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Carol Anne Johnson
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Carol Johnson’s Answers

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  • If Fl Bank POD bypasses Will/Probate why did I have to List Everything in the Chk/Sav Accts in Summary of Administration?

    Two part question=the above &, secondly, Girl @ bank first just said I was not on POD acct. (I was PR & Sole Ben) later said, "I have two cards & your name is not on either one." This girl was very difficult but will not get into that. Finally, w...

    Carol’s Answer

    Attorney Pippen is correct. And, your posting is very unclear. If you were NOT named as joint account holder or POD beneficiary on the accounts then they DO NOT PASS OUTSIDE PROBATE. The bank official was correct. If you can even find someone to file your claim, expect a counter-suit for attorneys' fees. Frequently, people misunderstand what is required to create a proper POD, so it is possible that the steps were not followed that would have made that account POD.

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  • How do I get myself or a court appointed executor when the named executor does not execute the will?

    I have been going round and round for years now on trying to get my fathers will executed. There is no record of the will in probate court where he lived (Lakeland FL, Polk County) and the lawyer will not respond to me, or my lawyer from here who ...

    Carol’s Answer

    You need a Florida lawyer to file on your behalf in the Polk County Probate Court. I am presuming that you are NOT the only heir, so maybe another heir will go in with you on getting the matter properly settled. In FL, MOST estates must be probated by a licensed Florida attorney. You say the estate is sizable, so yours will fall within those. Get the current PR removed and have yourself appointed. Your attorney can demand the will be presented for probating (which, by law, should have happened within 10 days of your father's death.) The longer you continue to resist paying an attorney to do this correctly, the longer (and potentially more expensive) this matter will become.

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  • If a customer says she had my work inspected and did not is that a breach of trust?

    I have went back several times to try to please the lady, yet I can't meet this inspector. "It would be impossible" her words. I have went back three times already and this proposed inspector continues to come up with even more between visits.

    Carol’s Answer

    This is actually not a Trusts question. A trust is an estate planning solution. Here, you seem to be describing a contract disagreement. Since you don't say what the contract was for, or what you were hired to do, without knowing more and the extent of your contractual relationship, it will be difficult to give you a meaningful answer. One thing - do not conduct business with her by phone. Either use email or regular (certified) mail so that you can maintain some sort of paper trail with this "difficult to please" client. Mediation is another option.

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  • My mother passed and left me and my brother a house

    Can I get a lawyer that will charge me at the very end. when I get my part??? The thing is that my brother won't sell the house and gave me an appraisal for 75k when the house is around the 300k! and he wont show me documents for debts she had and...

    Carol’s Answer

    Your brother can do anything that you will agree to. It sounds as if he is trying to bully you into selling you the house under fair market value. You will need to get another appraisal done, preferably by someone in the area, but you can start with getting a CMA (market analysis) from a GOOD realtor in the area who may want to list the home for sale. Has probate already been administered for her estate? If so, then the home is most likely properly titled. If it has not been, and your brother is refusing to do so, you MAY hire an attorney to open probate as a beneficiary. You really do need an attorney to represent your interests here. You may have to file an action called "partition" with the state to get the true value of your portion of the house.

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  • Widow - FL Homestead Rights - is it abandonment?

    My mother moved out the day of my father's funeral. He had a will and in his will, he left me the house we lived in. I had moved out, but moved back before my father passed to take care of him when he fell ill. My mother filed for the 30% share (e...

    Carol’s Answer

    There is a lot more information needed to give a cogent answer; did your father own the house before he married his wife? Was there a waiver of homestead signed by your mother? Generally speaking, your mother can elect to take a LE interest in the property (although the election period has probably passed) or get a 50% ownership interest, but that is only if she is not already on title as tenants by the entireties or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. In either of those cases, the house now wholly belongs to her and was not your father's to devise. Abandonment pertains to child custody - not home ownership. If you are not happy with your current attorney, you should hire someone that you trust to handle your situation. Based on the information provided, the best answer I can give is "It depends."

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  • When does a trust become effective. Is it when the person dies or when the trust documents are read?

    Also, as a beneficiary of a revocable trust, am I entitled to receive all documents including previous versions of the trust?

    Carol’s Answer

    A trust becomes effective as of the date of creation, presuming it was validly executed, and funding. Trusts are not like wills, and, actually, neither document is "read". Wills must be filed within 10 days of the death of the testator, but trusts, particularly revocable trusts, are instruments that are used by the Grantor to maintain their assets for their own benefit and, following their death, to direct the distribution of the remaining trust assets. Since the Grantor of a revocable trust retains the right to amend or revoke the trust at any time prior to death, you do not have any rights to an accounting of how they chose to use their own trust fund assets. If you are a beneficiary of the (now) irrevocable trust, you have a right to an annual accounting of the assets in the trust and any documents that pertain to you.

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  • How do I find a trust fund for myself if the trustor has passed away

    When I was growing up, I clearly remember hearing that my paternal grandmother had a trust fund set up for me to be able to go to college. She developed Alzheimer's as she got older, so asking her wasn't an option. My father (her son) passed away ...

    Carol’s Answer

    Generally speaking, such a fund would have been established through an attorney or with a bank. At the time her estate was probated such a trust would have most likely come to light. Without more than "hearing" about it to go on, the trust either was NOT set up or was spent on other things for the benefit of your grandmother. If you know who her estate planning attorney was, you might want to check with his office, but I would imagine that the trust fund would have shown up by now.

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  • In Florida how long does the executor of the will have to distribute funds to heirs?

    Estate consists of one house that is to be divided equally among four heirs. One of the heirs is the executor. She is holding the house for one year before putting on market.

    Carol’s Answer

    I am presuming that the home was the homestead of the deceased? If so, the Personal Representative will have to put the creditors on notice (even for homestead property - the courts require it) and then file for a Determination of Homestead, which will cause the court to issue an order conveying the property as indicated in the will. Then, it can be sold. That shouldn't take too long, but a year is allowed. Be aware that the attorney for the PR is NOT also the attorney for any beneficiaries. If you feel that something is not being done correctly, you will need to hire your own attorney to protect your interests.

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  • Can a trust be formed to do the following:?

    I would like to put monies in a trust to buy a house. This house is to be lived in by me and my husband. My husband is tax exempt due to veteran disability. He is also bi-polar and cannot be trusted to outright own property because if he's on a...

    Carol’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I don't often disagree with my colleagues, but here in Florida, the Homestead laws are a matter of Constitutional right. So long as you and your husband are married and residing in this property, it is treated as your (and his) homestead. You really need to speak with an elder law attorney who has experience with FL real estate and homestead law. There are ways to make sure that he gets a LE, which you have mentioned, and also ways to do a transfer while still maintaining your homestead property tax exemptions - but, that requires some very specific language in the deed. You should also think about what other provisions you want for your husband, should he survive you - is the trust to be for his primary benefit? Are the funds being used marital funds or non-marital? A good attorney can help guide you into the correct instrument for your particular situation. Good luck.

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  • Do i have to pay her anything?

    me and young lady had a child he died of sids. the funeral was $3,700.00 and hospital bills less than $2,500 from what i have been told and have seen. her brother paid(in full) for the funeral as gift to help out even though she raised $4,100.00 o...

    Carol’s Answer

    Your child just died and you are whining about paying for his funeral expenses and that you have not received any money from his death??? Wow. Wow. I am speechless.

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