Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Questions Answered by Nina Whitehurst
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Social Security for California on
Q: Mom is 78 and rec'v monthly Survivors Benefits from SS. She is a beneficiary for an IRA/401K. Will she lose her SS?

Her brother died, he was 75 and had no dependents. Mom is the next of Kin. She receives her deceased spouses SS Retirement benefits that started when she retired at 62. She was left to take care/close out his banking and found out he had a 401K and an IRA. She is a beneficiary on one and had to... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 14, 2021

It depends a great deal on what kind of benefits she is receiving. If she truly is receiving Social Security survivor RETIREMENT benefits, then the inheritance will not impact her benefits eligibility at all. If she is receiving something else, like SSI, the inheritance would impact her benefits... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Foreclosure for Iowa on
Q: If a property that was deeded to me prior to the death of the mortgage holder is being foreclosed on, am I responsible?

Is the estate holder responsible for the debt?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 12, 2021

You are not PERSONALLY responsible for paying the mortgage, but if you don’t pay it the lender can foreclose. Also, given that the decedent transferred the property to you prior to death, it is not part of his or her estate. The transfer removed the property from the decedent’s estate and was... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on
Q: How does inheriting a large sum of money work, our lawyer advised he cannot distribute the money for 72 hours

So my husband's lawyer advised the inheritance was deposited into a account set up by the lawyer but the lawyer cannot distribute or transfer to our personal account for 72 business hours. We have never dealt with something like this and I wanted to know if that sounds correct.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 12, 2021

That's really quick. I would usually require a 14-day hold before distributing funds out of any account that I control.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Q: Life Insurance where beneficiary is deceased

My father in law had a life insurance policy through his job. He had his wife listed as the beneficiary. She passed away last year and he passed away this year. He never changed the beneficiary. The paperwork we received ask for death certificates for both as well as heir information. The life... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 12, 2021

The answer it, it depends. Usually life insurance is NOT part of an insured decedent's estate. However, it can end up being part of an estate if there are no living death beneficiaries when the decedent died. If the life insurance policy listed your father-in-law's wife as his primary... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Ohio on
Q: My dad passed away and my step mom and step siblings took everything and left me and my brother (his biological children

My stepmom is terminally ill, has treated me and my brother poorly our whole life, has been transferring my dads items into their names over the years. My dad committed suicide and it’s still under investigation, not sure if he really did it, my stepsister and boyfriend found him. Cops didn’t... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 11, 2021

If your dad had no will, then you stand very good share of inheriting a portion of his estate. You should hire a local probate attorney to help you assert your right of inheritance.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Probate on
Q: What happens if beneficiary of a $150,000 RRIF don’t want to pay the taxes due on a deceased relative tax account?

I am the Executor of a family members estate. Our uncle indicated in his will that all moneys, assets will be equally distributed to his 3 nieces. He also had three RRIF’s naming each niece a beneficiary to each RRIF. The uncle died with dementia before changing the beneficiary of the only... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 8, 2021

That may have been poor planning on your uncle’s part, but the niece who was the designated beneficiary has no legal obligation to share. The presumption is that is what your uncle intended. If she is inclined to voluntarily share, she should first consult with an attorney about possible tax... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I am 50/50 owner of a house My brother lives in now am i able to move in at anytime since i am 50 owner to in California

just found out i was part owner, brother kept trust from me.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 8, 2021

You are entitled to a copy of the trust agreement. If you do not already have a copy you should demand one from your brother. An attorney can help you draft a stern letter to your brother about this and about his fiduciary duties to you. Then read it and see what it says about what was to be done... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on
Q: What can be done if executor refuses to probate will in Texas?

The executor doesn’t want to probate the will because he wants to live in the house of his deceased stepdad. He is not paying the mortgage. All beneficiaries listed in the will want to sell the home to close out the estate. We don’t know what to do.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 6, 2021

Any of the other beneficiaries can open a probate court and petition the court to be appointed executor. The court does not have to appoint the executor nominated in the will if that person refuses to act. If the person in possession of the will refuses to turn it over to the court, the court can... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Someone left me an estate. There is a bank account. Do i have any right to it

The account has no one else on it but i am the inheritor, am i entitled to the money from that account.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 6, 2021

If you are the sole beneficiary of the will, and if the account had no designated death beneficiary, then yes you are entitled to the account. There is a legal process required to claim it. A probate attorney can help you with this.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Alabama on
Q: Does a POA have to be signed to be valid? We signed the assignment section & notarized but didn't sign back page.

