Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

Question on an estate matter in Pennsylvania. Five siblings are the heirs and one of the heirs is Executor. A complication has arisen in that it was uncovered that the decedent had co-invested with one of the heirs in the purchase of that heir's primary residence. The Executor believes this co-investment is evidenced in the closing documents of the home purchase. How can these documents be obtained short of using the courts?

Asked on 5/28/15, 12:19 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Davidson Law Office of John A. Davidson

Well could ask for them. That said is there any documentation the decadent was to gain dome benefit from the "investment" or was it a gift?


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Answered on 5/29/15, 6:58 am

Let me get this straight - decedent "co-invested?" What exactly does this mean? An investment is not made in someone else's house. Funds are either loaned OR a gift. If decedent made a gift, then decedent's estate is not entitled to the money. If decedent made a loan, how was this referenced at all in the will? It should have been handled in the will - for example, decedent could have said loan is forgiven BUT the loan amount deducted from that heir's share of the estate.

If a loan, then there should have been loan documents or some evidence of repayment, like a cancelled check. If there is nothing then I don't see how you can avoid the courts. First, heir who got the property does not have to voluntarily consent. if that is the case, then a lawsuit will have to be filed against the heir and the documents can be subponaed. The lawsuit would be to recover loan proceeds into the estate.

Whose name is actually on the title to the land? That can be checked by going to the recorder/register of deeds office in the county where the land is located and looking at the title. If the land is solely in the name of the heir, then what makes the executor think this was anything other than a loan if there is NO documentation of any sort and no reference to it in the will? I don't see how the closing documents would help here. The only closing documents are an offer to purchase and any addendums to that. They do not reveal the source of the purchase funds in typical cases. So I don't know what the executor is doing.

Litigation is not for the faint hearted and it is not something to be attempted on one's own in a case like this. I strongly suggest that the executor of the estate sit down with an estate attorney to discuss this issue now. Unless you are an heir, I really do not see why you are concerned here. Any cause of action belongs to the estate. If the executor is somehow not doing his job, then you as a beneficiary would need to discuss this with our own lawyer.

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Answered on 5/29/15, 1:57 pm

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