Questions Answered by Ben F Meek III

Q: How do I file an objection to set aside administration? I question the validity of my dad's will.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arizona on
Answered on Apr 17, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
There appears to be a strong possibility of fraud or undue influence in having your father sign the will. You will need a lawyer to contest it in the probate matter. There is also a strong possibility that the estranged son is a pretermitted heir, since your father failed to name him either as a beneficiary or to mention him but decline to provide anything for him. Contact an experienced probate lawyer in the state where the will is being probated for specific advice.

Q: My mother passed in December of 2018. I am having problems to fill out probate paper. I have no idea how to fill it out.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Missouri on
Answered on Apr 10, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Most states have "small estate" affidavits or affidavits of heirship that permit heirs to transfer car titles, obtain cash from banks or insurance companies, etc., as long as the heir will swear under oath as to certain facts such as: names and addresses of all of the decedent's heirs, that all the decedent's bills have been paid or provided for, that the decedent did not have a will, and that no estate administration has been commenced anywhere. When such affidavits can be used, they avoid...

Q: My husband passed and my name was not on the mortgage loan or deed. Am I responsible for repaying the mortgage?

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Florida on
Answered on Feb 26, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
You are probably not liable for repaying the note and mortgage, since you didn’t sign them, though you might have to pay the loan off if you want to keep the house. Thus you can probably let the house go back to the lender, but you shouldn’t just walk away without facing the issues and requiring the lender to curtail its grab for money from your husband’s estate. A good probate lawyer can help you minimize the mortgage lender’s claim and maximize what will come to you.



2 Answers | Asked in Banking and Probate for Texas on
Answered on Feb 21, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
This is a fact intensive issue that will turn on the evidence you can gather to show that her intent was to name you as TOD beneficiary. Gather every document that has to do with their dealings with USAA, their financial advisor, banks, brokerages, etc., and anyone else in the chain of communication. Much of it may be electronic. Your lawyer can help with that. Contact an experienced probate litigator as soon as possible. Good luck.

Q: If a will has already been probated, how can I find out who the lawyer is to contact him?

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on
Answered on Feb 15, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Find out what county it was probated in and search online for access to court records of that probate court. The attorney's name will show up in the docket sheets and on his or her pleadings in the case. Good luck.

Q: Do we have a case?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Oklahoma on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
There isn't enough information to determine whether your husband would end up with the property through probate. It may be simpler to keep an eye on the property and buy it at a tax sale. You might have to outbid someone but would likely get the property for a song either way. Or you may be able to buy out the family members that have interests. You and your husband should bring what papers you have relating to the property and any Wills his ancestors left behind and go see an experienced...

Q: Mother died, Court judgment was for debt against my mother that is more than her estate is worth. Are we responsible?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Your mother's estate is probably answerable for her debts, but her heirs are not personally liable for those debts (unless they obligated themselves by co-signing a contract or note or something similar). The inheritances of your mother's heirs would be reduced by the payments of her debts from her money and property, but if your mother's property is insufficient to pay her debts, those debts would just go unpaid. A major caveat, however, regards mortgages or liens on real or personal...

Q: My mother passed away 12/29/2016, my sister is the executor of her will. She refuses to finalize the estate.

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Texas on
Answered on Jan 24, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Talk to a lawyer. Forcing the executrix to close the estate and distribute it does not constitute a challenge to the Will but is simply asking that it be enforced, which does not run afowl of the 'no challenge' clause. If you are a beneficiary in the will, you can also petition the court to Partition the property, which forces either a sale or buyout of your interest. If there is no partition, the beneficiaries under the will will become co-owners of the property. At that point, if you want...

Q: Wife is executor and sole beneficiary of her mother. Probate almost completed, deeds being transfered. Only thing NOT

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Answered on Jan 16, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Contact her lawyer for the probate matter and tell him or her the problem. They will help you. You may be able to be appointed, if you're qualified. The lawyer can tell you. Don't wait. It won't get easier. Best wishes.

Q: i am a heir to my aunts trust,i inherited $90K. the lawyer is requesting my ss# number. must i give it 2 him?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Answered on Jan 11, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Ask him the purpose for his needing to know. Most likely it is so the Trust can report the distribution of funds to you on IRS Form 1099. That would be a legit reason for needing to know.

Q: My father and his sister are both on the Deed to the home he lives in. She passed away how can he get deed, no will.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for South Carolina on
Answered on Jan 10, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
He may not need to do anything. It depends on how they held title. If the Deed provides that dad and sister owned the property as "joint tenants with right of survivorship", then he became the sole owner by law when she died. There would be nothing to probate and no need to change title. If the words "joint tenants with right of survivorship" do not appear on the deed, he will most likely have to have his sister's estate administered through probate to pass the title to her interest in the...