My brother has ALS. He cannot sign the POA back page. He signed the 1st page in 2019. It was notarized and we just simply skipped right over the back page signature. Is it valid?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 6, 2021

It is difficult to answer this question without seeing the instrument itself, but as a general rule an in signed POA is not valid. If your brother still has mental capacity, however, he can “sign” a new one using a legal process whereby he authorizes and directs someone else to sign for him. An... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: On March 31st my fiance passed away and her daughters are coming through the house throwing stuff away

Like it was their own stuff now I've been here for 7 years living in this house though we were never married do they have a legal right to come in this house when there is no last will or a will written out saying that the house belongs to them? Or do I get the house?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 4, 2021

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your fiancé had no will, then you did not inherit anything. Your fiancé‘s children most likely are the sole heirs of everything she owned. That said, they most certainly do not have the right to barge in and start taking things until the court has... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on
Q: Can a personal representative in Michigan transfer property to himself?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 3, 2021

This question cannot be answered without a thorough review of all of the relevant facts and the probate case file. This is a question that you should ask the attorney representing you in the probate case.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Georgia on
Q: what is the charge for a revocable trust and will?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 23, 2021

There is no standard rate for estate planning, and every estate plan is different, so fees can vary quite dramatically. The only way to find out is to consult with actual estate planning attorneys in your area.

I would also caution you not to be penny wise and pound foolish. You get what...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Maine on
Q: I have no heirs and would like ideas as to how I might plan for my house and property and savings once I am gone.

I'm not interested in donating to huge charities whose CEOs earn 6-figure salaries.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 23, 2021

Think about younger friends or neighbors that you might want to surprise with a little windfall when you pass. Someone whose kindness you would like to repay.

Also consider local charities, like your church or the local animal rescue society or the local hospice. The local charities...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Civil Rights and Probate for Texas on
Q: I have been paying a mortgage that's in my mother-in-law s name for 22 years, my common law husband of 27 yrs died.

The family wants me out. What can I do

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 22, 2021

You have essentially been paying rent all of those years. Yes, chances are you are going to have to move out. You should schedule a consultation with an unlawful detainer attorney to see if there are any eviction moratoriums in place that might help you get more time.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Texas on
Q: My husband and I moved into the house his mom got the loan for , I've been paying the mortgage for 22 years,

My husband died. Can I still claim this house? Or does the person that's on the deed kick me out

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 22, 2021

More facts are needed. You did not say how title is vested right now.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Georgia on
Q: How can we trigger an automatic gift of assets if we become an ex-parte ward of the state?

My spouse and I’ve been reading about how malicious guardians take advantage of people using ex-parte orders to become legal guardians and then drain the estate.

We’re planning to make a comprehensive durable power of attorney document giving POA to our children and other family... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 20, 2021

A will only controls disposition of assets after the maker of the will passes. You will need a trust to accomplish what you want, and you will need to transfer your assets to the trust. This is a long way from being a do-it-yourself project. You should hire an estate planning attorney to help you.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Realty Trust and/or Family Trust?

My wife and I have 1 single home jointly owned, and a 2-unit rental in my name only (had it since before marriage). We agreed, since we have no kids, after we’re gone, our inheritance goes to my nephews and niece. Wills have been drawn up, if I go first she gets all, the same if she goes first... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 19, 2021

This is a very common concern and there are definitely ways to solve this problem, but this is not a do-it-yourself project. You should hire an estate planning attorney to help you with this. The attorney will explain to you the pros and cons of the various solutions.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Alabama on
Q: My aunt passed away recently and left no Will. She was never married and had no children.

My aunt had 2 brothers and 1 sister, also all deceased. The siblings all had children. My cousin (the daughter of the sister) met with an attorney in Millbrook, who advised that since her aunt had no will, they could probate the matter using her aunt's father's Will. Her aunt's... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 18, 2021

You didn’t say where the probate case is, but what you need to do is hire a probate attorney there to assist you. Any attorney who says that an estate can be administered using someone else’s will is not to be trusted because that simply is not true. Do not delay because there are deadlines... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Georgia on
Q: My niece wants a car currently in probate. My mom is the sole heir to the estate. How do I handle this as executor?

My dad died in GA and his classic car is in probate. According to the will, my mom is the sole heir of the estate. I have not been able to find a buyer for the car (mom doesn't drive and has Alzheimer's). Mom's house sold and is going to closing shortly so the car needs to be... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 18, 2021

There are a few different ways to accomplish this but you simply distributing the car directly to your niece from your dad’s estate is not one of them. One option is your niece could purchase the car from the estate for fair market value. Another option is distribute the car to the sole heir,... Read more »

View More Answers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.