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Thomas Devlin Begley III

Thomas Begley’s Answers

287 total


  • Adult sister dies in another country. Stepmother, father, brother & sister signed next of kin from Embassy. Who is in charge?

    Stepmother, who has been diagnosed bi-polar & receiving mental therapy/medication for many, many years has become mentally incompetent of making rational decisions & has decided that she is in charge of remains/funeral services against father, br...

    Thomas’s Answer

    A stepmother has no legal authority to act unless same was provided in an estate planning document. In addition, she has no legal standing to any funds. It appears that your sister was single and without children. If that is the case, the biological parents have initial standing to inherit and act as administrators of the estate. If you believe the stepmother may act in a manner which contravenes that, you may need to obtain an injunction at the local probate court. Good luck.

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  • Estate Administrator mishandling real property and refuses to communicate

    The judge appointed the estate administrator of the contested probate estate. She has not performed her duties in a timely fashion (took almost 3 years to transfer my home into my name); has allowed a piece of real property to go into foreclosure...

    Thomas’s Answer

    The administratorof an estate has an affirmative obligation to handle the affairs of the estate in a prudent and reasonable manner. If more than one year has elapsed and these concerns are true, you may file a Verified Complaint seeking an accounting of the executor and her removal. If you believe an adverse ruling from a judge is not supported by the facts or the law, you may file an appeal. If your attorney is not representing your interests, find another attorney. If your attorney is not responding to you, it is impossible to expect the judge to do so.

    Having said that, my response assumes that you have represented the facts accurately and completely.

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  • How does the will probation work in USA to prove the will is genuine?

    I am a Chinese lawyer working in Shanghai, and now have clients from USA who are going to make a lawsuit here in China in order to inherit properties left by their late father. The estate is an apartment in China which is occupied by the step-moth...

    Thomas’s Answer

    The laws vary from state to state. In New Jersey, the Executor typically brings the original Will to the Surrogate's office with a certified copy of the death certificate. The Will is presumed to be valid and will be admitted to probate absent a caveat (protest) being filed by a family member of potential heir prior to the probate application. If the Will is admitted to probate, a notice of the probate has to be sent to the heirs at law as well as those mentioned in the Will. If there is a question as to the validity of the Will, an action to set aside the Will may be filed with the Court. In state residents have four months after probate to file. Out of state residents have six months. Good luck.

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  • Is it necessary to file a Refunding Bond and Release in Mercer Co, NJ if there was no money distributed to the benefiaries?

    After payment of the decedants debts from the estate there was no money left for the beneficiaries.

    Thomas’s Answer

    If there is nothing to distribute, you should seek a declaration from the probate court that the estate is insolvent. It is akin to a bankruptcy proceeding for the estate. If protects the executor/administrator not only from any beneficiaries who may be believe they are entitled to an inheritance, but any claims of creditors which may be filed in the future.

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  • Does having a legal guardian mean that a previously assigned POA is no longer valid?

    I am from a very large family and have an adult sister with Downs syndrome who lives in NJ. Two of my other sisters currently have durable POA for financial affairs for the sister with Downs, but our family would now like to have me and two of my...

    Thomas’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Technically, the answer is no. The establishment of a guardianship does not void a power of attorney. The guardian has a right to void a power of attorney. On a practical level, certain courts will require that it be made void. However, absent language voiding a power of attorney in a guardianship judgment, a power of attorney remains alive and well.

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  • 3 siblings inherit home. One takes mortgage to pay off reverse mortgage. What happens if he dies?

    Mortgagee and his wife file jointly, but do not share assets. Their wills designate assets to their children from previous marriages. The other two have not contributed to funeral or property expenses, and the property cannot be sold until soil re...

    Thomas’s Answer

    This is a mess. An agreement should be executed between the parties to ensure that the rights of the mortgagee and his family are protected vis-à-vis the other siblings. Although you provided a lot of detail, I have some questions. Since you're local, please not hesitate contact me via the telephone and I'll be happy to give you a brief consultation without charge.

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  • How can a legal estate business that has been established for over 5 yrs be dissolved between two brothers if only one wants out

    Estate was legally place and registered by state (NJ) into business. Two brothers equal partners. Questions is that one brother wants to get the business dissolved to take over house. Can he do it without buying the other brother out?

    Thomas’s Answer

    Any beneficiary of an estate has a right to have their property distributed to him. In that regard, if it is an interest in a business, no one has the right to compel them to own something they do not want. These matters get resolved in one of two ways. First, either you or brother buy the other out voluntarily. Second, your brother can file an action to compel the sale of the company and/or its assets. In that case, there will a be a sale by the sheriff. I will strongly urge you to come up with a buy out as sheriff's sales using result in both sides losing as a third party buyer will only pay pennies on the dollar of what the business is worth.

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  • I put my recently deceased husband's car in my name. Can probate court come after the care to settle his bills? If so how?

    Will they want the car itself or what if I gave the car to my daughter as a give?

    Thomas’s Answer

    Theoretically, the debts of the estate come first. Distribution of assets leaves you liable as Executrix for negligent distribution. The creditor not only can come after your daughter for the care based on a theory of fraudulent transfer, but can decide instead to come after you personally for the fair market value of the car in cash.

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  • Can an irrevocable trust be dissolved? How can the trustee be forced to perform her duties?

    My husband has Alzheimer . His sister is the trustee of the irrevocable trust we set up for our children [ now 18 and 21 ] twenty years ago . My husbands illness has caused us catastrophic financial problems . I need to take money from his li...

    Thomas’s Answer

    Pay the $11,000 and dissovle the trust. There are issues which should be explored regarding why the trust was set up. However, I don't see why your sister-in-law should pay. This is not benefitting her. The $11,000 may be steep, but I don't see what other immediate options you may have. Good luck.

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  • About The Asset Protection Recovery Letter

    It was about 70 dollars worth of stuff. It states "in addition to any criminal penalties." And "If applicable the Law Office will contact you" does this mean its civil and criminal?

    Thomas’s Answer

    It appear so. However, I don't think I'd worry about criminal action for that pint.

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