Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
concernedson

Short cerificate

Recommended Posts

State of PA - My father recently passed away and my mother is still alive. By rights my mother is now the owner of all assets that were my fathers. My mother is of sane state of mind, but my siblings are trying to say she is incompetent. Would they be able to get a short certificate to take over her assets without her knowledge of them doing so?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

concernedson said...

By rights my mother is now the owner of all assets that were my fathers.

Why are you so certain? Did they own everything jointly with right of survivorship? Did he have a will that left all his assets to her?

concernedson said...

Would they be able to get a short certificate to take over her assets without her knowledge of them doing so?

A short certificate is an abbreviated form of the letters testamentary issued to the personal representative of a probate estate. The short certificate is evidence that the personal representative has legal authority granted by the probate court to enter into transactions on behalf of the probate estate. One does not obtain a short certificate without opening a probate proceeding and being appointed by the court to administer the estate.

Given that, it is completely irrelevant to the question of her competence. Even if she were incompetent, she is entitled to whatever assets she is entitled to.

If they feel that she is not competent, they would have to initiate a proceeding to establish a guardianship for your mother, during which she would have the opportunity to prove her competence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Do I, as a son, have the right to view my fathers will? My mother has not even seen it yet..."

Two things:

1) Once the will is filed for probate, it is available at the Orphans' Court/Register of Wills for anybody to view.

2) Within 90 days of someone being appointed by the court as the personal representative/administrator, that person is required to send a notice of the appointment to interested parties, including:

"Every person, corporation, association, entity, or other party named in decedent's Will as an outright beneficiary, whether individually or as a class member; " and,

"The spouse, children or other intestate heirs of the decedent, as determined under Chapter 21 of the PEF Code. "

Who has custody of the will?

"Wouldn't my mother be aware/involved if the estate went into probate?"

As noted above, she should receive notice. Involvement depends. If she is not appointed as the estate's personal representative/administrator, her involvement could be minimal.

The Philadelphia Bar has a pretty good handbook about probate. Some of it may be particular to Philadelphia County, but most is applicable to all PA counties:

http://www.peph.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'd "report" violations to the probate court (or rather your mother would), and this isn't a DIY project.

There are detail gaps in your posts. If your mom knows there's a will leaving everything to her but nominating *someone else* to act as executor, if you've checked with the probate court and no one has filed it yet and sought formal appt./confirmation from court in the form of a letter of testamentary, then she ought to talk with a local estate-probate attorney about filing a motion to compel production of the will.

Stuff that they owned jointly with right of survivorship or on which she was named pay/transfer on death beneficiary (like life insurance) would pass outside the probate estate by operation of contract or title.


Tell your mom to seek local estate-probate counsel if necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

concernedson said...

By rights my mother is now the owner of all assets that were my fathers.

I'm not sure what you mean by "by rights." I guess we're supposed to assume that your mother and father were married at the time of your father's death. However, even if that is correct, your father could have willed a portion of his assets to persons other than your mother. And, if he didn't have a will, his estate would be divided between his surviving spouse and children.

concernedson said...

My mother is of sane state of mind, but my siblings are trying to say she is incompetent.

First of all, I'm not really sure what "trying to say" means in this context. Second, unless any of you are trained mental health professional, your opinions about her mental competency are largely meaningless.

concernedson said...

Would they be able to get a short certificate to take over her assets without her knowledge of them doing so?

I have no idea what a "short certificate" is, but I cannot imagine any court would issue anything that would allow your siblings to "take over" your mother's assets without your mother receiving some sort of notice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After having read through this entire thread, it seems fairly clear to me that you are operating under a serious lack of knowledge/information. You refer to "violations" and "misconduct," but you haven't told us anything that suggests anyone is doing anything improperly. In fact, you haven't provided a single fact with respect to what your siblings are doing (all you've said is that they are "trying to say" that your mother is incompetent).

If you want to act on your mother's behalf and she wants you to do so, I would strongly encourage you to consult with a local probate attorney. If your mother shares your concerns, she should do likewise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

harrylime said...

Did they own everything jointly with right of survivorship?

If the parents' owned assets in Pennsylvania, those would almost certainly be tenancy by the entirety (TBE) property rather than jointly owned with a right of survivorship (JTWROS). TBE has the same requirements as joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, except that it adds one more: that the joint owners are married. At death, the effect is the same in that the deceased owner's interest passes immediately to the surviving owner. Thus, the difference is not really meaningful for the poster's question. But it can make a difference with respect to other issues. As I recall, PA law assumes property owned jointly by spouses is TBE unless some other form of ownership (e.g. tenancy in common) is specified, but the poster's mother may wish to confirm that if there is any uncertainty in how any particular asset was held.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a lawyer, but be VERY careful who you get.

