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Sabrina Winters
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Sabrina Winters’s Answers

64 total


  • My mother in law is the sole beneficiary and executor of her brothers estate. Can she distribute the estate to other heirs?

    Her brother told her many times that he wanted her to be sure each of her grandchildren received 100k and his neighbor 25k. She wants to honor his request but is unsure if she can do it through the estate and does not want to give it after the es...

    Sabrina’s Answer

    It appears from the language that you are using that your mother in law's brother had a Will. If that is the case, then your mother in law will need to probate the Will in order to be appointed the Executor to manage the estate.

    If he did not have a Will, then someone will still need to probate the estate in order to properly be appointed. Then the distribution of the estate will pass according to North Carolina statutes.

    If there is a will, once the estate is opened and she is appointed the Court is going to require that the Will be followed according to the decedent's written wishes.

    There are methods in which alternate distributions can occur such as a disclaimer or family agreement for example. I would not make any distributions at all, either according to the Will or not, without first consulting an experienced Probate attorney. Too much risk in not first consulting an attorney.

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  • If there is no will for my step dad and my mother passes away after him, who inherits the property? He has siblings- no kids.

    All property is in my step dad's name

    Sabrina’s Answer

    I am sorry for the passing of your step father and mother. Unfortunately, there is no way that your question can be answered without more specific information. How were his assets titled? How were mom's assets titled? What were their assets? You may need to probate your step father's estate as well as your mother's estate to properly pass along the assets. I would suggest you call an experienced estate planning/probate attorney to discuss this matter. The only way you can obtain the answers you need is for the attorney to know more specific details.

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  • Where can I obtain an Apostille?

    My husband passed away in France and the bank needs an Apostille to certify the death cert.

    Sabrina’s Answer

    I have had to obtain one for an Italian client needing to give a power of attorney to a family member to close on his home in Italy. The Apostilles are issued by the Secretary of State. Here is the link for further information...http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/authen/aposinfo.aspx

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  • How to avoid Medcaid recovery

    I live in North Carolina and Medcaid has filled a claim on my father in law estate. My borther in law who is his son has got disabilty and I was told that if he was permanently disable and had does not have to live in the estate that he can turn...

    Sabrina’s Answer

    I do not know whether this is a viable option in this matter, but one of the methods to have Medicaid waive its claim, is to show some sort of Hardship. This process has specific time frames, certain documents must be produced, etc. Is there an attorney representing the Fiduciary of the Estate? If not, I would suggest getting in touch with an experienced attorney in your area to guide you with the Hardship matter as well as with the Probate.

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  • Can I contest the person in an' Advance Medical Directive' and/or Health Care Power of Attorney?

    HI, I don't know if I got the terms right in the initial question, so I will explain more. Ok...so, my father is 74 and has had many health problems lately, which got him thinking/talking about his will. He told me that he has designated his sis...

    Sabrina’s Answer

    A designation of an agent is usually not made in a Living Will (unless maybe it is a combined HealthCare Power of Attorney/Living WIll...which I personally do not think is the best practice). You mentioned that your father said he designated his sister to be the person to decide whether or not to pull the plug if he is ever on life support and that she did not treat him well most of his life. Has your father shown you this document that names your aunt? Is your aunt in his life currently? We each have the free will to make our own end of life decisions and to name an agent to assist us with that via the proper documents. However, having said that, if there is any undue influence or incapacity issues (for example) this could deem the document (if one exists) invalid. I am not suggesting that that is the case with your father's situation, but there is a legal process to have an advanced care directive deemed by the Court to be invalid. You would benefit greatly by consulting with an experienced attorney. In addition, perhaps also discussing this matter with your father further...if you of course think that is the appropriate approach at this time.

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  • I am a 80 year old widower with 2 adult children whom I completely trust. Somewhere around a 1 M estate.

    The kids want me to make a revocable trust, lawyer wants an irrevocable trust. So which is best to avoid probate and let the estate pass to kids as simply as possible.

