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Questions Answered by Nina Whitehurst
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Mom passed with a handwritten but unwitnessed will. I "thought" I had engaged a lawyer. But he does not call me back

It's been 3 months. The main thing I remember him saying is "if there is no will, there is no reason to open a probate". What does that mean? If I engage another lawyer can he bill me?

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 27, 2022

You can always hire another attorney but when you do, be sure to let the first attorney know that he has been fired so he does not keep working on your file (assuming he is working on it). As a general rule, attorneys cannot bill for services NOT provided, but there are subtle exceptions. Your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: If we had a revocable trust in California and then moved to Tualatin, Oregon to we have to make a new one ??
Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 27, 2022

There is no law that compels you to make a new trust when you move to another state. However, it is highly advisable to have your entire estate plan (will, trust, powers of attorney, advance directives, etc.) reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney in the new state. This is because... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I am the last surviving member of my family, do I need to share my inheritance with my parents grandchildren?
Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 19, 2022

Your question cannot be answered without seeing a family tree (for example, do they have grandchildren who are not your children?), your parents' wills, knowing who passed first (mom or dad) and knowing the nature of their assets as separate property or community property, all of which is to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Illinois on
Q: Is there state and federal laws for a trust/ estate. I have found the state laws but I can't find federal laws on it
Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 14, 2022

Oh my, yes, there are a TON of federal statutes that impact trust planning, too many to list. You will find a great deal in the Internal Revenue Code and also Title 42. That is not necessarily a complete list, but it is where a great many exist, and it is a good start.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning on
Q: Can my brother make my mom move out of condo? He is POA and we both own condo, which used to be hers. She is 96and lucid

Brother has Parkinson’s and he wants to move with wife who makes all decisions. I live in another state and I am visiting mom. She is ambulatory, cleans condo except to vacumn which she has help and gets groceries for her. My mom converses well, but does have a few moments of forgetfulness.... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 11, 2022

If you own half the condo they can’t sell it without either your signature or a court order.

Your brother cannot force your mother to move. That is a crime called kidnapping. The exception would be if he had guardianship over her, but your facts did not say that.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: When splitting up the money left in an estate, how do I take out judgements against beneficiaries paid by the estate?

I have 2 siblings, both of which had separate judgements paid off by the estate when we sold the family farm. The siblings along with myself were listed as co-owners of the estate when my dad passed, so the judgements had to be paid before any funds from the sale were released. I shouldn't... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 8, 2022

Take the net proceeds of the sale and add back the amounts of the judgements that were paid, then divide that sum by the number of equal shares. Each beneficiary’s share is that quantity less the amount of judgements paid on his or her behalf.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: State of California can a sole trustee be sole beneficiary?

The trust doesn’t state my daughter as sole beni

Beneficiary the trust was made to care for mysel I was in an accident. Her attorney now is saying if my daughter wanted to give me a dollar she could my daughters the only one benefiting from my moms trust and those were not my moms wishes

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 8, 2022

Yes, most of the time, but there are some very important exceptions. More information is needed to answer your question.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: IF THERE ARE CERTAIN ITEMS IN A DECEASED PERSONS HOUSE OR ESTATE DOES OWNERSHIP OF THOSE ITEMS GO BACK TO THE PERSON WHO

BOUGHT AND GAVE THOSE ITEMS AS GIFTS, OR DO THOSE ITEMS REMAIN AS PART OF THE ESTATE PROPERTY. MY SISTER AND I ARE BOTH EXEC. AS WELL AS 50 / 50 ON THE ESTATE. SHE THINKS SHE GETS EVERYTHING SHE HAS

EVER BOUGHT AND GIVEN MY PARENTS OVER THE YEARS. SOME OF IT FROM 20 TO 30 YEARS AGO. TO ME... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 7, 2022

Gifts transfer ownership of the gifted item from the giver to the recipient(s). Items your sister gave her parents belong in their estates. They do not automatically go back to her. If she wants those items back, then they would come out of her share of the estate.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Can a Succ. trustee, who is also a beneficiary, file an objection to the trust and still serve as trustee?

If so would they need a separate attorney or would the trust attorney do it for them.

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 4, 2022

A Trustee is duty bound to administer the trust as it is written, just like an Executor is obligated to administer a Will as written. The Trustee or Executor may petition a court for instructions if there is something about the trust or will that is unclear, but if he wants to challenge a trust or... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado on
Q: Hello, does my POA for my mom allow me to open a trust account for her at a bank? Thanks,
Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 26, 2022

Nobody will be able to answer your question without reviewing the POA. Not all POAs are alike.

