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Noreen A. Murphy

Noreen Murphy’s Answers

43 total

  • Applied for social security. Then became independent administrator to deceased fathers property

    Can i still receive social security if i add my name to the mortgage? I am not working and money collected from tenants barely pays bills for the property. I do not live in property .

    Noreen’s Answer

    Social Security actually has several income programs. So, the answer to your question will depend on which program is giving you income. As Attorneys Goldstein and Sinclair have written, if you are receiving retirement income, neither your assets - nor debts - have any impact.

    If you applied for another type of Social Security income - Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - because you are disabled, my answer may be different.

    As Attorney Goldstein stated, you can not just add your name to a mortgage. That process must be approved by the lender. Finally, an Administrator of an estate is really just the manager of the estate property - not a legal owner. If you have siblings, they may have a legal interest in the property. (I am assuming that your father does not have a surviving spouse, and that the property was in your father's individual name).

    I think you would be well served by consulting with an attorney in your area who handles Probate issues. Good luck with this.

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  • What happens when an elderly parent dies and has credit card debt?

    The elderly parent had no savings or retirement or life insurance. Her income was from Social Security. She owned a home with a 50 year old daughter, they are joint tenants and the daughter has right of survivorship on the home. The elderly parent...

    Noreen’s Answer

    I also think it a good idea to consult with an attorney in Wisconsin. However, in Massachusetts, creditors have one year from the date of death to file a claim against the estate for pre-death debts. Unless this was a joint card - where both parties are responsible, it is unlikely that anyone else would be responsible for the credit card bills.

    Also, most credit card debt is "unsecured." That means that the money is paid to the creditor, but there is nothing being held to make sure person using the credit card ever pays the credit card company. (Unlike, for example, a car loan or a mortgage on a house)

    One cautionary note: You should expect the credit card companies, and their collection agencies, to call and try and collect the amount due. They will pretty much say anything to get payment. They may even suggest the family is responsible. At least in Massachusetts, that is not true. I tell my clients to have the companies call me - or simply hang up the phone. They can get pretty aggressive - which is why consulting with a Wisconsin attorney might be a good idea.

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  • Hiring estate planning attorney on a retainer, how does it work?

    I am currently seeking to hire a lawyer (one possible in Essex County) regarding one of parents' estate who recently passed away. I know most attorney dealing with this type of manner do retainers, how does the retainer work? I understand tha...

    Noreen’s Answer

    Attorney Pippen explained it perfectly: The client and attorney sign a contract which should detail the hourly rate for the attorney and any other staff that may work on the case (e.g. paralegals). It should also explain the scope of work - what is going to be included. For example is the attorney going to prepare any tax returns, are they going to bring in an accountant, are there real estate issues to be resolved?

    The client then gives the attorney a retainer which is placed into a client trust account. The attorney will bill against that retainer, and you should get an Invoice showing the hours worked and what was done. There should also be a section of the Invoice that shows the out-of-pocket costs that are being reimbursed. (Court fees; newspaper publication, etc.)

    Whether you have to replenish the retainer is usually a law firm policy: some firms require that there be a minimum retainer for all matters; other firms may just allow the new Invoices to be paid as they are sent. This may also be in the initial contract - if not, ask what their policy is about replenishing retainers.

    In some cases, the attorney may defer complete payment until real estate is sold. However, they may require a minimum amount to cover their work and costs for the initial Court filings. These are good questions, and make sure you ask the attorney to explain their contract and billing.

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  • My mother is on the deed to my and my husbands home. She had her lawyer put all of her assetts into an irrevocable trust about

    two years ago. Including my home. She is now in some very serious legal trouble and facing possible lawsuits. My husband and I are very concerned about our home having her name on it. Is it possible for us to loose our home because of her legal is...

    Noreen’s Answer

    I agree with both prior answers. I would be concerned about the protection of your personal assets also, and as Attorney Frederick mentioned, it is difficult to answer the question based on the facts included.

    You should see an attorney that has experience in asset protection trusts to have the existing trust reviewed. You and your husband probably want to consult with a different attorney - not the one that prepared the original trust. Depending on whether you or your mother was the original client for the irrevocable trust, the attorney may have a conflict of interest and be unable to continue to represent you, your mother, or either of you.

    My suggestion would be to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

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  • How to protect mineral royalties from Medicare?

    Very suddenly, my mother has stage 4 lung, brain and lymphatic cancer. She can converse but drifts a lot. She likely won't qualify for treatment due to her age and prognosis. She owns mineral royalties that were a pittance but now yield about $20...

    Noreen’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney Geffen's advice: have an attorney meet with your mother to put these things in order. Most attorney's will visit a client in the hospital, nursing home, or in their home - particularly if they know the client is ill.

    Is your mother on Medicaid? Is that what you meant rather than Medicare? Medicare has no financial eligibility requirement, so there would be no protection necessary.

    Also, a Power of Attorney document is not valid after death - it is for lifetime use only. The authority to control the estate would then go to either an executor (Will) or the Trustee (if using a trust).

    I wish you the best with this.

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  • Mother made xmas gift of $500 to her family totaling $7,000. Is this Medicaid exempt?

