COVID-19 Estate Planning Q&A by State

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COVID-19 Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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
Ramon Olivencia 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 »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: How would a Florida POA Principal sign a new POA if they are in assisted living under lockdown due to COVID19?

Principal wants to revoke current POA and Agent and to create a new durable POA.

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Jun 15, 2020

You can contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney and they can draft a Durable Power of Attorney and then you can mail the POA to the person at the facility and they can get the document witnesses and notarized at the facility that will surely have a notary on hand or can provide one or you can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Elder Law for Missouri on
Q: I have financial POA over my grandfather, can I add myself as a beneficiary on his deed?

He has no will. I’ve been living in his hook me caring for him for over a year. In February he was going to add me as beneficiary on his deed. The pandemic closed the courthouse until this week. He is now incapacitated and can not do so. Can I add myself as beneficiary? The financial POA states I... Read more »

David S. Schleiffarth
David S. Schleiffarth answered on Jun 5, 2020

Typically, if a POA grants a power then it is legal to exercise that power, assuming doing so doe not conflict with any limitations or restrictions given in the document. Another important caveat is that said power is being exercised in good faith and in keeping with the principal's interests.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on
Q: Should I sign the waiver of statutory requirements and beneficiary receipt/release?
Sharon M. Siegel
Sharon M. Siegel answered on Jun 5, 2020

I agree that you should consult a lawyer before signing any document (not limited to the one mentioned) which can affect your rights as a beneficiary. Also, I would mention that if you don't sign, you will have a lot of time before any next step due to covid. The Surrogate's Court is... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Who pays utilities bills?I'm delayed for qualification of Executor due to Covid.Courts not open. I'm beneficiary of home

I am the executor. But I have to wait to be qualified. Courts have been closed since March. Everything is delayed due to Supreme Court ruling in Virginia. My parent passed in early May. Bills need to be payed. I am willing to pay from my own money to keep power, water etc going as I already lived... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 21, 2020

I'm not sure that you have any duties until the Court appoints you as Executor or Administrator, but it would seem to be in your interest to pay the bills to keep the utilities turned on. In many places, utility companies have either voluntarily or by state orders indicated that they will not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: The executor of the estate want to transfer home deed to other person before closing the estate.

The executor of the estate wants to transfer of deed of the house to my husband before the estate is close. There is an active claim against the estate that is being contested. Can the executor do the transfer before closing the estate? Or can the house be sold to my husband for an specific... Read more »

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley answered on May 10, 2020

The estate cannot close without court approval of the final account, and the resolution, settlement or termination of all claims pending against the estate. Distributions to heirs ordinarily must await final approval of the account, but partial distributions are possible so long as sufficient... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for New Jersey on
Q: I own a home with mom that pasted away and have a mortgage. I have 4 siblings that won’t let me rent out the apt

I can’t afford the mortgage by myself. I have a sibling that lives There and pays nothing. Now that my mom is gone refuses to pay anything.

Leonard R. Boyer
Leonard R. Boyer answered on Apr 29, 2020

I am sorry to learn of your Mom's passing. I know exactly what you went through. What you are going to need to do to solve this problem is to bring a partition action to enable a sale of the property. If your mom past without a will then you will need a Probate attorney in addition to a civil... Read more »

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