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Stephen M. Asbel

Stephen M. Asbel

Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP
  • Estate Planning, Business Law, Real Estate Law
  • New Jersey, Pennsylvania
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Education
Villanova University
J.D. | Law
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University of Pennsylvania
B.A. | International Relations
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Honors: Cum Laude, Distinction in Major, Pi Gamma Mu Social Science Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society
Activities: Penn Band, College Bowl
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Professional Experience
Partner
Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP
Current
Publications
Articles & Publications
Why You Should Pre-Plan Your Funeral
Client Alert
Protecting Your Will and Other Documents from Potential Challenges by Angry Relatives
Client Alert
Mark Twain was Wrong – New Land is Being Made But Who Owns It?
Client Alert
Speaking Engagements
Interviewed on Safe Money Radio
WDEL 1150 AM
September 2013
Awards
Boutique Estate Planning
Corporate INTL Global Awards
2017-2019
Top Lawyers
Main Line Today
Top Estate Planning and Administration Attorneys List
Suburban Life Magazine
Distinguished Peer Rated for High Professional Achievement with High Ethical Standing
Martindale-Hubbell®
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney in Estate Planning Law
Lead Counsel
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney in Probate Law
Lead Counsel
Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals
Who's Who
Professional Associations
Philadelphia Estate Planning Council
member
Current
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Delaware County Panel of Attorneys for Arbitrators
Member
Current
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Delaware County Bar Association
Member
- Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New Jersey
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Pennsylvania
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U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
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U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
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Fees
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Practice Areas
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
    Business Law
    Business Contracts, Business Dissolution, Business Finance, Business Formation, Business Litigation, Franchising, Mergers & Acquisitions, Partnership & Shareholder Disputes
    Real Estate Law
    Commercial Real Estate, Condominiums, Easements, Eminent Domain, Homeowners Association, Land Use & Zoning, Mortgages, Neighbor Disputes, Residential Real Estate, Water Law
Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Legal Answers
Q. Am I legally required probate husband's will if he left entire estate to me ?
A: If both you and your husband's name are on the deeds for these properties, then your ownership probably was "tenancy by the entireties" - a form of ownership for married couples under which when one spouse dies, the suriving spouse becomes the sole owner by survivorship. The exception would be if the deed contained language saying that you and your husband had a different type of ownership such as a "tenancy in common." Assuming that the deed does not have such wording stating a different form of ownership so that it is tenancy by the entireties, you do not need to probate your husband's will to sell these properties. To know for certain what form of ownership you have, I suggest you have the deeds reviewed by an attorney with experience in this area.
Q. My grandfather left his house to me in his will ,so after the reading of the will can I change the locks on the house
A: The short answer is no. The house must pass through the estate administration. The executor must first ensure that your grandfather's debts, if any are addressed, that the administrative expenses of the estate are paid, and the required inheritance tax and any other tax obligations that may exist are addressed. Payment of all of these obligations must be addressed before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries named in the Will. Assuming all of those obligations are met, then the executor would transfer the house from the estate to you if that is what the WIll calls for. So you will need to wait a bit for the administration to be carried out before you can start doing things like changing locks.
Q. Is common law marriage still able to apply when a couple has been together for more than 30 years and one of them dies?
A: Pennsylvania law says: "No common-law marriage contracted after January 1, 2005, shall be valid." If the couple were together since before 2005, there MAY be a common law marriage. However, validity of a common law marriage requires more than just living together for a certain period of years. There must be a mutual, openly expressed agreement by the two individuals that they wish to be and are married. They must publicly hold themselves out as being married. When one of the individuals is deceased, evaluation of whether or not a common law marriage existed must look to various facts and circumstances of how they conducted themselves. Such factors can include, but are not necessarily limited to: Did they file taxes jointly as a married couple? Were they covered under the same health insurance plan as a married couple? Did they introduce themselves to others as being married? Did they financially run their household as a single unit - such as having joint bank accounts, shopping for food and supplies as a single household unit etc.? The existence or non-existence of any one factor does not by itself determine whether or not there is a common law marriage but rather the totality of circumstances must be examined. Such cases are very fact specific and judges long disliked having to make such determinations. The uncertainty surrounding common law marriage was an important factor in the decision to abolish them effective after January 1, 2005.
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Websites & Blogs
Website
Stephen M. Asbel's Website Profile
Website
Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP Website
Contact & Map
Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP
Philadelphia, PA
Cira Centre, 13th Floor
2929 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: (215) 495-6500
Fax: (215) 495-6600