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Stephanie K. Burnham

Stephanie Burnham’s Answers

8 total

  • Grandpa's left money in POD account, Dad wants money, and do I need to pay Federal tax on it?

    My Grandpa's just passed away and left me $100k in a POD account. My father is the executor of the will (estate) and he told me that the money is legally his. Do I have to give it to him? Futhermore, does he pay estate tax or gift tax under my ...

    Stephanie’s Answer

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of your Grandfather. POD stands for “Payable on Death” and it is considered a Beneficiary Designation made to exclude funds from the Probate Estate and the Last Will & Testament.

    It is important to understand the relationship between a Last Will & Testament, Probate Court and Beneficiary Designations. The Last Will & Testament is designed to inform the Probate Court who your Grandfather wanted to be his Executor and where his assets that are subject to Probate Court are to pass. Not all of your Grandfather’s assets are subject to Probate Court. Probate Court is the process in which someone (your Dad) is appointed by the Court to sign documents, pay bills and transfer assets from your Grandfather’s name into those of the Beneficiaries. The only assets that are subject to this process are the assets that have your Grandfather’s name on them and no one else, and not POD or Beneficiary Designations.

    This Bank Account is legally yours. Your Grandfather set it up as Payable on Death to you, and it does not matter who the executor of the Will is, what the Will says, or who believes that they own that money. All that matters for legal ownership is what is written at the Bank, unless someone sues you for some type of fraud in convincing your Grandfather to give you that money or other undue influence.

    This inheritance is NOT income to you. You are only obligated to pay taxes on the interest generated by this account from the date of your Grandfather’s passing. All other interest is taxable to your Grandfather. If you have any other tax questions, you should speak with an accountant or estate attorney in your area.

    You should not leave the money in the bank for too long, as if it is unclaimed, the Bank may surrender it to the state as abandoned property. Usually, it takes several months, if not years, before the Bank would do something like this, but you should take your Grandfather’s Death Certificate (which you can obtain at a Town Hall in the state your Grandfather passed) to the Bank and ask that the money be placed in your name soon.

    Best Wishes!

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  • If i was to kidnap my niece because of serious reasons what can happen?

    long story short.my father fathered a little girl by his oldest daughter. the child is 3 years old and he has been known to abuse children.he abused me when i was 12 and he had abused(sexually on both) the mom of the child when she was 3. they bot...

    Stephanie’s Answer

    There are serious legal ramifications to taking action in this matter. Kidnapping is a Federal Offense and will result in incarceration. You need to speak with an attorney that handles Guardianships in New Hampshire. In order for you to have the right to remove your niece from this environment you will need to become her legal guardian. A large issue is going to be what proof you may have to overcome your sister's parental rights. There may be actions you can take behind the scenes to protect you (from criminal action) and the child while you use the legal process.

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  • What can be done when a LLC partner removes himself from the partnership ?

    The partner removed himself from the partnership without the knowledge of the other partner including closing all business accounts

    Stephanie’s Answer

    In addition to retaining a Corporate Litigation Attorney, you also need to find any operating agreements, or other documents that were signed by the partners to determine if there are any rules or other determinations of how a partner is supposed to leave an LLC and bring them with you to meet with the attorney. I would further suggest protecting all financial records and assets of the business, if possible, by ensuring you have a secure copy.

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  • What would be considered good grounds for suing a roommate?

    My roommate has proven to be real nightmare. He has payed for rent on time, but we are currently out over 300 dollars for utilities he has consistently refused to pay. Not to mention his abhorrent behavior, which includes throwing random parties a...

    Stephanie’s Answer

    The Lease and state law would be the most important in evaluating whether or not you have recourse against your roommate. However, would you really want to sue your roommate while you are all still living in the same property? A verbal agreement is going to be difficult to prove especially if the roommate denies he/she ever entered into an agreement. You may want to consider equity, or suing your roommate because he/she benefitted from the utilities and used the utilities and therefore should be responsible for his/her share of the utilities to the other tenants. You also may want to wait until the end of the tenancy, the roommate moves out, or attempt to evict the tenant if possible.

    You should discuss all of the facts with an attorney. Make sure to bring your lease, any emails or correspondence between you and the roommate, and copies of the utilities invoices. Also, bring any evidence that the roommate may have previously contributed to the payment of utilities (if they ever did).

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  • I live in NH. What are homestead laws if family members are being sued for monetary damages. Wife and I are on mortg, and deed.

    Wife and children are being sued. Can a home sale be forced to recover damages. As husband and father I am not named. But I live in the home. Plaintif wants to settle for Wifes Half of equity. Our attorney wants to settle but I question his comm...

    Stephanie’s Answer

    The short answer is: possibly. The New Hampshire Homestead rules protect up to $100,000 in equity in a personal residence. It is possible, if there is more than $100,000 of equity in the home, that the person suing could ask that the Court partition the property. Since real estate can not be divided the Court could ask that it be sold to pay some portion of the debt, however, it is not a likely choice in this economy. It is more likely that a lien will be sought on the property to protect the judgment and some type of payment arrangements required to pay any judgment.

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  • My father died last month and I am one of two executors of his trust. I have yet to hear from the his lawyer.

    I notified his lawyer of his death and have heard nothing since then. What should I be doing?

    Stephanie’s Answer

    Your first step is to get the orginal Last Will and Testament or a copy of the Trust document, depending on which document you are the administrator of. If you believe that the attorney has the original Last Will and Testament, you should follow up with the attorney's office. If you still do not receive a response, you may want to contact an attorney to represent your interests and to contact the drafting attorney to obtain the document. Once you have the original document your next step will depend on whether the document is a Last Will and Testament (where you would be the Executor) or a Trust (where you would be the Trustee).

    If you are to administer a Last Will and Testament, you will need to begin the Probate process in the State in which your father was a resident. If it is a Trust document then you will need to determine what assets are in the Trust so you know what you are responsible for.

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  • Bank wants to reposess car on late fees

    we were informed that we paid the loan on my husbands car- but he owes late fee's that the made into a balloon payment. We were unaware of this balloon payment and dont have it. they want us to take out a new loan on the paid off truck for it, or ...

    Stephanie’s Answer

    More information is necessary for a full answer suggesting all of the options available to you. Some questions are: How were you notified that the loan was paid? Was it in writing? Do you have evidence of the payments showing that the loan is paid in full? Do you have a copy of your original loan documents?

    You may be able to negotiate the reduction of these fees, without having to take any Court action, by making a settlement offer on the remaining balance. For example, you could offer a lump sum payment of a portion of the fees to resolve the issue. If you believe that they are unlawfully charging you, you could make a complaint to the Attorney General's Office or Banking Commission under consumer protection or banking fraud. Worst case situation would be to have to file a law suit against the loan company for fraud.

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  • How can i withdraw a case that i open in probate court

    i open my dad and mother estate because i wanted to fine out where the money the dad left mother now i am fining out that my sister has all the money spent and when put mother in a nursing home my sister said the all the is gone that mother was fl...

    Stephanie’s Answer

    You can request that the Estates be administered by a process called Summary Administration or even Waiver of Administration if there are no assets. All that is necessary is that there are no funds to administer, that the surviving spouse or children are the beneficiaries and the case be open for a minimum of 6 months. This will prevent the necessity of filing documents with the Court.

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