COVID-19 Estate Planning Q&A by State

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COVID-19 Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: In CA. My husband/his ex never filed a QDRO. He died. What do I need to do to get CalPERS to pay me his pension?

He caught Covid in the line of duty. I had POA for CalPERS. I'm his beneficiary. I got the QDRO drafted but it wasn't ready until a month after he died so he couldn't sign it. How do I get an order from court that doesn't require his signature so CalPERS will release the lien on... Read more »

Tobie Brina Waxman
Tobie Brina Waxman answered on Feb 23, 2021

You probably don't have standing to act on his behalf in family court. That being said, there's definitely something that can be done. When someone dies, the successor in interest (probably you) can be joined into the divorce case to sign documents, including a QDRO. That's what... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Landlord - Tenant and Foreclosure for Ohio on
Q: how to evict a family member who was only supposed to stay free for a couple nights and didnt leave?

my cousin asked for a place to stay, and he lost his job now hes staying here not paying rent although there is no rent agreement he was just supposed to stay a couple days and leave he kept procrastinating till he got mail here now hes using squatters rights on us so he dosent have to leave, how... Read more »

Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap answered on Jan 25, 2021

If you own the property, you can evict any occupant by following the proper eviction process. Check your local court for the notice and other forms to file for an eviction, or use the Find a Lawyer tab to retain a local real estate attorney to assist you, because you want to do it right the first... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Alabama on
Q: My dad got divorced, had no will, and passed away. His ex wife’s name is still on the house.

My dad and his ex wife got divorced before they could come to an agreement on the house. She hasn’t been in the house over 10 years. He passed away with no will in place. He has two biological children(me and my sister) and a daughter that he and his ex wife adopted. The ex wife doesn’t want to... Read more »

Amanda B Cook
Amanda B Cook answered on Dec 18, 2020

To evaluate this fact pattern, an attorney will need to look at your father and his ex wife's Deed. However, it sounds like she could own half or possibly even the entire property, and yes you are correct that she could evict you or petition a court for a sale of the house at any time... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Utah on
Q: Can anything be done when in the process of a trust and the grantor dies before signing?

We were in the process of setting up a trust for my sick mother when she suddenly became so sick (the day of hoping to sign in fact). Hindered by getting a notary public because of Covid, is there anything we can do?

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 16, 2020

Sadly, if the document is not signed it has no legal impact on the estate. If she died with a prior will and trust then that would be controlling. If there is no will or trust signed, dated, witnessed and notarized, then she died intestate. The rules of intestate succession in the state where... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: My mother had 5 beneficiaries on her annuity she made me power of attorney specifically to remove 3 of those beneficiari

From her annuity leaving me and my sister Do I have the power as POA to remove individuals requested by my mother She could not sign the papers herself changing beneficiary because of the coronavirus which she died from And because access to her was restricted she gave me power of attorney to take... Read more »

Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 15, 2020

If you have not had any luck with the insurance company, your next step is to hire an estate attorney to talk to their legal department. If that does not help, then the insurance company will file most likely file an "interpleader" and turn the proceeds over to the court, to have them... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My dad died before he signed amended trust, even though confirmed with estate planner, during covid?

My Dad received amended copy of his living trust 3 days before he died and had not signed them. He did contact estate attorney and confirmed draft. I don't believe signing them was exclusive, but I do know that my dad would want his last wishes honored. I know there must be mitigating... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 13, 2020

If he didn’t sign the amendment, it’s ineffective. It doesn’t need to be notarized, but it does need to be signed by the trustmaker. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but to tell you otherwise is just wishful thinking.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Elder Law for California on
Q: Can a check made out to the sole trustee of a revocable living trust be cashed without a trust account?

Elderly father received check after home refi. It’s made out to him as: “Name, as trustee of the abc trust”. It cannot be reissued.

Trust is a revocable living trust. Mother and father were the grantors and only 2 trustees. Mother passed away, father is sole trustee now (successor). I... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Oct 27, 2020

It’s a common situation, but every bank and credit union and other financial institution has its own rules. My experience as an estate planning specialist with over 25 years in the field is to simply have your dad endorse the check on the reverse side as follows: “For deposit only”, and then... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, Banking and International Law for New Jersey on
Q: If Im poa on my Dad's account, that can't be affected by my bankruptcy? Also can I open a new account with us both on?

My father is moving to a new country next week and I am newly appointed durable power of attorney over his financial accounts.... If I file bankruptcy that shouldn't effect his banks accounts correct? Also I was thinking of opening a new checking account with my father and myself as joint... Read more »

Leonard R. Boyer
Leonard R. Boyer answered on Oct 10, 2020

Do not open any bank accounts until after your bankruptcy is discharged. Do not look for problems. You also need to be represented by an experienced Bankruptcy attorney. What you do not know can cause you all sorts of problems. You really need to leave things alone. Even with the Pandemic, if you... Read more »

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Q: What is CDC eviction meant for MA state ? Can someone explain to me ?
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley answered on Oct 5, 2020

The CDC moratorium forbids landlords from attempting to evict tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenants meet certain financial hardship guidelines:

- Make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if they file a joint tax return)

- Be unable to make full rent “due to substantial loss of...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Illinois on
Q: Do I have to appear in IL estate court if I get a subpoena during covid while concerned for mine & spouse's health?

I received a supoena for IL estate court for my deceased father's estate & and I am concerned for my health (asthmatic) & my spouse at home with prexisting health issues. If I raise this concern, can I be relieved from attending?

