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Suzanne Benvenuto Simpson
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Suzanne Simpson’s Answers

11 total


  • How to add my senen neices and nephews to my will in the next 7 days?

    Myself, my beneficiries and the executor of my estate will all be on the same flights to and from China within the next 9 days.

    Suzanne’s Answer

    From the way you phrased your question, it sounds like you would like to add your nieces and nephewss as contingent beneficiaries to a Will you already have, in which you named your beneficiaries and Executor (who happen to be traveling to China with you.) You would want to consider amending your Will by signing a Codicil in which you would add your nieces and nephews as contingent beneficiaries should some unforseen tragedy occur on your trip that would preclude your beneficiaries from receiving their bequest under your current Will. You would also want to add a contingent Executor in case your currently named Executor was unable to act. Usually, it is wise to name a contingent Excecutor (in Maryland called a Personal Representative) and contingent beneficiares as a matter of course when establishing your Last Will and Testament. I agree with the attorney who previously wrote that many lawyers would be most willing to prepare a Codicil of the nature you describe with a very quick turn around time. I also agree with the other attorney who wrote that you may want to have a complete plan prepared, including a power of attorney, medical directive and so forth. Funny how traveling abroad is often the impetus for people to get their plans in shape! Have a great time on your trip!

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  • My sister is the POA and EOTW for our Mother. Can the other sibblings know all investments and money and any changes that happen

    I've been the caregiver for the last 2yrs. My Mother has dementia. My mother wants it to be open and even so she can't hide investments or change beneficiaries.That sister might agree to it but my brother and I do not think she is completly hones...

    Suzanne’s Answer

    Wow--sounds like an uncomfortable situation. Do you by chance have copies of the documents? Regardless, I'd suggest you discuss, confidentially, with an attorney and that you are clear about the facts to support your concerns. As your mother's primary care giver, it seems that you'd want to have open communication with your sister while she "holds the purse strings." Certainly, your sister has a fiduciary duty to exercise special care with regard to funds she manages for your mother.

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  • Is awill valid if hand written signed by the person and witnessed by someone other than familiy in Texas

    the person in ? died in Texas and has property there and arkansas also there is an older will but the handwritten will refutes the first done by a lawyer

    Suzanne’s Answer

    You would be best-served by talking to a Texas licensed attorney. Some states recognize holgraphic wills (hand written) if they are attested to (witnessed). Usually two disinterested witnesses are required. In certain situations, in some states, the holographic will doesn't need to be witnessed (for example, in Maryland if its a soldier in combat, and then there are still limitations). Because of the variations state by state it's important to focus on what the law is in Texas.

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  • When can revocable trust be revoked

    My husband had a stroke and is now mentally incompetent. in his estate planning he made a revokable trust .I have durable power of attorney, can I revoke that trust? Under which circumstances can I revoke that trust?

    Suzanne’s Answer

    I send you my sympathy that you and your husband face this current challenge. I agree with the prior responder that it is important to review both the power of attorney and the trust document with an experienced attorney so that you'll be able to come up with a course of action in the best interests of your husband. If you were named as the successor trustee/co-trustee and/or agent you do have certain rights and fiduciary responsibilities with which to comply. You would want to consider all of your options so that you may make an educated decision. Incompetency and death are usually times when an revocable trust becomes irrevocable and there are not enough facts known to make a determination.

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  • As a beneficiary do you have to accept a will or trust?

    If you cannot accept, do you have to go through a legal process? Or can you just say no? Does it vary by the amount of money that is being given? Does it change when property is involved?

    Suzanne’s Answer

    If you mean must you accept a bequest made for you in a Will or Trust, there are circumstances in which you may "disclaim" the bequest. That may mean that the bequest skips you and passes to your children, or it may mean that the bequest passes to another party instead, it depends on your particular circumstances and what is stated in the Will or Trust. You may have to file a "Disclaimer" document with the probate court where the Will is being probated (even if a Trust is involved) and in some circumstances, there may be a time limit to "disclaim," for example nine months in certain cases when a spouse is "disclaiming" a bequest. Disclaiming a bequest can be complex and raise issues that may not automatically occur to you. For example, an attorney may need to be appointed to determine whether it's in your children's best interest to lose their place in line to receive the bequest if you decide to disclaim. I'd consider talking to an estate planning attorny in Nevada (if that is where the trust/will is being handled) to find out what your options are. Good luck!