You can use the Find a Lawyer function to search for an attorney in your area.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Oregon on
Q: My dad named me on his living trust. Lawyer says I'm getting nothing. Can I be named not to get anything
Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 11, 2022

Yes that is entirely possible. It could be because the estate is insolvent. Or you might have been intentionally disinherited.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: In an A/B trust, can the surviving spouse draw from the principal balance of the Bypass Trust?

Bypass trust states that trust income is payable to surviving spouse, but does not mention principal. Bypass trust was funded with 81% of a property. The property was sold and funds placed in a brokerage account. The brokerage account is now at about half the value of the original allocation. Can... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 9, 2022

It is not possible to answer your question without reading the trust. They are not all the same. You should schedule a consultation with a trust administration attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Elder Law, Probate and White Collar Crime for California on
Q: My mother is 93 and suffers from dementia.i'm 75 and six (6) years ago I completed a 30 plus year prison sentence.

I'm the oldest sibling, and I have three (3) brothers and one (1) sister. Approximately 10 years ago my Mother gave my sister what I believe is a limited power of attorney to manage her property and assets. I was born in Dayton, Ohio. A few years after authorizing the above-noted power of... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 7, 2022

A fiduciary litigation attorney can help you attempt to get someone else appointed as conservator for your mother, and the conservator can sue your sister to get stolen money and assets back.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate on
Q: I need a good probate / estate attorney.

I am one of 4 heirs to property with two houses on it. I was living in my deceased father’s downstairs home for a year. When I left to visit my son for Christmas, my sister who lived upstairs, moved herself, her husband and her daughter into the bottom house, leaving her 23 yr old son to live... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 7, 2022

You did not say what state this is, and that can make a big difference. All a volunteer attorney can do is answer in terms of generalities. As a general rule, in many states NOBODY has the right to occupy the house between the date of death of the owner and the final distribution of the estate... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Q: Do I have to do an individual power of attorney for my parents.
Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 6, 2022

Not only do not have to, but you cannot. That is something that only your parents can do.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Probate for Kentucky on
Q: If there are three beneficiaries that inherited a farm to split equally, can it be sold with out all three agreeing?

My father passed away in 2020 living myself and my two sisters as beneficiaries. During the probate process all his assets were divided out between us and the real estate was stated that we all three own it. Last week my sister's put the real estate up for sale without my knowledge. I do not... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 2, 2022

They cannot sell without your signature. However, if you refuse to cooperate, they can bring a partition action against you to force a sale, and that will be very expensive, and the court fees and costs will come off the top or might even possibly be charged to you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My family owns a house and dont get along.

My grandmother owns %40, aunt %20, and they are trying to stop my 2 brothers who own %20 each from getting their %20 as they dont think they deserve it. Can they stop them in escrow or any other time from getting thier percentage after the sale of the house.

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jul 27, 2022

If the house truly is owned 4 ways, the seller and the escrow agent and the title insurer will (should) insist that either the sale proceeds check be made payable to all four, or they will issue 4 checks according the the percentages shown in the vesting.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Beneficiary passed away while estate taxes were being paid

I am executor of my father's estate. Most of the money has been dispersed and now that the taxes have been settled, the remainder can be given to the beneficiaries. My brother who is a beneficiary, passed away after the initial funds were distributed. My father's will reads that if any of... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jul 26, 2022

Your question cannot be answered without reviewing your father's will. One thing is certain - you should not take your nephew's word for what your brother's will says. You first need advice on whether there really is a provision in your father's will for who is to take your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My sister is trustee/beneficiary and she's living in a house thats in the trust rent free and wants to buy below market

The trust does not say she can do this. She wont make a disbursement until we sign off for the price she wants to buy it for. Everything gets split three ways. Its been over a year since the granter died. I feel she should be removed as trustee is this possible?

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jul 26, 2022

It does sound like your sister is breaching her fiduciary duties to the other trust beneficiaries. Yes, that is grounds to have her removed. Read the trust to see if there is a mechanism for removing her without going to court. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. If there is, then... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Washington on
Q: Does my dad's wife have the right to his house

My dad has will that states upon his death his wife is allowed reside in the house for one year. About a month ago she left him. She moved out and got her own apartment. My dad was then put in a home. She was his main caregiver. She is now quoting the will saying she has the right to the house for... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jul 26, 2022

The answer does depend entirely on the wording of the will and also on whether the will is accepted for probate. If the will is accepted for probate and says what she says it does then, yes, she has the right to occupy the house for a year. Some attorneys draft rights of occupancy in such a way... Read more »

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