Q: If my father has no will and owns 2 homes. One is clear one is not

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Oklahoma on
Answered on Jan 7, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
I would need more information before I could answer your question.

The most important question is: How are your father's real properties titled? If he owns one or more of them as a "joint tenant with right of survivorship" and your father dies first, his co-owner will be left as the sole owner of each such property when your father dies. If that happens the property would not be subject to your father's will and would not be passed to his heirs by intestate succession. On the...

Q: Can a conservator in NJ be changed?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for New Jersey on
Answered on Jan 3, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Conservatorship usually requires the consent of the wards. They need to get an attorney, if they are being abused emotionally or financially or if they gave their consent under duress or false pretenses. If they truly lack capacity, guardianship is probably the more appropriate remedy, since their personal care and safety would be at risk. If the family is fighting over their parents' money, the parents probably need either to get their own attorney and object to the...

Q: can my wife gain ownership of her deceased parents home which is behind in mortgage.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate on
Answered on Jan 3, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
Possibly. It depends on the title: what was the nature of her parents' title? (I'm assuming for this comment that neither of them deeded the property to anyone else and one or both of them owned the property when they died.) . If they were the sole owners as joint tenants with right of survivorship, then the later of them to die was the sole owner. If the later of them to die did not convey title during their life or by a Transfer on Death Deed, his or her estate will have to be probated to...

Q: Using CA Small Estate Affidavit to settle father's CA estate. How do we do NY Ancillary Probate for vacation home in NY?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for New York on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
I assume from your questions that there is a valid last will and testament and that your father did not have assets in California that necessitated its being probated. Whether the Will must be probated in NY depends on the nature of your father’s real estate ownership there. For example, if the real estate in New York is owned by your father in joint tenancy with any surviving joint tenant, probate would not be required. The transfer of title would have happened by operation of law...

Q: Should I contest the amount the state of Maine wants from my deceased aunts estate?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate, Elder Law and Estate Planning for Maine on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
It's not possible to give meaningful guidance with such little information. Are these demands from the state related to Medicaid payments for your aunt's medical care? If not, what is the demand related to? If for medical bills, you would have to compare what your aunt paid, and whatever insurance, if any, paid, against what Medicaid paid. If your aunt had an irrevocable trust to protect her assets from being reached by Medicaid, you will need an experienced elder law or estate planning...

Q: Is it a criminal offense to not give money that was court ordered to your spouse?

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Oregon on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
I'm re-categorizing this as Divorce, as it relates to the divorce decree and the separation of property ordered therein.

An experienced divorce lawyer can help with asset tracking issues. The short answer to your question is that it is probably not a criminal matter but is an indirect contempt of court, which can be punishable by jail time under certain circumstances. That remedy is less helpful to you than getting the assets. You need an experienced lawyer that can help you track...

Q: My grandfather passed in April and I am the only surviving grandchild. No will has been filed with probate.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Indiana on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ben F Meek III's answer
There are several possible explanations for why you haven't been contacted about an inheritance. Here are some examples: Granddad left a Will but made no specific provision for you; Granddad left a will but had no property requiring probate (e.g. he owned all of his real estate as a joint tenant with right of survivorship -- leaving behind other joint tenants as the sole owners -- or he left everything in trust for beneficiaries other than you); or he died intestate but you are not an heir at...

Q: My father was California Resident and died in 2010. He had a Will which poured over into a trust thus avoiding probate.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Answered on Dec 28, 2018
Ben F Meek III's answer
Typically, probate is required to pass title to real estate of a person who died as the sole owner. If the "pour-over" will was probated, in California, a probate in Virginia would be considered ancillary. Either way, the will probated in Virginia would transfer title to the property into the Trust from which it can then be sold. Alternatively, the property could be sold from within the probate proceeding and the proceeds of the sale then distributed into the Trust. Whether there is any...

Q: My mom recently died. She only owned one car with 135,000 miles on it. So we need to go through probate?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for South Carolina on
Answered on Dec 28, 2018
Ben F Meek III's answer
Probably not. Most states have "small estate affidavits" (these documents go by many names) that permit the heirs to swear under oath as to the death of their ancestor (with a copy of the death certificate), the identity and location of the heirs, and other information. Banks, title agencies, and others are allowed to rely on these documents to release property of the deceased ancestor to the heirs. There are usually caps on the value of the property that can be passed in this way, but it...

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