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Questions Answered by Terry Lynn Garrett

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Probate and Landlord - Tenant for Texas on

Q: My father passed away, he wasn't married and didn't leave a will. Are my Aunt's allowed to keep his house keys from us?

My father didn't have a will, and only has 2 children. He wasn't married. My Aunts have taken the keys to his home and wouldn't allow me (his son) inside to search for documents necessary for burial. Is that legal for her do given that I'm the son? I researched intestate succession and believe it's... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 13, 2019

If your father left children, those children, not his siblings, are his heirs. Hire a local probate lawyer to help you file an Application for Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration. Once you are appointed administrator of your father's estate, it will be your duty to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on

Q: White happens if my wife wills our house to her children from a previous marriage? We both own the house.

Correction: " What happens...."

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 12, 2019

She can only will her 50% community property interest. You have a lifetime right to live in the house. Please note that if she died without a will, her 50% community property interest would be divided among her children and you would have a lifetime right to live in the house. Her children... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on

Q: Brothers will gives all his processions to me, no wife or kids, 1 brother, no dispute. Must will be probated or not.

Trying to sell his 2001 truck and flat bottom boat .

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 10, 2019

A Will has no legal effect until it is admitted to probate. If there is another sibling, a DMV Affidavit of Heirship would give half the truck to him so that would not be a good option. Nonetheless, it may be hard to find an attorney who would advise you to probate the will, likely spending more... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Texas on

Q: If l lost the original POA then what is the legal remedy?

I lost the original POA for my mom but l have 3 copies. I am trying to sell a house she owns but the title company will only accept the original. What can l do? The POA states that the use of a copy is acceptable. Do l have to go before a judge or something? What do l do? I am in Texas.

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 9, 2019

Change title companies. The law allows someone to request a certificate or a letter from a lawyer stating that the DPOA is still in effect. More is a matter of title company policy.

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on

Q: I need letters of administration for the estate of one who died intestate in Craven Co. When might I expect approval?

I should have said Craven Co, North Carolina. I am in Texas and need to understand what the timeline is, once I submit the application, in order to make travel plans. (Is there somewhere else I should be asking the question? I've scoured the internet, and it looks like Craven Co. doesn't take... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 9, 2019

You should hire a Craven County probate attorney to represent you. Most counties will not let you represent yourself in a probate proceeding. It is more complex than may appear.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on

Q: CAN AN EXECUTOR OF AN ESTATE ASK FOR COMPENSATION FOR A NECESSARY TRAVEL EXPENSE?

I HAVE BEEN NAMED EXECUTOR OF AN ESTATE. I WAS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL OUT OF STATE FOR AN ARBITRATION MEETING TO TRY TO SETTLE THE PROBATE OF THE ESTATE. CAN I BE COMPENSATED BY THE FIDUCIARY ATTORNEY OVER THE ESTATE FOR THIS TRAVEL EXPENSE ?

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 2, 2019

An executor of an estate is entitled to be reimbursed for necessary and reasonable expenses and compensated at a rate set by the Texas Estates Code.

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1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning, Identity Theft and Small Claims for Texas on

Q: If I lived at a house for 5yrs and was kicked out by force with not being allowed to get my things from the house.

What course of action do I have to retrieve my things like titles birth certificates clothes tools beds art works wood works etc I live in texas I did pay rent and utilities no lease it was rent to own me n my parents split the cost of buying the house 1/3 each and when my dad died she took all our... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 1, 2019

You do not state whether you were a renter with a lease, a renter without a lease or a guest or whether you were kicked out for nonpayment. Some leases allow the landlord to seize and sell your personal property if you do not pay rent.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Texas on

Q: I am secondary DPOA for my parent. The primary DPOA has ceased any actions of financial responsibility.

He verbally stated he wouldn’t do these duties but wants to act as DPOA upon my parents death. How can I hold him to his lack of actions to these financial duties. He states he can do what he wants w/ the property my parent owns.

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Sep 1, 2019

A 2017 change to Texas' DPOA law requires that he report and give an accounting, with receipts, to the principals. An interested person can also ask the courts to look into his actions and failure to act. You might want to talk with a local elder law attorney. You can find one using the Find a... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on

Q: My dad left a will mu brothers wont tell me what on there

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 28, 2019

When a Will is submitted for probate, it becomes a public document. Check with the Dallas County Probate Court clerk. Some counties have probate records available online.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on

Q: Saving $$ for attorney. What are my rights as the sole beneficiary? What are the sons rights who was left nothing?

I'm Saving $$ for attorney. What are my rights as the sole beneficiary? What are the sons rights who was left nothing?

My friend left every thing to me in his will. I am in the process of getting the money together to pay the probate attorney. The testators son is aware of the will but... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 26, 2019

The executor (not the sole beneficiary, not a relative) has a duty to secure the property.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on

Q: what needs to be done to transfer home to my name?

