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Steven M Zelinger
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Steven Zelinger’s Answers

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  • After IRS lawyer answered my small case petition in Tax Court, how much time do I have to prepare for my meeting with Appeals?

    I filed a small case petition in Tax Court. IRS lawyer responded. My case never went to Appeals yet. Appeals in Los Angeles wrote me a letter to call them. I have not done so. How much time can I ask the appeals officer for time to prepare f...

    Steven’s Answer

    I agree with the other attorneys, to get a lawyer. The scheduling will usually be at least a couple months out so you should have time to prepare either way. They are usually pretty nice and flexible so if an accommodation is needed you can probably get it but I would try not to change the date. Typically you are going to want to have everything assembled and sent to them ahead of time. If at the meeting it is determined that more is needed you will usually be given time to produce it. However as I am sure you read, if you choose the small case in appeals route you do not have the same appeal rights so it is essentially one and done.

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  • Do i file probate to be a representative with will or without will

    letter states last will and testament April 1998 signed by mom witness by aunt, uncle (now both dead) no notary cc to her 3 kids, aunt, uncle and mom's hers may be in safe deposit box not sure if notarized

    Steven’s Answer

    Show the documents and info you have to an attorney - a determination may need to be made if it is a legitimate will and if the probate court will admit it to probate. They will or they won't admit it, in which case you will know...

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  • Blended family will that gives everything to spouse then after spouse dies it is split between our children. joint will?

    also we donot want the surviving spouse to be able to change this if the other one dies. so i was looking at a joint will or what else cannot be changed dont want him to get remarried when i die and leave everything to someone elses kids. than...

    Steven’s Answer

    Meet with an estate planning attorney in your area - what you are contemplating is likely going to be accomplished using a QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property) trust provision either in a living trust or in your "mirror image" wills. Basically the surviving spouse of the marriage takes the deceased spouse's share in trust for life for their "reasonable comfort" (living expenses under the standard of living they are accustomed to) without the ability to give away large sums or change the agreed upon beneficiaries (the children you both agree to while you are both alive).

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  • How do I get guardianship of my elderly mother?

    I've had power of attorney over my mother for about a year now. She has dementia. About a month ago she got upset with me and while I was away from home she went to a neighbors and called the police and reported that she was not being fed. DHS ...

    Steven’s Answer

    You have power of attorney, so you hopefully should not need to initiate a guardianship proceeding. However due to the contentious circumstances you may need a lawyer to advise you on how best to protect her assets if something untoward is attempted.

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  • Can i get a living trust that gives all my estate goes to a friend but such that his wife has no claim to any of it

    no details

    Steven’s Answer

    You as the "giver" want to give an bequest to a friend and you don't want the friend's wife to access it? You can set up certain trust provisions to make this at least more likely, if not iron-clad. Generally what you give your friend is separate from his marriage - unless he commingles it during his / her marriage. I would speak to your own attorney about what you want to do and how to best carry it out.

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  • Sharing house deed as "Tenants in common with Rights of Survivorship" question.

    My brother and I are both on the deed to the home I live in with my children. It's listed on the deed as tenants in common with rights of survivorship. My brother has never lived in the home. The mortgage is in my brothers name but I pay it. I...

    Steven’s Answer

    A deed is usually Tenants in Common OR Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. Depending on which of these it is would largely determine if one (1) joint owner can sell what they own - a tenant in common can dispose of their interest and joint tenant cannot.

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  • Inherited house but appraisal may not have been done. What can be done about it now?

    I inherited a house from parent who passed away in Oct. 2011. But I don't believe an appraisal was done. What can be done about it now? Can an appraisal still be done? I have no intention of selling the house but one never knows what could h...

    Steven’s Answer

    Was the estate handled by an executor? It is very likely that some value was assigned to it during probate - you can check the probate records. Other than that, it might behoove you to hire an appraiser to provide a date of death valuation for the property so you have something when you do sell it....the capital gain would be difference between sales price and date of death value (what ever that is and however calculated). Capital gains on investment RE are currently taxed as 25%.

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  • I inherited my parents 401k, but I haven't reported them as deceased. Probate estate closed 10 years ago. What should I do?

    I only recently found out that their accounts were still accruing interest (which made me realize I was supposed to report them as deceased). It's been over 10 years since they've passed away .

    Steven’s Answer

    Well, a 401k with a named beneficiary is not a probate asset...you have to make sure the account doesn't go to unclaimed property. I would get death certificates and speak to the 401k provider. You probably need a CPA because you are going to have some income tax issues!

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  • If I write down who is to handle me after death along with other stuff and get it notarized, will that be enough

    We live together (not married) and we want to make sure that either one of us can instruct what to do with the other if anything happens.

    Steven’s Answer

    You need proper and recognized legal documents (such as powers of attorney, wills, etc.)..."writing it down" yourself probably is not enough and is not something you want to leave to chance.

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  • How to value personal property for probate / beneficiaries?

    It appears that I may become the executor of my parent's estate. I understand that I'll have a lot of work to do, including getting an appraisal of my parent's property. However, my parents have a lot of personal items that are difficult to valu...

    Steven’s Answer

    I don't know that I've ever heard of food in a decedent's home being valued...although if you had a freezer full of a side of beef that could add up...most executors higher professional appraisers for real estate, and jewelry or collectibles. There are also estate sale firms that will assist with these types of matters but I would advise to get more than one opinion. In smaller estates a best guess may be sufficient especially if the family is amicable. Regarding your fee as executor I would speak to an attorney about how to best calculate that in your jurisdiction but I doubt there is a prohibition against an in-kind commission but also living in an estate home is a benefit so typically rent should be paid to the estate in that situation.

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