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Carol Anne Johnson
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Carol Johnson’s Answers

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  • Is summary administration the correct method to probate a Florida will to take possession of a bank account?

    I am the administrator and only beneficiary in the will. Our home was joint right of survivor and is now in my name. The only asset that is not JROS or has a beneficiary is a linked bank account between me and my life partner. I took possession...

    Carol’s Answer

    I am hoping that the Will has the appropriate "rest and residue" clause to make that account part of the testate estate. If so, then you can file for Summary Administration, and, since the amount is de minimus and you are the sole beneficiary, you may be able to do this without an attorney, although I would recommend - for expediency - that you use one.

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  • Jointly owened property both have passed away wife had a will husband didn't does it automatically go by wife's will?

    Even if the wife passed a way before the husband does her will stand valid?

    Carol’s Answer

    No. In the scenario you describe, the court looks to the "last to die" - in this case, the husband. If the husband had no will, then everything passes according to SC's intestacy statutes. Had the husband died first, if the property in question was jointly owned with survivorship, then it automatically goes to the wife. If not, then half goes to the wife and the husband's half is divided according to intestacy laws. It sounds like you should have someone review the estate.

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  • How much will it cost to have a very simple will written up?

    I'm 22 years old and married. I have 4 children two of which are not my husbands but my son has never known his biological father as is "dad". My question is since I don't have anything like land, assets or of that sort besides a truck can I hav...

    Carol’s Answer

    As Attorney Lewis says, if your son's father's rights were not terminated, he has the right to see his son. Also, although you could put such a nomination in a will, you should ALSO have a Designation of Pre-Need Guardian, in which you would name who you would prefer to be the Guardian for your children and for yourself should something happen that makes you incompetent to care for them or yourself. The courts DO take those into account.

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  • Florida state law says that any Adult Protective Services investigation shall be closed after a period of 60 days...SO:

    What legal options does an elder law attorney have when their clients have been dealing with an investigation that has lasted more than 100 days--even though the lead investigator has already told the attorney he has found "no fire -- and not even...

    Carol’s Answer

    First off, did the lead investigator put his opinions in writing to the attorney? If not, then request that he do so. Secondly, yes that is what the statute states, but they will err on the side of protection where there is a back-log of cases, or there is any hint that abuse may be occurring. Has it gone to hearing? There isn't much information to go on here, but I would have your attorney put his/her concerns in writing to the agency and ask them to either bring the matter to a hearing or close the investigation. As to punitive damages - well, have their actions (or inaction) resulted in a quantifiable harm? As a state agency, punitive damages are hard (if not impossible) to come by.

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  • How do I put a property deed that has me listed as JTWROS in my name when the lead owner passes?

    The lead owner was my mother, who has passed. I would also like to put the mortgage in my name. How would I do that?

    Carol’s Answer

    The deed and loan are two completely different things. My colleagues are correct as to using the death certificate to effect the transfer to your name on the deed, but you will want to get all your "credit ducks" in a row before contacting the mortgage company. Unless her loan is assumable, you will need to get a new loan. If they allow you to refinance, (it helps if you can show that you made the past mortgage payments) you can take advantage of some great loan rates. Good luck.

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  • My father just made me executor of the estate I downloaded the paperwork of the internet is there anything

    my father just made me executor of the estate I downloaded the paperwork of the internet is there anything else I need to know. I know all the paper work has to be notarized. I also have power of attorney over my dad and mother. my mother has Alzh...

    Carol’s Answer

    One of the drawbacks to the getting legal paperwork from the Internet is that is imbues the recipient with an unwarranted confidence that they are "prepared". Yes, there are MANY things that you need to know, but what those are will be dependent upon complete your parents' current situations by a knowledgeable elder law attorney. Unless you are completely familiar with Florida Statutes (including the fact that Florida's POA statute changed in 2011), you need to confer with an attorney. BTW, Florida does not refer to an "executor" in probate matters - it is called a Personal Representative or PR.

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  • Question one! If there is a Trust between husband and wife and one of them passes does the trust have to be renamed ?

    We have a Trust, my husband and I, if I or my husband passes does the Trust have to be renamed? Question 2, our house is in the Trust does the Deed have to be changed to who ever is still living?

    Carol’s Answer

    This is a second question on the same topic - it seems as if you are not really sure about what the Trust paragraphs are saying, as both your questions should be defined within the trust instrument, itself. Why don't you take it to a local estate planning attorney and have them review it with you to make sure that it a) does what you want it to do, and b) has the proper provisions in place in case one of you pre-deceases the other. Generally, though, the deed won't need to be changed so long as it is titled to the trustee of the trust and their successors. Sometimes, when selling a home that is in trust, you will need to bring the death certificate of the trustee and a certificate nominating the successor trustee to the closing of the sale.

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  • Question one! If there is a Trust between husband and wife and one of them passes does the trust have to be renamed ?

    We have a Trust, my husband and I, if I or my husband passes does the Trust have to be renamed? Question 2, our house is in the Trust does the Deed have to be changed to who ever is still living?

    Carol’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It depends. Q1 - no, the trust doesn't have to be renamed and, depending on how the trust was drafted, may have become irrevocable upon the first spouse's passing, 2) no, again. The trustee holds legal title to the house (in the name of the Trust) for the benefit of the beneficiary. Depending on the trust instructions, the house can either remain in the trust or be sold by the Trustee. No change of deed is needed, but a certificate nominating the new successor trustee may be warranted, depending on the wording of the trustee paragraph of the trust instrument.

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  • I am Canadian, and my parents have a Florida property. Both have passed and I would like to sell it. How do I go about this?

    I am the estate trustee with one sibling, and the property is not stated as left to either of us, and we both agree to sell it. Do I need a Canadian lawyer, a Florida lawyer, or both?

    Carol’s Answer

    It depends. Where is the trust being administered? Where were your parents residing when they passed? I am not sure what you mean by "the property is not stated as left to either of us" - does that mean there was no will? Does it mean that the property is not owned by the trust? If there is nothing that designates the distribution of the property, a probate proceeding in Florida will have to be opened to take care of it. It may just be an ancillary proceeding, if probate is also opened in Canada.

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  • I need an aggressive attorney?

    I inherited 50 percent of my late father's modest estate (approx. 160k total) and was designated as P.R. in my dad's will. My brother.( only other heir has taken total control of the estate from the day after my dad's suicide until now. He and his...

    Carol’s Answer

    AVVO rules prevent us on this forum for bidding for your services. There are several avenues for finding a probate litigation attorney; a) the Find a Lawyer tab at the top of the AVVO page, or b) the Florida Bar website "Find a Lawyer" link. These are the best places to start your search. If you believe that your 'bros' attorney has been unethical, you can also file a complaint with the Florida Bar.

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