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Dawn Renee Levine
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Dawn Levine’s Answers

69 total


  • Need to change the executor to my parents will and need to have a will completed for me.

    Need to change the executor to my parents will and need to have a will completed for me.

    Dawn’s Answer

    Getting the executor changed in your parents' Wills shouldn't be difficult or expensive as long as: that is all they need and they still have the mental capacity to do that. In a nutshell, they must know what they have, who their family members are and what they want to happen to their things when they are gone (without any coaching from anyone). Getting a Will done for you should not be difficult as long as you know what you want to do.

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  • Our autistic son will be 18 yrs. old on April 30 2016. How many months prior to his birthday do we start the guardianship?

    Our son is special needs. Autistic. Bi-polar, mental retardation. My husband and I will need to be guardians by April 30th 2016 when he turns 18. I need to know how many months prior to his birthday we start the guardianship process. He will ...

    Dawn’s Answer

    Based on the current turnaround on cases in the Cobb County Probate court, I recommend starting at least 3 months in advance of his birthday.

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  • Can a trustee of a trust sell his half interest of a home that is in the trust?

    My grandfather set up a trust giving his 2 sons trustee powers over this trust. One of the sons wants to sell his half interest in the home and executes a quit claim deed to his granddaughter for his share of the home. Can he do this?

    Dawn’s Answer

    This depends very much on what authority is given to the Trustees under the Trust Agreement and what it has to say about how the home is to be received. For example, it might contain instructions on who it should be offered to first. It might restrict selling for a particular period of time. It might dictate that the home is to be used for a particular purpose. If you have a copy of the Trust, I recommend visiting an attorney experienced in working with Trusts. He or she should be able to tell you whether this was a permissible action by the Trustee.

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  • I'm POA for neighbor. Her son passed. Need probate his will. She's successor. Has dementia. As POA can I petition for her? How?

    And do I need a lawyer? Everything in my neighbor's son will go to my neighbor.

    Dawn’s Answer

    So sorry to hear about this terrible situation. If you are in possession of the Will you can file the petition for probate. You cannot sign in her stead with a Power of Attorney though. The Court will appoint someone to speak for her (Guardian Ad Litem). You probably do need the help of an attorney. Someone will need to be put in charge of the estate since your neighbor can't do it. An attorney can assist you with making a good selection. Your neighbor may need to have a Guardian appointed (different from the Guardian Ad Litem mentioned earlier). She may also need a Conservator appointed for her since she has dementia. An attorney can guide you through the decision-making process on that too. A consultation with someone who practices in probate and guardianship would be money well spent in this situation.

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  • How long can executor take to close an estate?

    My father passed away 5 years ago and left a will appointing my sister executor. He left the family home to be split between his 6 children. He left all other assets to my mother who had moved out the home and was under my sister's care. She has n...

    Dawn’s Answer

    I would not recommend starting with a filing for accounting or removal. These can be expensive options. I would hire an attorney to write a letter asking the appropriate questions and using the appropriate probate lingo. Often, a letter of this type can get things moving for far less cost than starting at the courthouse. If you get the appropriate letter sent and you don't get a response or you don't get reasonable explanations only then would I go to the court filings described here. Doing things this way can possibly save you money and can also help lay the groundwork for making the offending party pay your legal expenses.

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  • Should I get a will or a living trust?

    I have over a million in assets. I want to leave it to my significant other and my siblings.

    Dawn’s Answer

    In your case, I would lean more toward a Trust rather than relying on a Will. The reason is your desire to leave property to a significant other. This person is not legally related to you and has little or no rights here in Georgia. This kind of situation can easily result in a Will contest (expensive). Also, since a Will has no legal effect until you pass, that leaves your significant other very vulnerable during your lifetime. If you were incapacitated a Will would do nothing to protect your significant other. In addition, if your Will were lost then your significant other could be accidentally disinherited, (or even deliberately disinherited if someone hid or destroyed the Will. It happens.) Of course, there are a lot of factors to consider before making the decision to opt for a Trust. For example, what kind of assets you have is important. Certain kinds of assets can't be held in trust without tax issues. Some assets can go to loved ones without the use of a Will or a Trust. It is also very important for you to be open and honest with the estate planning attorney about how everyone gets along. Will they circle the wagons upon your death or are you the glue holding everyone together? Hiring an estate planning attorney would save much more money in the long run than trying to do this yourself.

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  • What form is used to file Petition to courts for executor mishandling estate?

    McDuffie County Courthouse said we need to provide the form

    Dawn’s Answer

    I am sorry to say that there is no standard form for this. You will probably need to hire an attorney to draft this for you. Some courts are very forgiving in what they will accept. In some, a letter complaining of the wrongdoing is enough to get you into court. You would probably want an attorney to assist you with the hearing also. Unfortunately, I think you will need to hire help.

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  • If you die without a will is the house you and your wife own both on deed consider your estate?

    If you own a home with a spouse and one spouse dies and the home deed is in both of your name jointly is this part of the decease person estate that hospital can come after for bills.

    Dawn’s Answer

    It depends on how the deed is written. There are two ways to own property jointly in Georgia. One way requires probate which exposes the property to creditors. The other way passes automatically to the survivor which makes it very difficult to reach for most creditors. You need to have an attorney who regularly practices in probate to look at the deed. If you hold it in the way that exposes it to probate and creditors, there are other options available for your protection. Again, an experienced probate attorney can help you assess whether the protections available to you as the surviving spouse would be helpful to you. Do not delay. Some of your options have time limits.

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  • Probating A Will

    In Georgia, does the 12 month support law (for minors) superceed someones last will & testament? Exp: The parent of 3 children pass away. Two of these children are over 18 years of age and one is younger than 18. Does the minor autimaticall...

    Dawn’s Answer

    The minor (or whoever is taking care of them) does have the right to claim the entire estate. The thinking behind this law is that those over 18 can support themselves while a minor cannot. There is a two year limit from the date of death to file this claim. If an objection is filed to the Year's Support claim then there is essentially a checkbook type analysis of how much is needed for the child's care. Objections can be filed by creditors but, they are most often filed by heirs/beneficiaries who feel they are being cheated. It is entirely possible that a judge might conclude that the entire estate is needed for the child's care. Things that would be considered include how young is the child, how much is in the estate, what special educational or health needs might the child have, etc. It is important to consider that a protracted legal battle can lead to all the money going to the attorneys. I suggest getting everyone together to discuss the best outcome for everyone, if that is possible.

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  • My husband passed away in TX and I reside in GA. I have found he has bank accounts that were not joint. What do I need to do?

    We have joint accounts and there are two account that has his name only. How do I get access to those accounts?

    Dawn’s Answer

    Before you file for probate, check with the bank to see if he had a POD or TOD on the account. Bank accounts can have the equivalent of a beneficiary designation on them (called Pay on Death or Transfer on Death). If it doesn't have that you will probably need to file for probate. However, you said he died in TX. Did he reside there or just die there? If he did not live in Texas, the probate should not be there. It should be in the state in which he maintained his residence.

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