    This was a one-time gift after her spouse died - four and half years ago .-simply a gift. Why is this considered a "transfer or assets"?

    Noreen’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Unfortunately, the answer is because Federal Law defines a "transfer of assets" as transfers which the Medicaid applicant received less than fair market value in return. In Massachusetts, with limited exceptions, the state does not care why the transfers were made - only when. If the transfer was within the 5 year look back period, it will - at least initially - be considered a transfer that would prevent the applicant from being approved for Medicaid.

    There are two possible solutions to this gifting:
    1. Appeal any denial of Medicaid based on the grounds that the transfers were not done to become eligible for Medicaid. These appeals (called "Intent" appeals) are not tremendously successful in Massachusetts, but it may be different in Tennessee. The state will look at when the gifts were made, where was the applicant living, did they have a history of gifting, etc. It may even be possible to negotiate a return of less than $7,000.00 while waiting for the appeal to be heard.

    2. You are almost at the 5 year mark, after which transfers do not have to be reported. So, if possible, you may be able to avoid the entire issue by waiting for another 6 months before the application is submitted.

    Best of luck with this.

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  • I was living with a man for 10 years in my home. he was ill and I took care of him. can i make a claim as his caregiver .

    my partner died before he could sign his last will. his will is from1999when I didn't exist in his life. He left me money in the last will, but didn't sighn it. I took care of him for 10 years and he lived i my house and didn't pay for any expense...

    Noreen’s Answer

    Attorney Gold makes a very good point - if you are going to make a claim, consult with an probate litigation attorney. You may have a potential claim as a creditor of the estate, but the problem could be that the named takers in the Will may argue there was no agreement for you to be compensated for providing those services.

    If the unsigned Will was drafted by an attorney, that may give you a little more footing to at least get the named takers to the negotiating table. A probate litigator would probably be able to give you a good idea on your chances of receiving something from the estate.

    Good luck.

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  • My Mother-In-Law is being accused of Elder abuse by her friend's family and the charges are false. What can she do?

    My Mother-In-Law is being accused of improper care of her friend that she is taking care of that's living with us. The charges are that she's not being fed and that she's being mistreated. My Mother-In-Law has an open investigation with DCFS for 6...

    Noreen’s Answer

    This question is like the third rail of elder law - which is why, I believe, you have not had any answers.

    In Massachusetts, every elder abuse complaint must be investigated by the local state elder affairs agency. Much like child abuse, if a complaint is made, the state workers open the file and begin the investigation. The investigation usually involves visiting the senior for an initial interview, and may include a review of medical records and police records.

    If the charges are false, the file is closed and no further action is taken. If there is something that merits additional action by the state, your mother-in-law will be notified, and at that point should probably consider retaining her own attorney.

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  • My mother is a Medicaid patient of a nursing home in MS. I live in FL. Can I move her to a FL nursing home?

    She has no assets, and I'm sure she qualifies financially for medicaid, but what is involved with the residency requirement?

    Noreen’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    As Attorney Phillips said, you would be well served by consulting an elder law attorney before you move your mother. In addition to Medicaid issues, there may be other things to sort out before the move.

    If your mother is competent, she can elect to move to another state. However, if she is not competent, there may be a question about who has the authority to control where she lives (e.g. the person appointed in a Power of Attorney document).

    Residency, for Medicaid purposes, is usually determined by where the person is living and whether they intend to remain there. I do not think that will be an issue for your mother - being on Medicaid does not sentence the person to live in the state where they were first approved.

    One other thing - make sure you have a facility lined up to accept her before the move.

    Good luck with this.

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  • What are my legal rightsas my daughters personal representative. My daughter is a minor and she is the only heir to the estate?

    the estate house had been broken into and things stolen. Daughter didnt get the chance to even go thru her father personal (no value) items. Person living on property that administrator doesnt even know gives my daughter and I a hard time whenev...

    Noreen’s Answer

    So, if I understand your question correctly, your daughter is a minor and her father passed away. Personal property has been taken from the home and there is someone living in the home.

    If my understanding is accurate, there appear to be a couple of things going on. As Attorney Sullivan said, it would be a good idea to consult with a probate attorney in your area. However, here are some initial thoughts that may help.

    1. If the deceased had a Will, he would have named an executor to handle distribution of the estate and also named the people to whom the estate should be given. The person named as executor would have gone to Court to get officially appointed. Your daughter, as an heir, should have received some type of notice - since she is a minor, the notice should probably have been sent to you.

    2. Is it possible that the deceased could have given the person living in the house permission in a Will to stay there?

    3. If there is a Will, that should be public record and you can go to the Probate Court and read it.

    4. If there is no WIll, then there is a state statute that controls the distribution of the estate - this is where an attorney could really help you sort things out.

    5. Is the Administrator living in the house also? How did they get appointed as Administrator? Was your daughter - through you - ever notified that someone was going to be appointed?

    I'm not sure when your daughter's father passed away, but I would not let too much time pass before consulting your own attorney. At least then you would have someone protecting your daughter's interests.

    Good luck with this.

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