My husband died in April. Our home was in his name and there was no will. We have one daughter. I have received a noticed from the city that the taxes will go up because the exemptions will expire. can you help me? I am disabled and it is very difficult for me to leave the house.

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 24, 2019

Your husband's interest needs to be transferred to you using an Affidavit of Heirship or an Application for Determination of Heirship. Elder law attorneys are accustomed to calling on people at home. You can find one near you using the Find a Lawyer function on the website of the National Academy... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Elder Law for Texas on

Q: Is spouse's Defined Benefit Pension part of QDRO? Even though spouse selected single life annuity & no death benefits?

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 22, 2019

What will go into the QDRO is a matter of negotiation.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Texas on

Q: Texas laws: Can A Guardian of an elderly mother, who is incapacitated, withdraw funds from her mother's living trust?

Mother & father are settlors, primary beneficiaries, & co-trustees. Mother has been incapacitated. Father has been grossly negligent in his fiduciary duties as co-trustee. He has withdrawn/spent large amounts from the trust for his own benefit & didn't use any of the withdrawals for mother. Father... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 22, 2019

The rights of an incapacitated co-trustee of a revocable living trust depend on what the trust document says. Most revocable living trust documents state that the co-trustee, in this case the husband, shall make all decisions in that event. Similarly, most revocable living trust documents state... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Elder Law for Texas on

Q: Texas--Elderly parents retired & divorcing. Is wife entitled to husband's defined benefit pension plan?

Husband chose single life annuity monthly payments on his pension so he is currently receiving 100% pension payments. His pension will end at his death so wife will get nothing. Can wife claim part of his monthly pension payments when divorce is completed? Or can wife claim lump sum payment based... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 22, 2019

The safest way to handle this may be to get a Qualified Domestic Relations Order as part of the divorce decree.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Texas on

Q: How can I go about to having my grandma house transfer to me when she has two daughters alive?

I took care of my grandma 4 years before she pass and also I am guardian and power of attorney of my aunt that is mental retard. My grandma left a house behind that my mother doesnt wanna have anything to do with the house and on my aunt condition she cant have anything with estate and money... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 12, 2019

A notary is not a lawyer and should not be giving legal advice. See a local probate attorney

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3 Answers | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Gov & Administrative Law for Texas on

Q: Can a Son of a terminally ill parent that is not of their right mind have a document signed to sell the parents home?

Even when close friends know it is not her wish.

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 4, 2019

If a person's dementia has progressed to the point that she lacks legal capacity to contract, the contract is void and the attempt to profit from it is exploitation of an elderly person, a first degree felony in Texas. Contact APS.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Texas on

Q: Can I report a lawyer to a state bar for drafting and notarizing a will, knowing that the person had mental illness?

A lawyer drafted and notarized a will for a person, who he knew was mentally ill. The will disinherited person's children and gave the entire estate, including children's personal property, to the mentally ill person's husband. The husband's daughter and the lawyer had an intimate relationship... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Aug 4, 2019

While you can report the lawyer, mental illness is not the same as dementia. Unless the person suffered from an insane delusion about someone they purposely disinherited, the Will is valid. Neither the person making the Will nor the lawyer has any obligation whatsoever to inform anyone about the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Texas on

Q: My grandfather passed away, my father 2 weeks later passes away. Do we get my fathers share of my grandfather house

My aunt has recently called us about my grandfathers house. She says she will give us 800.00 and for us to sign some paper. But won't give to much info. About it how can we find out what is going on with this house.

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 31, 2019

Do not sign. If there were no Wills, your father's share passes to you.

As an heir, you can hire a local probate attorney to file an Application for Determination of Heirship and Issuance of Letters of Administration first for your grandfather and then for your father.

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on

Q: How can I move my father back to Texas from an Assisted Living facility in Omaha, NE?

Prior before Hurricane Harvey I took care of my father but after the storm my older siblings to him back to Omaha they were going to care for him in their home. However he was placed in an Assisted Living Facility, I now have a brand new home I'm fully capable of taking care of him. What steps can... Read more »

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 31, 2019

Your father's contract with the assisted living facility governs. These contracts are usually month to month.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for Texas on

Q: Could removing a lifetime estate Claus from a warranty deed cause my mom to loose Medicaid payments to the nursing home

My brother and I are co owners of the warranty deed the clause is on. She lives in a memory care facility the Medicare helps pay the room and board along with her social security We live in Texas?

Terry Lynn Garrett answered on Jul 29, 2019

In Texas the home is not counted in determining eligibility for nursing home Medicaid. There is no need to remove the clause granting your mother a lifetime estate. Giving up that lifetime estate, however, could be seen as gifting the people who have the remainder interest (you and your brother).... Read more »

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