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Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Oregon on
Q: Am I able to file to file a small estate affidavit, since I am listed as 100% owner since my husband died?

We owned the house outright, but he took out a 30 yr mortgage in his name. I am paying that monthly , but it is a debt. If I had to claim the house, it may come in at over $200,000 limit..

Theressa Hollis
Theressa Hollis answered on Jul 14, 2020

If you are on the Deed to the house then you likely do not need a probate or small estate affidavit. You can just keep paying the mortgage or refinance it into your name.

If it is only your husband's name on the Deed then you will need a full probate if the fair market value as of his...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Texas on
Q: I recorded a TOD deed on my dad's home with the county clerk in Texas a few years ago.

I left out two pages that were blank regarding beneficiary selection that did not apply (option A & B). I did complete section C, but did not mark the box indicating my choice. Based on the above info, is this TOD deed still valid, or will it be deemed invalid at the time of my father's... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 14, 2020

It is invalid because it should have been filled out and signed by your dad.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How to distribute of an estate?

A trust has all cash plus a primary house. Trust calls for equal distribution among 4 co-beneficiaries (same 4 are also co-trustees). House will not be sold. Option 1: Single beneficiary "A" takes house, and only house, no cash, as her sole share. Option 2: All beneficiaries take equal... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jul 14, 2020

There are private sources of money that provide liquidity for this type of situation.

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My brother lives with my elderly mother. She would like a letter stating he has to vacate the house in a certain time.

This would be after her passing.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 14, 2020

Your mother needs to write a will and a trust. In the trust she can state who is in charge of her estate. Maybe you? She can also give instructions to have the house sold and divided up among her children, if that is what she wants. Or she can give the proceeds to whomever she wants. She would... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Estate Planning and Probate for Ohio on
Q: I'm an executor of my Mother's estate in Ohio. It has been 5 months since she passed and there are 6 siblings.

One of my siblings had been living there rent-free and is not actively trying to vacate the home. What are my options

Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap answered on Jul 14, 2020

If you have opened the estate with the probate court, and if you have a letter of authority issued by the probate court appointing you as executor, then you have the legal right to require the sibling to pay rent. Or you can evict the sibling and otherwise deal with the property as provided in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina on
Q: If I die with out a Will what happens to my wife?

Does she have access to my bank account or is it frozen.

Jonathan Shbeeb
Jonathan Shbeeb answered on Jul 14, 2020

When a person passes without a will or other document that passes property upon death, the property passes through intestacy. That means it is governed by operation of law. A spouse will receive a portion of the property left behind in the estate. The amount of the property the spouse receives... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Georgia on
Q: If my folks pass away is it required for my name to be on the deed to avoid probate? Blairsville GA

My folks said they were advised by an attorney not to put my name on the deed and that Georgia law requires a property to go into probate. Basically, if there is a way to avoid probate in the state of Georgia what is the best way to go about it?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 14, 2020

In most cases the best way is a revocable living trust, but every situation is unique and sometimes an irrevocable trust makes the most sense or some other technique altogether. Many factors need to be taken into consideration. Your best bet is to consult with an experienced estate planning or... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Ohio on
Q: My husband's aunt recently passed away and she had a pension but no spouse or children. Where does the money go?
Moshe Toron Esq
Moshe Toron Esq answered on Jul 13, 2020

If she had a beneficiary designation named on the pension, it would go to that person.

Otherwise, it would go to the person named in her will. If she had no will, it would go to her descendants. If she has none, then it goes to her parents (or grandparents.)

If she had no living...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: My step mom owns an apartment building that she wants to sell that was left in a will to her from her deceased mother

My step mom owns an apartment building that she wants to sell. Her mother owned it then passed away and on her Will left it for my step mom. My step mom never had it switched over to her name but has been having people live there and taking care of it for two years. How long does it take to switch... Read more »

Robert Shipley
Robert Shipley answered on Jul 13, 2020

The property must be in your step mother's name for it to be, ultimately, legally transferred. I would recommend you speak with an attorney whose focus is in Probate. Since the mother passed away 2 years ago, a probate estate will probably have to be opened so that the property can be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for North Carolina on
Q: My pops is gifting me land in N.C but it needs to be split in half and put in my name. How do I go about doing that?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 12, 2020

A lot split is not a do it yourself project. You will need an attorney and a surveyor. I would also recommend an attorney to do the deed correctly.

However, there are very good reasons for not doing lifetime gifts, and your dad should talk to you and estate planning attorney about that.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Ohio on
Q: My mother left her estate in a will to her 6 children. A few years ago, she wrote a paper saying that 1 child gets half

And the other 5 split the other half. It was notarized in a bank with 2 of her adult children witnessing. Is the paper legal or could I fight for 1/6 like the will says.

