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Denise Leydon Harvey
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Denise Harvey’s Answers

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  • As durable power of attorney for an elderly friend, can I draw up papers naming someone to take over responsibility if needed?

    I am durable power of attorney for health/financial, for a good friend who lives in an assisted living facility. She has mild-to-moderate dementia. The POA we currently have was drawn up and notarized prior to her cognitive decline. Although I am ...

    Denise’s Answer

    Review the document to see if she gave you authority to name your own successor (I have never seen such a clause), or if she named a successor to serve if you cannot (this type of clause of very common). If she did not name her own successor or provide you with the authority to name your own and she is no longer able to make the determination herself, then if you become unable to serve, some interested party would have to file a petition with the court to be named as her conservator / guardian in your stead. That person could then step in and do what you are doing for her, with court oversight.

    Please double check the document or have an attorney in your area review it to see if there is already a successor named as that is a very common situation. Good luck -

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  • An aquaintance just lost his dad who was killed in an accident. His dad was 65 years old , a disabled veteran, on SSI and SSDI.

    the young man is 26 and lived with his dad. His dad was separated from a woman who was a Russian Immigrant , he had married her, she has a green card. I'm not sure how long they were married am pretty sure it was less than 2 years. Does the son ha...

    Denise’s Answer

    I'm sorry for your friend's loss. If his father was on SSI and SSDI it is possible he may not have had an estate to probate. If he did have assets in his own name, then they would pass according to his Will.

    If he had no Will, then any assets would pass according to the intestacy statute. Because his father was still married (I think - your question does not indicate that he divorced) but his wife was not your friend's mother, then she would receive the first $100,000 plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate. FYI - she may also be entitled to up to $10,000 worth of her her husband's personal property, such as household furniture, automobiles, appliances, and personal effects. She may also be entitled to a family allowance, although unless she has minor children with the decedent, it sounds like her separation for two years may preclude her receiving that.

    Because his father passed as a result of an accident, it may be worth your friend's time to speak with a personal injury attorney to see if he may be able to assert a claim for wrongful death. Any monies received in such a claim would be paid to the estate (and again, the wife would be able to share in the estate. He may also be able to assert his own claim of loss of consortium as a result of his father's death.

    He should speak with an attorney in his area about these issues.

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  • What are my chances of gaining guardianship?

    My father-in-law is currently in rehab after suffering a collapsed lung from heavy smoking. My husband and I want him closer to us so we can care for him. He is illiterate and is very confused about most things. He does not know the month, day, or...

    Denise’s Answer

    I'm not sure who told you he was competent to make his own decisions. That is usually up to a judge. In Kentucky, as I understand it, you can request ("Petition") that a guardianship be put in place. Once you file the Petition, your father-in-law would be evaluated by a panel of medical care providers who would make a recommendation as to his competence. Finally, there would be a hearing before a judge, who will make the final determination. Below this paragraph are some sites to review. I strongly suggest you speak with an attorney in your area who does this type of work to get a feel for what is required and perhaps to do it for you. Good luck -
    http://kyjustice.org/node/568
    http://chfs.ky.gov/dail/guardianship.htm
    http://www.lrc.ky.gov/statutes/chapter.aspx?id=39181

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  • Can my sister object, fight and/or prevent me from becoming a Co or secondary guardian for my handicapped TBI brother?

    My brother was hit by a car when he was a child and severely brain injured. He has been in several hospitals and programs. He has now been in a program in Massachusetts near Boston for over 20 years now. A while back while my parents were still al...

    Denise’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney Golden. If the current guardian doesn't want to serve as co-guardian with you she can "object, fight and / or prevent" you from being appointed. Is there another sibling that could serve that your sister would agree to? Why is she opposed to you being co-guardian? Do you have any reason to believe that she is misusing her authority as guardian or rep payee? If you have concerns, you should speak with an attorney. Good luck -

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  • Does it cost a lot for a lawyer to put a life insurance policy for my kids into a trust?

    going through divorce. I want to put my life insurance into a trust for my kids? my husband is careless with money. He loves to spend lavishly and cashing in on a life insurance policy designed to support the kids would be like winning the lot...

    Denise’s Answer

    I agree with these answers but want to point out that you do not have to name your husband as trustee -

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  • My mother died in 2005. At the time of her death, she was single. She purchased a single family house in 1980.

    The deed to my mother's house lists her three children as tenants in common. That was her intention. All of the children are adults. When my mother died, me and my sister were living in different cities. Only my brother lived in my mother's hous...

    Denise’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney Golden. You can force the sale by a Petition to Partition. Please speak with an attorney who can help you with this. Because it is such a costly procedure, the attorney will likely start by reminding your brother that you are co-owners with him and as such have rights. He may be willing (and we hope able) to buy out your interests in the house. If not, he may be willing to put the property on the market without court involvement. Then, if all else fails, you can force him to do so through the courts. Good luck -

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  • In Massachusetts, is there any law stopping me from putting up a headstone and burying my deceased mother in my own back yard?

    Assuming death was by natural causes.

    Denise’s Answer

    There are plenty of laws governing the care and disposition of bodies in MA. It may be possible to bury your mother "in your back yard" but you would have to get permission from the local health department. There is a helpful discussion about this at http://www.fcaemass.org/diyGuidance.shtml . Your land would have to meet certain size requirements and the plot would need to be a required distance from the home, any groundwater, etc. You should also draw a map of the property showing the burial ground and file it with the property deed so the location will be clear to future owners. That is the key issue - do you really want your mother to be part of someone else's back yard after you're gone?

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  • I am the Power of Attorney for my 80 year old mother, and she wants me to put my name on the House Deed. I called a couple of la

    lawyers and asked how much it would cost to do this ? But, I cannot afford to pay either of the prices they gave me. one wanted $900 and the other wanted $1200. my question is can I get this done for less money or for free ? Brooklyn, N...

    Denise’s Answer

    I agree with the previous answer, but I caution you from doing this yourself if you have siblings. You could be setting yourself up for a serious battle with them concerning the propriety of you transferring your mother's property to yourself. If your mother is competent, then at a minimum I would suggest that she and not you sign any deed.

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  • I am an international Student (19years old ), attending college. Can I make a legal Guardian form in Georgia?In how much time?

    I want to live off campus and the only way is to live with legal guardians... Can someone tell me if it is possible even if I am not under age and which are the forms? Additionally I need to know how much time it takes.. Thank you.

    Denise’s Answer

    If you are not under-age and not incapacitated, a court will not appoint a "legal guardian" for you. I suggest you go back to the office at school where you got this information and get more specific information as to what is needed here. Good luck -

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  • Informal Probate held up Massachusetts. Father in law passed away, left $5000 to his 11 year old grand-daughter---our child.

    Approx. 7 months into this clerk just held up Will. Father in law's son (Scott) is co-executor. Scott is my husband and minor granddaughter's Dad. Lawyer tells us we have to apply for Guardianship of our OWN kid to get this Will done? Is this c...

    Denise’s Answer

    Yes. Courts often require that parents be appointed as guardian of their own child for the purpose of receiving funds. This gives the court the ability to oversee the situation for the child. However, where this is such a small amount, you might want to ask if the attorney would be satisfied with your husband receiving the funds as custodian for your daughter, and having the funds placed directly into a Uniform Trust for Minor (UTM) account established by your husband. It's worth a try -

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