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Carol Anne Johnson
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Carol Johnson’s Answers

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  • If I plan to deed my home to my son, life estate back, will my senior property tax exemption in Hillsborough Cnty FL be viable?

    For tax planning purposes, I plan to deed my homesteaded single fam. residence to my eldest son, and he will give me life estate back for my comfort and protection, to avoid probate taxes... will the life estate aspect deny the home my senior (age...

    Carol’s Answer

    If you want to avoid probate altogether, you should deed the property to your own Revocable Trust. With the proper statutory language, it will also protect your homestead tax exemptions and then can be distributed to your son upon your death. Unless you have other assets that put you over the Florida Estate Tax limit, a trust should be all you need. Speak with an estate planning attorney about all your available options.

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  • Do I have to get a lawyer from my state or the state in which my grandma passed in?

    6 yrs ago my grandma passed in NYC me and my brother asked about money that was supposed to b left to us but the guy said he can only speak to my dad who was power of attorney. My dad said there's no money grandma was bankrupt which we know that's...

    Carol’s Answer

    Just to satisfy yourself, you should contact a probate attorney in Rockland County, NY who can advise you as to your rights in the matter. It may be that the will you found was revoked by a newer will, and her bankruptcy should be a matter of public record. The NY attorney will be able to check these things out for you.

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  • Can and how do I file for adult guardianship of my 39 year old son who has mental heath problems if we live in different states?

    My son is a 39 yr. old with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He has been ill the last 12 years. He receives S.S. disability and lives in the state of Michigan (Detroit). His mental heath is deteriorating with increased signs of paranoia and the i...

    Carol’s Answer

    While I agree with Attorney McMahon in principal, I know that in FL some professional guardians have recently come under a lot of scrutiny for unethical practices. I do not know how well such guardians are policed in MI. I do agree that you need to contact a guardianship attorney in Wayne County, MI. They can advise you as to the rights your son may have to appear on his own behalf. In SC, an attorney is appointed for the ward by the probate court to act as a guardian ad litem - to protect their interests. The same may be true in MI. Good luck.

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  • Can I just state in my trust that everything I own goes to {so and so}? Can the executor of my trust also be the beneficiary?

    I have no blood relatives.

    Carol’s Answer

    It sounds as if you are trying to draft your own trust without having the knowledge of how to do so and what it entails. First of, there is no "executor" of a trust - they are Trustees. Secondly, having the same person as Trustee and Beneficiary presents (especially if that isn't you) may create a conflict of interest. If you are creating a trust, why would you want it to benefit someone else? Typically, that occurs upon your death. There are many things that you should discuss with a good estate planning attorney.

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  • How long do I have to file a creditor against an estate.

    It has been a year and a half and the estate still has not been opened. I paid part on the funeral and all of the head stone. But probate said I cant do anything because the estate was never opened. But his son took over as his personal representa...

    Carol’s Answer

    I am a bit surprised that anyone in the probate clerk's office would give you (incorrect) legal advice. You have a right to file what is known as a caveat, or as Attorney Atwater states, file for probate yourself, as a creditor. There is no advantage to waiting, as the longer you wait, the better the chance is that your time for filing a claim will expire.

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  • Medicaid planning using Life Estate...yes or no?

    Is a Life Estate deed sufficient to protect my home from Medicaid recovery / liens while allowing me to be eligible for Medicaid if needed? Please base answers on South Carolina laws.

    Carol’s Answer

    SC has instituted the Medicaid Recovery Act and will seek to recover from Medicaid payments made under certain circumstances, but not all. You really did not give enough information to give you a definitive answer. A lot depends upon your age, whether or not you have a spouse or other family member living in the home, when you began receiving Medicaid services, etc. You really should speak with an Elder Law Attorney to see what might work best for your particular circumstances. If you transfer the property, you may trigger a penalty period.

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  • I live in California,my mother died 5/4/14..She signed over a few properties,to my two sisters..We had a major gulf,in our famil

    Due to one sister taking all of another sisters assets after she passed away,19 years ago.So we had little contact,over the last 10 years.My sister told my mother I was dead..She was not sure. of this..So she left her homestead worth 80k in her na...

    Carol’s Answer

    As a direct descendant of your mother, if there is no will, then you will get a share of the assets that are not already in another sister's name. If the homestead was put into your sister's name, that belongs to and is not part of the probate estate. As mentioned by Melanie, any insurance that is payable to your deceased sister will have to go to her estate, unless a remainder beneficiary is named. You definitely will have to hire an attorney to both review your situation and file probate for you, particularly if your mother resided and passed away in FL.

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  • SUE suntrust bank trust dept.

    When my father died 1990 or 1991 after the feds and the banks got there cut there was $940,000 or $980,000 in the trust and now less than $700,000 when they sent the trust accounting statement it claims they only made for 2014 $8.000 on over last...

    Carol’s Answer

    I am not sure, based on what you have stated here, that you have a case against the Trustee. Remember, the stock market took a terrible hit when the housing market collapsed in 2008, so much of the portfolio probably was lost during that time. A lot depends on how the Trustee was instructed to invest - a very cautious investment strategy may not be designed to earn income, so much as to preserve principal. You should speak with a trust litigator who will first need to see the records on the trust assets and how they were invested. Good luck.

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  • When my ex husband passed away recently I was paying him for company stock. He had no will but our son is his only living heir.

    Am I obligated to continue to make these payments

    Carol’s Answer

    If you have received the stock and still owe money for the transaction then, of course, you are obligated to continue making the payments to the estate of your ex. That your son will receive the benefit of this transaction should make it even easier to do.

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  • Inheritence

    it..If I get an inheritence can collection agencies or creditors take that money from me. If so what can I do legally to protect it. Advise Thanks Ron

    Carol’s Answer

    Maybe. As Attorney Zelinger points out, it depends on how/when you receive the inheritance; if the assets are in trust, the type of trust, etc. If you have not received the inheritance and you are concerned about creditor judgments, you may want to consider bankruptcy. Speak with an estate planning attorney about all your options. Of course, the way you receive the inheritance is subject to the estate planning objectives of the party who is leaving their estate to you.

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