Moshe Toron Esq
Moshe Toron Esq answered on Jul 11, 2020

You could fight it.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Georgia on
Q: Can I do. Living (revocable) Trust in Georgia?
Robert W. Hughes Jr.
Robert W. Hughes Jr. answered on Jul 11, 2020

Yes, revocable trusts are allowed in Georgia, but they are rarely worth the money spent establishing them,. Occasionally, a client has a unique set of circumstances that makes a revocable trust proper. Make sure you see a very experienced estate planning attorney to assist you.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate for North Carolina on
Q: My brother is POA over my family's finances..is it possible for my brother to change finances to suit him better?

My mother recently had a stroke and things have gotten strange between me and my brother...I asked my mother about the will and she said everything is set in stone and the inheritance will be divided between me and him...but for now things are being paid with our family's finances..which is... Read more »

Amanda Bowden Houser
Amanda Bowden Houser answered on Jul 11, 2020

Whether or not you inherit anything is not your decision nor something you are owed or due or have 'coming to you' or even anything you have a right to at this point. It is your families finances and / or property and as such they are allowed to do with it pretty much anything they want.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Missouri on
Q: Is my heir liable for my credit card debt?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 11, 2020

Heirs are not liable for a decedent’s credit card debt, but the decedent’s estate is liable.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother passed in CA with no will and a sub $10,000 bank account. With a Small Estate Affidavit can Medi-cal bill me.

I'm mostly concerned with Medi-Cal billing me for costs against her estate even if it doesn't go to probate. She had no will and no beneficiary listed on the account. If they can how do I subtract the burial costs?

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jul 11, 2020

Yes. Medi-Cal can and will bill you once you have provided them with a notice of death and a copy of the death certificate which you are obligated to do.

You are however entitled to reimbursement of your costs of burial before they get paid.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Arkansas on
Q: Can we use "small estate" probate after my mother died without a will?

My divorced mother died intestate, and my sister and I are her only heirs.

We have obtained her credit reports and determined that aside from one small collection, her only debt is the mortgage to the home we would inherit jointly had she made a will, as that had always been her intent.... Read more »

Dustin A. Duke
Dustin A. Duke answered on Jul 10, 2020

If the mortgage is your mother's only debt and the value of her estate after the balance on the house note is subtracted equals $100,000 or less, then you should be able to file the small estate affidavit. However, be aware that if your intent is to sell the home, most title companies will... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Mom passes intestate in Fairfax Co VA, how can I file her final tax returns after the POA ends?

All assets were liquidated into a POD account years ago, all current income taxes, funeral costs, and debts have already been paid. Only final taxes on bank interest, a modest Social Security income, final IRA distribution costs and the POD account will remain when Mom passes. Does the estate have... Read more »

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart answered on Jul 10, 2020

I'm sorry for your loss. You may not have to do very much as everything was POD. And that included 'probate'.

I suggest you consult an attorney - in Virginia - to advise you and reassure you of where you are. Elder Law attorneys are familiar with estate law and procedure -...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Mom lived in house 50+yrs & paid off original mortgage in her mom's name. She has 3 siblings, who owns it?

Grandmother died in 1970's. There was no probate. Her siblings want to sell the house now to split cash for retirement, but she does not want to leave. Can they force my mom to move and sell? Who owns the house? Unknown if there is a will or who's name is on the title of the house.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 9, 2020

It is not possible to answer your questions without more information. This will probably require some kind of probate procedure to get the title out of your grandmother's name and into the names of her heirs. Who those heirs are depends on facts that have not been stated. Your best bet is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: How can I see if an estate tax return was filed?

I am waiting to be reimbursed for the final expenses that I covered. The will stipulates that the estate will cover the costs. I paid the final expenses in April of 2019. My last correspondence with the attorney (about 6 weeks ago) was that because the decedent owned property in another country... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 9, 2020

You cannot see the returns. You can go to the court to see the file to see if the estate is closed. Did you file a claim? If so, you can petition to compel payment of it.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Oklahoma on
Q: Does my spouse have to sign a warranty deed in OK for land that was inherited?

My parents are nearing death and closed the family trust and divided the land between me and my sister earlier this year for inheritance. No structures are on the land. My half was put in a deed of survivorship with me and my grown son. We are trying to deed 10 acres to a friend as a gift ($10).... Read more »

Richard Winblad
Richard Winblad answered on Jul 9, 2020

Great question:

The reason that a spouse is generally required to sign deeds that include surface interest is to protect the transferee (the person receiving the property and their lenders) from a possible spousal homestead claim. A spouse occupying property cannot be deprived of the right...
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