Q: I am being court ordered to sign my half of 2 vehicles I own with my mom who is deemed incapacitated. The court fined me $2000.00 for a contempt charge I should be able to purge. The court did not state any statute or Pa. Code in the order. To me this is a seizure of property unjustly. The guardian of the estate wants the title signed and if I don’t there will be more sanctions. This seems to be illegal seizure of property. The court is saying if I sign over two vehicles to the estate ( not the court) then the fine is vacated. I could sell my half for more than the fine and pay it that way, but PennDOT says if I sign the title there is not much that can be done. Does this court order have to cite a pa code or statue allowing this title being taken from me? PennDOT has never done this before.
A: Not sure what is going on with your situation. My guess is that you are in Orphan’s Court and an Orphan’s Court judge ordered you to sign back over property which he or she believes, and opposing counsel as well , that you misappropriated from an estate? I think you are fighting a losing battle, without me researching this issue to be certain. Generally, Orphan’s Court is a Court of Equity and can order titled to be changed, deeds to be changed and property awarded to a party or an estate. For a definitive answer one would need to research the equitable powers of an Orphan’s Court judge and get a grip on the details of your situation.
Q: Both my father and stepmother were admitted into the hospital 2/5/2017. His blood/sugar level was at 900, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia and gets more confused every day. His wife has had Parkinson’s for 20 years, which has recently been getting worse. They’re about 80 years old. My stepmother is supposed to make all the decisions regarding my father’s health and finances, but she’s deferring most of those decisions to her son. My family wants my sister to have joint power of attorney with my stepbrother regarding my father’s health and finances and regarding any joint assets belonging to my dad and stepmother. My stepbrother says that’s fine with him, but has yet to do it. Instead he’s closed my father’s checking and savings accounts, is putting their house on the market and will not disclose any financial information. We’re afraid she’s planning to divorce our father and leave him broke in a substandard nursing home. My sister and I don’t live in the same city as our father. They live in Pittsburgh. My sister lives in Erie, I live in California and the stepbrother lives just north of Pittsburgh. What rights do we have in this situation to protect our father? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: That is a tough situation. You need to do some investigating quickly. You can call Adult Protective Services to assess him. Your sister may benefit greatly from consulting with an elder law attorney in Pittsburgh. It may be advisable to have her appointed Guardian of your father by the Orphan’s Court.
Q: I was given guardianship of my niece and no longer want it. I believe she is better with her mother and I want to give my sister back full guardianship of her child.
A: I would consult with an attorney with whom you could share all the information needed for someone to thoroughly respond to this question. Was this a guardianship through Orphan’s Court or Family Court? It matters as the procedure to transfer guardianship to someone else would be different. In any event, you will need to petition the court, either Family Court or Orphan’s Court assuming that an order of court placed her with you.