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  • If I am listed as an heir to an estate, my sister is the executor, am I allowed to obtain a copy of the will and if so,

    will the person who made the will be notified that I tried to obtain a copy of the will?

    Suzanne’s Answer

    If the person has passed away, the holder of the Last Will and Testament must file it with the Register of Wills (usually in the county where the decedent last resided). Then it becomes a public document. So, you could go up to the Register of Wills office and request to see it. Also, the Register of Wills would send you "Notice" as an "interested person" that the Will was filed. If the person has not yet passed away, then you don't have a right to obtain a copy, in fact the executor may not necessarily have a copy. You may wish to speak with an attorney to futher clarify your particular situation because this is general information.

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  • If you want to change something in a will without a lawyer is it lega lto write a letter to the lawyer and have it notorized?

    My Uncle owns a shipping company and on his death bed wanted to change his will to give all of the company to my Aunt contingent that he when he died she becomes the owner. He wrote a letter to his lawyer that outlined the changes and had it notor...

    Suzanne’s Answer

    You are correct that a letter to the lawyer, even if notarized, may not rise to the level of a formal codicil, which is the appropriate way to amend a Last Will and Testament.
    You may want to have an attorney review any documentation concerning the legal entity of your Uncle's shipping company: Operating Agreement, Shareholder's Agreement, or the like. You'll also want an attorney to review the letter and the Will. That will allow the attorney to have all the pieces of the puzzle before her prior to offering any advice.

    A gift is not considered completed until the transfer is actually made and delivered. It may be that stock certificates would need to have been endoresed over to your Aunt. It may also be an issue that your Aunt was a witness rather than a disinterested non-beneficiary. However, if your Uncle's company was a sole proprietership, then perhaps an argument could be made that there was a gift. More information is needed.

    It would be interesting to know who was to inherit the company other than your Aunt and if a buy-out could be arranged with those parties using other assets of the estate that your Aunt will, in fact, receive.

    I suggest that your Aunt contact an attorney to review her options. Good luck to her!

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  • Do I still need to probate a will if there is no assets?

    will and trust

    Suzanne’s Answer

    It makes sense that if there are no assets there is nothing to probate. However, in most states, if you have the original Will in your possession, you are required under the law to file it with the probate office in the county in which the decedent lived. In Maryland, for example, you would file the Will and include a form stating it was a "Will of No Estate."

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  • Where do I search to see if a will has been filed?

    Is there a pubic online file to find records for wills?

    Suzanne’s Answer

    Your best bet is to go the the probate office, which may be called the Register of Wills in the county where the decedent lived. Usually, you'll find that office in the county courthouse or another administrative office near by.

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  • What rights do beneficiaries have to see copies of the will and trust, and a list assets of the estate?

    My grandfather has passed away and had a will and trust set up. I was told by the executor of the estate that I am in the trust and will (I knew that already as I have seen copies a few years ago that my grandfather showed me.) The executor has ...

    Suzanne’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    While I can not speak to the law in California, generally if your grandfather passed with a Will, then the executor had a duty to file the Will with the probate court in the county where your grandfather lived. The Will would become a public document after your grandfather passed away and it was filed. So, you could go up to the clerk's office at the probate court and ask to see the file Most likely, the name of the firm who wrote the Will and Trust will be stamped on the document. Also, you may be able to find out if the executor hired the same lawyer or a different firm to help with distributing the property in the estate.
    With regard to the Trust, in some jurisdictions, as a beneficiary, you are entitled to see that portion of the Trust that pertains to you, though not necessarily the whole document. As the other attorney mentioned, many Trusts contain provisions stating that the beneficiaries are entitled to receive an annual accounting of how the trust assets are being managed. However, usually those accountings are only required once a year. So depending when your grandfather passed, you may be in for a wait. You may want to consult an attorney to request assistance in sending a letter to the executor and/or lawyer who wrote the Trust requesting that the executor send you a copy of the trust, an accounting and a list of the trust assets.

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