Cheryl Powell
Cheryl Powell answered on Oct 4, 2020

Call the lawyer that subpoenaed you. Or the Circuit Clerk's office in the county where you are supposed to testify. Ask if you can appear by zoom instead. Although you are in Benton, I am not sure in what county you are supposed to testify. We have Zoom court for most civil things in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Oklahoma on
Q: Man drafts will in 2017 leaving everything in his estate to his daughters; biological, adopted & step. Marries in 2020.

No new will was drafted, but the husband dies unexpectedly in 2020. What does Oklahoma law say this wife is legally entitled to? Or will she have to sell the home she lives in because it is part of the assets mentioned in the 2017 will?

James Tack Jr
James Tack Jr answered on Oct 3, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. The answer first may depend upon how the title to the house was held. I have assumed that the house was in the name of the husband only. I have also assumed there is no antenuptial agreement, which may also affect the answer. there will need to be an administration of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: How do I collect my inheritance when it’s been deposited into court waiting to be collected? I live in the states

My grandmother estate was finally completed and told that Judge put my portion of the inheritance Into court system till I collect. I live in the states and it’s a pandemic so I can’t fly to P.R. to collect inheritance and I do not have money for a lawyer plus I don’t even know how I would... Read more »

Ramon Olivencia, Esq.
Ramon Olivencia, Esq. answered on Sep 1, 2020

You need to hire an attorney, particularly since you don’t know the intricacies of our court system and you are from out of state. Besides, if you will be getting some moneys then it will be wise to

use a portion of it to pay for legal services. After all, it’s not that straightforward...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for New Jersey on
Q: Can I do a simplified probate procedure in NJ myself or do I need a lawyer?

I am 80+ yr old widow with residence in NJ. My husband passed away recently without a will. All his assets passed to me without probate except for an old car. The car was titled in his name only. I need to transfer title of the car to myself so I can sell it. I have heard there is a simplified... Read more »

H. Scott Aalsberg Esq.
H. Scott Aalsberg Esq. answered on Aug 23, 2020

The real question would be how much is the car worth. If it is under 20K you are in luck see NJSA 3B:10-3. which discusses when a spouse or domestic partner is entitled to assets without administration. For your second question, yes a lot of this can be done remotely now due to Covid 19. Saying... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Estate Planning and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a housebound bank account holder let me log in on their behalf to initiate transfers?

My father died with a bank account with the name of an ex-fiancee still on it as a joint holder. She hasn't ever used the account as far as I can tell. She (and her current husband) want the money in the account to go to myself and my sister. Unfortunately she doesn't have an online login... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 6, 2020

Assuming your father was a Massachusetts resident for the comments: Are you the Personal Representative of your father's estate? If so, you need to contact the bank involved and provide them with your Letter of Authority and Federal Taxpayer ID for the estate and some form of authorization by... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New York on
Q: Can My Mother sue my uncle to pay the bills and debts left since his passing in reference to his business?

Father passed away from Covid in April, he left a handwritten will which stated that my Uncle was the beneficiary of his bank account, and he was to distribute the money equally between My mother , my brother and myself. My father has left a business and since we trusted my uncle would do the right... Read more »

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich answered on Jul 24, 2020

This should be posted in the Estates and Trusts section. However, in general, since your father died in NY, NY has jurisdiction. In NY, a handwritten will is not usually legal. You would have to start a proceeding in the Surrogates court where your father resided. As part of that proceeding,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My dad lived in Tennessee and recently passed away. We couldn't locate a will.

He was found deceased in his home after being dead over a week, along with water damage turning into mold and fear of his passing being from Covid. His brother and I could not locate a will in his apartment. We did visit his bank to notify them of his passing. The only information we got in return... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jul 21, 2020

What is the probable size of the Estate? What kind of properties? Did he have alot of creditors? These are questions for a competent attorney, not for what you think is the correct thing to do. You might need to file Probate, and you might not. Do not initiate Probate unless you think you... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: if a will says to split the assets but the asset is in another sibling name, does she have to honer the will?

the asset is a home that is now in my sisters name.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 15, 2020

If the deed is in two names, the person who died and your sister, then the home probably is now 100% your sister's. She must get the old deed transferred into her own name exclusively. To do this right she should have an attorney. It is not expensive. The first deed should be checked by an... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My rights oldest daughter only one father passed what are my rights owns house in Walnut Creek calif
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 15, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. It is unclear who passed away. It sounds like the father of your oldest daughter passed away. Is that correct? There are three main ways to collect assets from someone who passed away: First the person wrote will or trust and left you a gift. You have to read the... Read more »

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 Criminal Law, Estate Planning and Family Law for California on
Q: In order to gain access to a private residence, when there are two owners of the residence, who can give the go-ahead?

There is a private residence that is co-owned by two owners. The private residence is being sold and a real estate agent is coming with potential buyers to view the home. I do not want them in the property due to COVID-19, risking contamination, and breach of peace. Owner 1 gives the go-ahead for... Read more »

Juanita Guillen
Juanita Guillen answered on Jun 18, 2020

In general if Owner 1 has equal right and control to the property as Owner 2, Owner 1 can allow the real estate agent and potential buyers to view the home. Real estate viewings were allowed to continue in CA even during the pandemic (unless a local ordinance ordered otherwise). Best practices for... Read more »

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