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Carol Anne Johnson
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Carol Johnson’s Answers

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  • Can an inherited IRA be spent if currently in Medicaid nursing home?

    Lady receiving Medicaid and is in a nursing home. She recently received an inherited IRA check (from Fidelity) from deceased spouse. Can she purchase an annuity or life insurance?

    Carol’s Answer

    The answer is "maybe" - if she has not yet deposited the check into her account, she needs to seek the advice of a special needs attorney, who can best advise her about the various methods of utilizing the money so that it doesn't interfere with her nursing home care of Medicaid eligibility. Many special needs attorneys will go to visit her in the nursing facility. If she has already had the check deposited, her options are more limited.

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  • I recently became Trustee, the Trust has been retired to me. In the trust I am appointed Executor, DPOA of financial/health.

    A few months ago a beneficiary got a DPOA executed, I recently learned of this. I have since been appointed Acting Trustee. In the Trust I am listed as DPOA for both financial and health. I understand this is unusual but it was the Grantor(s) wis...

    Carol’s Answer

    First off, a trust has a Trustee - not an Executor. Is there also a will? If so, are you also the Personal Representative of the will? If another Beneficiary holds a DPOA (I am presuming for the Grantor of the Trust) that post-dates the Trust and is otherwise valid, then it is valid. ALL DPOAs expire upon the death of the Principal, regardless of what a Trust may state. Either you are misreading the trust document or it was poorly drafted. You should take it to an estate planning attorney so that you can have it explained to you and what your role is now or will be in the future when all the Grantors have passed. By the way, the best way to determine the Grantor's intent with regards to this second DPOA is to ask them.

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  • My father passed away last year, he had a policy with his job but did not list a beneficiary. how do I set up a estate?

    I have a sister that told his job that she does not want the money but I was told to have to establish and estate and let her know . I do not know the process of and estate.

    Carol’s Answer

    Why have you waited for a year to hire an attorney to do this? Of course, you don't know the process of administering an estate, if you have not gone to law school. FL law pretty much requires an attorney in a case such as yours where you are not the only beneficiary - the type of probate will be dependent upon how much the estate is worth.

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  • Does a Will trump a Bank Beneficiary designation if mental impairment is an issue?

    In 1995 my mother signed a will leaving everything to my father (now deceased), and then to me, (her only Son), if he did not survive her. Since that time, she started having TIAs, and later some mild confusion. Under the influence of a church me...

    Carol’s Answer

    Absolutely not! If your Mom is still alive, you need to ask her about it - understand, though, if she is not legally competent, then YOU could be accused of "undue influence" in getting the beneficiary designations changed. If the money belongs to your mother, it is hers to do with as she wishes, and she can leave HER money to whomever SHE pleases. Many people remember their churches in their wills or as a beneficiary of a CD - not unusual at all. Certainly, not an indication of undue influence or incompetence.

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  • Probate outside of Practice

    Can an attorney practice Probate if they do not specialize in that area and still take on a case with no experience?

    Carol’s Answer

    The answer is a qualified "yes". As mentioned, only attorneys that are Board Certified can call themselves "specialists" in a particular area of law. However, any attorney licensed in Florida can practice any type of law. So, what is the qualifier? The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit an attorney from practicing any area of law without being competent in that area. Competence can be achieved through research, study, mentoring, etc. EVERY practicing attorney starts out with "no experience".

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  • If your on disability and you also get a check for your very young child because you are sick, does the child get the money?

    Or does it go to support the child and put a roof over the child's head?

    Carol’s Answer

    If your child is the recipient, you are the Representative Payee. The money is your child's, but can be spent for their benefit. As my colleague mentions, SSA will want to see an accounting of how / on what the money is being spent. I suggest putting the money for your child in a separate bank account to help you keep track of it.

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  • If you have a Will and Testament is it required by Florida law that you go through Probate if you have a legal Will & Testament?

    If you have a Will and Testament is it required by Florida law that you go through Probate if you have a legal Will & Testament? I have a Will and Testament. My mothers home was left to me and it's worth less than 56k. Having issue with mortgag...

    Carol’s Answer

    I'm confused - are you asking about your LW&T or your mother's LW&T? If you are asking about your mother's Will, it does have to be probated. The will must be filed with the probate court within 10 days of your mom's death, and any property (real and personal) will be frozen until her legitimate debts are paid from the probate assets and title has been transferred to you by final order of the probate court. In your case, if the home is the ONLY item in her estate, and you are the ONLY heir, you will probably qualify for a Summary Administration (which is inexpensive) or a mere Determination of Homestead. The mortgage company will NOT provide any information until you get a court order that allows them to do so.

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  • Having a legal guardian

    Hi I am currently 16 years old 17 end of December, I want to attend college in IN where I am from in a year I currently live in FL with my mom. So I would have to pay out of state tuition, but I can't afford it so I want my Godparents in IN to bec...

    Carol’s Answer

    As Attorney Haynes states, it doesn't so much matter who is acting as your guardian (and, I am sure your Mom would NOT want to have to give up her parental rights!), but instead how long you have resided in IN. Here is a suggestion. Find out what the residency requirement is and move to IN (presumably, with your godparents) ahead of that. Finish high school there and / or attend a year of Community College to satisfy the residency.

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  • Do I need to be approved SSID/SSD to receive alimony?

    I am disabled and getting divorce. Do I have to receive Social Security Disability to be granted alimony?

    Carol’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    No, alimony has more to do with the length of your marriage, the need for alimony to keep a spouse off the public dole, and other factors. I have never heard of alimony being denied because someone was NOT on SSDI or SSI. There is really no relation between the two. In fact, your disability will be a good argument for the NEED for alimony. Not knowing more about your spouse's financial situation, this is the best answer I can give. This is a family law question and I am moving it there.

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  • Is it possible for my mom to change my grandmother will without her knowing

    My grandmother passed away and my mom gave me a copy of a will with my name on it for house her my name is incorrect on the will how can I find out if this will is real or fake. I think my mom had the will changed when my grandmother was put into...

    Carol’s Answer

    Attorney Harvey gave you an excellent response. I would only add that just because the house has been devised to you does NOT mean that you assume the debt your mother took on. In fact, the loan may not be valid at all, if your grandmother was not competent to make such a loan and your mother was not her Power of Attorney. Do you have a copy of an original will that your grandmother had? I find it strange that your mother would not know your name, but maybe... Hire a good attorney to review your options.

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