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Carol Anne Johnson
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Carol Johnson’s Answers

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  • My spouse died and changed his will our assets life insurance and hid money with his sister. She is trustee.I have kids 15 ,18.

    She has lied in court about life insurance and used our homes as her own even doing appraisals on homes taking things for herself. Leaving me with two kid and a bunch of debt. She is trying to sell his business at a loss and protecting her inter...

    Carol’s Answer

    OK. I understand your frustration, but you are using conflicting terms. Does he have a will or a trust? If he has a will, it will be part of the probate proceeding where the court will appoint a Personal Representative. If it is a trust, there won't necessarily be a probate proceeding (except to probate the residue left in the will) and there will be a Trustee appointed by the trust instrument itself. You need to hire an attorney. You will NOT be able to fight this yourself as you are not versed in the law that protects your interests and those of your children. Call a probate litigation attorney to help you with this.

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  • “in circumstances where a Residuary Trust is set up that includes a trustee, is the trustee obligated to provide an accounting?

    “in circumstances where a Residuary Trust is set up that includes a trustee, is the trustee obligated to provide an accounting of the trust in question AND is the trustee permitted to make withdrawals from the 'overseen' trust without the knowledg...

    Carol’s Answer

    Typically, a trust will include directions for the powers and obligations of the Trustee. So, depending on the nature of the Trust, the Trustee is typically permitted to make expenditures for accountants, attorneys, etc., for the benefit of the trust; make sound investments; buy and sell properties; and, whatever else the trust directs them to do. They do have a fiduciary duty to manage the trust "for the benefit of" the beneficiary and cannot use it as their own bank account for personal items (called "self-dealing"). Most trusts require at least an annual accounting to the beneficiary(ies) of the trust. Without seeing the particular trust, it is impossible to guess what it provides.

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  • Can I take my brother to court for this?

    Since December of 2014 my mother and older brother have been staying with me and my family. I told them they could only stay if they promised to help out with bills and groceries. My mother has a full time job and a part time job and has been doin...

    Carol’s Answer

    This is precisely why everything that is "agreed upon" must be in a form of a formal, written agreement. If you already knew that he wasn't helping out in the smaller house, why on earth did you allow him to move with you to the bigger house without putting his responsibilities in writing?? He is taking advantage because you have let him do so. Since he has NOT paid anything, yours is a matter for "unlawful detainer" - not an eviction. You will need an attorney to help you get him out.

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  • My husband of 12 years wants the divorce, can he block me of having his SS benefits when I reach 62? I'm 56

    He wants me to sign up an agreement giving up my rights to his SS benefits, and buy me out of the mortgage in our home.

    Carol’s Answer

    Look. You are 56 - you REALLY need to have a divorce attorney AT LEAST do a review of the settlement he is trying to foist on you. As the others have said, he is trying to negotiate with things of which he has no knowledge. Don't do this to yourself. Would you walk away from a business deal in which you invested 12 years of your life without an attorney to represent your interests??? Don't do it now. You were a partner in the marriage, make sure that what you get is fair and square. An attorney can help you figure out what that is.

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  • Issues with disability - temporary approved - Where is my retro!!!!

    I am writing this on behalf of my uncle. He was temporarily approved by disability. In specific, SSI, because he did not meet the required income credits for disability. My uncle has been filing since 1997. In these past several years, every la...

    Carol’s Answer

    OK. Take a deep breath. From the gist of your question, SSI is not "pay" (i.e., as far as earned income from doing work) - it is a government benefit. While SSDI will pay back benefits to the point where a person first became disabled, SSI will ONLY pay back to the point where a person LAST filed for benefits. So, if your uncle filed for benefits in 1997 and was turned down, but then NEWLY filed in 2001 and followed the appeals process through to the bitter end and was awarded benefits, he will only get retro benefits payable on the LAST time he filed (in this example, 2001). That is why it is important for people to NOT let the statutory time limits expire for appealing a filing. That would be my guess is that he let a period for appeal to lapse and had to start the process over. Sometimes, this is why it is best to have an attorney help with the process all the way along. If you believe that he does have some additional benefits coming to him, you should appeal the decision - just don't call it "back pay" since he hasn't done any work to earn it - they are benefits.

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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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