They all have a good pitch with the first meeting promising you the world and lauding their "abilities." They want to lock you in with an agreement

Most are incompetent clowns whose real goal is racking up hours rather than getting things straightened out. They will often screw up just enough, but within "reasonable", or not do enough, to ensure things are protracted.

Start interviewing and ask lots of questions. But keep in mind, lawyers are professional liars. Their job is to lie or bend the truth when needed to get what they want.

Your course of action is very simple

As an earlier poster said, find the Will first. I would guess your mom would be the one to know of its existence, assuming she is coherent.

No Will? Then it's intestacy and laws are firmly in place.

I had a contest in NJ that was prolonged needlessly and gnawed on endlessly by every shark who got in the tank. They were all looking to see what they could get first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what was the violation?

answer:

The violation is my brother scammed my mom. He got her 2 sign a

piece of paper, I believe he got my sister 2 notarize the paper without

my moms knowledge. She didn't know she was denouncing her right as an

executrix. He went 2 the reg.of wills where he obtained a short

certificate. He also went to and through the safe deposit box without an officer present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ultimately, not being executor doesn't really have a meaningful effect on anything. Heirs are free to keep tabs on what the administrator is doing and, via the probate court, hold them accountable for wrongdoing. Having your mother sign something saying she has no interest in serving as administrator isn't precisely a "scam", and she was free not to sign anything with which she didn't agree.

If the sister is a notary, someone is free to report her to the licensing authority and advise that she's notarizing documents after someone has signed them, which she isn't supposed to do. She's supposed to witness their signature as it happens.

"He also went to and through the safe deposit box without an officer present."

The bank doesn't have to have a policy of accompanying a box holder (or someone authorized to act on behalf of a box holder's estate). If someone's concerned that something of value was inside the box and brother took it, well, that's a matter to address with the probate court.

Bottom line is mom/whomever is a party in interest should seek local estate-probate counsel.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ajedad said...

Most are incompetent clowns whose real goal is racking up hours rather

than getting things straightened out. They will often screw up just

enough, but within "reasonable", or not do enough, to ensure things are

protracted.

Start interviewing and ask lots of questions. But keep

in mind, lawyers are professional liars. Their job is to lie or bend the

truth when needed to get what they want.

I'm sorry that you had bad experiences with the lawyers with whom you dealt in an estate matter. But it's absolutely not true that most lawyers are "incompetent clowns" or that lawyers are "professional liars." There are certainly bad lawyers out there, but most do their best to practice competently and serve their clients well. Those who don't ultimately end up with lousy practices from bad word of mouth or worse, suspended or disbarred. You are correct that someone looking to retain a lawyer should take care in who he or she selects, just as you should in selecting any other professional (doctor, dentist, accountant, or whatever).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Harrylime don't you have a response to my last comment? please?"

Regarding your brother opening probate and being appointed as the probate estate's personal representative, I pretty much echo Fallen's comments. The personal representative does not have carte blanche to do whatever he/he feels like doing. It is true that, after the opening of probate and appointment of the personal representative, the court hopes not to see the the personal representative again until it is time to make the final asset distribution and close the estate. But, the court is there if an interested party feels that they are injured by the personal representative's actions.

Of course, if you mother feels that she was deceived into waiving her right to appointment as the personal representative, she is free to petition the court to re-consider.

I'll only add:

If your siblings goal is to "say she is incompetent" and "take over her assets," opening probate for your father's estate is a very strange way of pursuing that end.

I do have to add a caveat to the question of the safe deposit box. A number of states get quite "antsy" about who has what access to the deceased's safe deposit box. Pennsylvania is one of those states - mainly because there is too much temptation to stash cash/valuables in the box and have someone clean it out to dodge PA's inheritance tax. But, if I remember correctly, any penalties for allowing unauthorized access run to the financial institution. I don't believe that brother accessing the box would be grounds for removal as personal representative unless it can be shown that he is not including any contents in the estate inventory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have found that my mom was renounced as poa .. she is hurt and angry. Is there a way to revoke my brother's power and get it back to my mom (and get her stuff back)? We (mom & I) do have an appt with attorney on Monday but are hoping to get some advance information. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difficulty with this entire thread is trying to figure out what you are talking about.

"We have found that my mom was renounced as poa..."

No idea what this means. A "poa" usually means Power of Attorney. And a Power of Attorney has nothing to do with a will, probate, the appointment of a personal representative, etc.

"Was renounced" is the passive voice and indicates that someone else did something. Are you referring to your mother waiving the right to be appointed as the your father's estate's personal representative?

"...(and get her stuff back)?"

What stuff? Who took it? This is the first time that you indicated that someone took anything belonging to your mother.

"Is there a way to revoke my brother's power..."

There is always a way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...