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Carol Anne Johnson
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Carol Johnson’s Answers

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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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  • I need my Aunt's Death Certificate. She died several years (around 10 years ago) in California.

    Hi, I need my Aunt's Death Certificate. She died several years ago (around 10 years) in California. She and my dad were owners of my grandparents' house. My dad past away last year and he never took care of the house nor did he request her death c...

    Carol’s Answer

    You will need to know the county in which she passed. A certified copy of her death certificate can be obtained from the Clerk's office there after paying their fees. Usually, this can be done on-line.

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  • Can I sue my aunt or the oil company for forging my dead grandmothers checks for 15 years? Get the rights sorted out?

    My name is Chris......To make it short and sweet. My aunt. Susan. Has been signing my grandmothers name for 15 plus years now on an oil money royalty check so to speak. She died in about 2000. Was supposed to go to my father. But the oil company h...

    Carol’s Answer

    The oil company does not owe anyone anything. If they had no knowledge of the fact of your grandmother's death and your Aunt was forging documents, they are not responsible for her illegal actions. You have a cause of action against your Aunt unless your grandmother, in her Will, directed the monies go to her. Even if, she would have had to change the dividends to make them payable to herself. You need to speak with a probate litigation attorney because this is an estate matter. Your Aunt has been wrongfully embezzling money from your Grandmother's estate, if everything is as you say. There may be civil charges that you can file, as well. See an attorney. The AVVO Find A Lawyer tab is a good place to start. Good luck.

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  • As a beneficiary of an estate/will, can the executor or process agent have my portion redistributed/ pay for legal fees, etc.?

    The estate/will is of my grandfather who passed in 2013. The executor is named as my uncle and the process agent is named as my aunt. The paperwork notes it is from the State of North Carolina, Burke County. I was sent a "Notice of Beneficiary." N...

    Carol’s Answer

    You should have received a final accounting prior to the close of probate. You should also have had to sign a waiver accepting the final distribution (in your case, zippo). Here's what MAY have happened; your mother's portion of the estate was so small (for a myriad of reasons) that when the payments to creditors was made it wiped out her share. If you have questions, you have an absolute right to see what was filed in the court and what was distributed to whom. You may need to hire an attorney to track down any monies that you believe should come to you, but it actually may not be worth the cost of doing so. I wish I had better news. Another option is to call a legal aid association in Burke County, NC and obtain a lawyer through them. A FL lawyer will not do you any good in this.

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  • How do I get control of my handicapped mom's finances?

    My mother is throwing her money away on lottery scams. My whole family has asked her to stop. But she continues to give hundreds of dollars a month away. And us not paying her bills.

    Carol’s Answer

    Sometimes, the first indication of early-onset Alzheimer's is the inability to handle finances properly (of course, many young people also suffer from that!) It IS her money. However, if her spending on the lottery "scams" is making her unable to pay her bills and living expenses, you may need to have her competency determined by the court. It is a process that can be arduous (and very divisive) for the entire family, so I would first suggest asking her to voluntarily meet with an elder law attorney to sort out what would work best for HER.

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