distribute his assets. State law will prevail so make sure to confirm this in your jurisdiction. Additionally, the father either might have owned most or all of his assets jointly with the surviving spouse or might have named her a beneficiary on things like insurance and IRA's. The transfer by joint ownership and beneficiary designation would take precedence over the contents of the will.

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