Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

My mother passed away 2 years ago. I am her son and sole beneficiary. I took he will to the register of wills to become executor. There were no tax implications since her estate was small and I paid 15k for her funeral. I recently sold her condominium to the tune of 40k. The title company held 10k of the proceeds in escrow because I didn't close the estate properly. How long can they hold this money and how can I get the funds? Thanks in advance

Asked on 6/13/13, 8:52 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Solomon Weinstein Solomon Weinstein, Esquire

apparently you may not have filed an inheritance tax return or received clearance for Department of revenue inheitance tax bureau that no taxes are owed. Ask the escrow company what they need to release the funds then get the proper documentation. if you would like to discuss the matter further you may contact my office.

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Answered on 6/13/13, 9:06 am

You do not really indicate what happened here. You could not have closed the estate at all if you did not receive a notice of appraisal from the PA revenue department. However, if your mother died 2 years ago, I am surprised that the register of wills is not nagging you for status reports as to why the estate has not been closed.

Even if no taxes are owed to the IRS there are inheritance taxes to be paid by the estate and those would have been owed. The funeral expenses would be paid by the estate but if you paid them, you would file a claim and seek reimbursement. Since you are the only heir, I am not sure if it makes a whole lot of difference but reimbursing the funeral expenses will reduce the inheritance that you get and also reduce the percentage of taxes owed.

You really need to speak with a probate lawyer who practices in the county where the estate is pending. It would be worthwhile to pay the lawyer to review the file and see what has been done to date. If the estate was closed in error, it may need to be re-opened. If the estate is still open then inheritance tax returns would have to be filed; perhaps the probate attorney can assist with that if he/she also handles tax matters.

Once the estate is properly handled then you or the probate attorney can contact the escrow company and get the funds released.

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Answered on 6/13/13, 2:54 pm

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