    Sabrina’s Answer

    Each person's estate plan is based not only on their assets, but on their individual wishes, goals and concerns. Having said that, it is your estate plan. Your wishes, your concerns and your goals should be the driving force behind what type of plan is put in place. I would caution you in making certain the attorney you ultimately seek counsel from have experience in Estate Planning, especially if he/she is suggesting an Irrevocable Trust. There are several types of Irrevocable Trust all with their own purpose and functions. In your comment you mentioned that you want the one that will best avoid probate. If a revocable living trust is drafted properly and funded properly after signing, it is a great vehicle to avoid probate.

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  • Dad is leaving everything to me and my 3 siblings equally, but should there be an official executor of his Will??

    Certain events in the family have some family members thinking that an executor is necessary so greediness does not come in to play upon the death of our parents. Is this necessary?

    Sabrina’s Answer

    As a general rule, if someone has a named beneficiary on an asset, that asset would pass directly to the person named as the beneficiary. A Will does not need to be probated for that purpose. Having said that, naming beneficiaries on assets as a planning strategy is a risky way to plan an estate. What happens if one of those beneficiaries dies? That asset now becomes an asset that needs to be probated so that it can legally pass to someone. This is where the Will is required that names beneficiaries. The Will also names an Executor who can then be appointed by the Clerk of Court in the County where the decedent died to have legal authority over that asset. Without a Will then it would pass based on North Carolina Statutes...and that is not always the plan that decedent would have wanted. I would suggest speaking with an experienced Estate Planning attorney to discuss Dad's estate to make certain his wishes are followed.

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  • My sister is the executor of my fathers will who just passed away, Can I get a copy of the will because I was to get his house?

    I do not no if the house was left to me or not my sisiter was going to try and change the will untill she learned their was a mortgage balance who pays the mortgage and taxes until it is sold?

    Sabrina’s Answer

    If you are a beneficiary and your sister has opened the Estate with the Probate Court in the County where Dad passed, then you will receive a notice in the mail from the Clerk's office that you are a named beneficiary. If you have not received this my guess is either your sister has not opened a file with the Probate Court or she did and you were not a named beneficiary. Since it is a public record, you are free to check the file personally (if it has been opened of course) and read the Will and all other documents in the file.

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  • Mother going to nursing home.dss says dad can only protect 113000 of his 270000 in assets. can he be helped to protect more of h

    his money.Mom is 83 and Dad is 85

    Sabrina’s Answer

    The only way you can be certain what can be protected and how much, is to speak with a qualified Estate Planning attorney that has experience with Medicaid Planning. There are numerous ways in which to protect assets that are permitted and other ways that will cause a penalty period where Mom will be required to privately pay. I would not delay in contacting an attorney soon. To prepare I would start to gather all Mom and Dad's asset information (how each is owned, value, beneficiary designations, etc.); all expenses associated with Mom and Dad (healthcare, RX, Medicare, etc.); Mom and Dad's income (Social Security, Pensions, Dividends, etc.) This is the information that the attorney will need to know. I also encourage you not to apply for Medicaid when you are not certain that Mom will qualify.

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  • How does a mother legally disinherit a daughter and a son and keep them from attending her funeral after she dies?

    This is a question for a North Carolina lawyer, and what does it cost, and do legal papers need to be drawn up? How do I keep the daughter and the son from getting anything from me after I die? (For example: Property, money, etc.)

    Sabrina’s Answer

    In North Carolina individuals are permitted to disinherit children. In order to do this you should have a Will or Revocable Living Trust which dictates to who your estate is to pass. If done properly your children will not inherit. I recommend adding a statement to your documents that disinherits your children and be as specific as possible in your wording.

    If you do not put it in writing, pursuant to North Carolina statute along with your beneficiary designations on your assets, may cause your estate to actually be inherited by your children.

    I suggest you speak with an attorney who is experienced in Estate Planning and get your wishes in writing via Will or Revocable Living Trust.

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