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Dana Laganella Gerling
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Dana Gerling’s Answers

115 total


  • Can you complete a new Durable Power of Attorney if there is already one in place?

    My husband's parents both have Durable Power of Attorney's which they name 2 of his siblings as their agents. His father is now in a nursing home and his mother needs to conduct financial business on his behalf so we need her to have P of A over ...

    Dana’s Answer

    I would agree with my colleagues. If your Father-in-Law has capacity, he would revoke the prior power of Attorney and create a new Durable Power of Attorney appointing the person who would be best suited to handle his financial affairs. He would need to be able to contact the attorney directly and create a new form on his own without anyone else's influence.

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  • How long does the personal representative status long/

    I was designated as the pers rep. in 2006 and now I have a check from Wells that is trying to foreclose how do I proceed? do I have have to go back to court? What is the is statute of limitation on personal rep?

    Dana’s Answer

    You will most likely have to reopen the probate if you were in fact discharged as personal representative. It is a minimal filing fee with the court. The re opening of the probate is not overly complicated, but you will need the assistance of a lawyer.

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  • Co-owned vehicle & survivorship

    I co-own a vehicle with my father, who has since passed away. The title specially joins his and my name with "and," as a means to protect the asset from potential lawsuits etc. My father has since passed. I moved, and went to the FL DMV to chan...

    Dana’s Answer

    Title of the vehicle will govern, however FL has law that protects the surviving spouse and the DMV may be confusing the issues. Even if your mother is required to sign, she should not have to come in person as the DMV has forms that can be signed when someone is not present in FL. You should consult with the DMV again and also a Florida Probate Attorney.

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  • Executor in NJ prison; I've received no notifications, nothing...what to do?

    His attorney said 8 months ago we would hear something by Jan. Father died 18 months ago

    Dana’s Answer

    If the executor is in Prison, it would be likely he will need to be removed. If this Estate is being handled in Florida, you should consult with an Attorney to discuss removal of the Personal Representative so the Estate can continue to move forward. If the Estate is being handled in NJ, you will need to consult a NJ Attorney.

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  • Does my family need to hire an attorney to settle my mom's will? She is debt free, the will equally divides amongst 4 siblings.

    My mother owned her house outright and has investments and banking accounts that are to be divided equally between 4 siblings.

    Dana’s Answer

    It is likely your family will need an Attorney to file for probate for at the very minimum your mother's real property. Going through the probate process will ensure that title is properly passed to you and your siblings and that all creditors claims are properly handled. You may not require probate for all of the assets and you should discuss the same with an Attorney to get an idea of exactly what the probate process will be.

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  • How long should it take for a will to be on file?

    My grandfather passed away in October in Pinellas County Florida and as of now there is no will with the county probate clerk. Is this normal, how long should it take?

    Dana’s Answer

    A will should be filed within ten days of death, so it may mean your grandfather did not have a Will. You can check the clerks website for the county in which he lived at the time he passed away and search for his name to see if a probate matter has been opened without a will.

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  • My wife is deceased (11 years ago) and her will was not probated. My (our) house is still in both names. Can I sell it?

    At the time of her passing all of our assets were jointly owned and we had no children. I didn't think I needed to probate anything. If I want to sell our house now will I have a problem because the house is in both names?

    Dana’s Answer

    The selling of the house should not be a problem and probate should not be required. The title company or Attorney handling the real estate transaction may need to confirm a few issues and file your wife's death certificate as part of the transaction. The Attorney will also review the deed to ensure that the property was held jointly as husband and wife. I would recommend having a Real Estate Attorney handle the matter at the time of the closing.

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  • Do you have to pay taxes on Life Insurance paid out?

    My dad past away June 25, 2003 in Florida and me as well as my other 5 siblings were notified in September 2013 that he apparently had a life insurance policy. I was advised that since it is Life insurance, we would not have to pay taxes howeve...

    Dana’s Answer

    You typically would not have to pay taxes on proceeds from a life insurance policy in the State of Florida. You should consult with an Attorney or Accountant prior to distribution to ensure the same. Further, if your Father was a resident of another State, the answer could change based on that State's laws.

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  • Is there a relatively new Texas law which allows the beneficiary of an irrevocable trust to collect more principle if necessary?

    If there is, what is this law, and what are the details.

    Dana’s Answer

    I agree with my colleague, you will need to repost this question to an Attorney in Texas. You should search for Estate Planning attorney in the county or town where this matter will be handled.

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  • My Grandmother recently passed away and has a trust account. How would my mother find out if she is named as a beneficiary?

    We have a unsigned will from my grandmother stating that my mother and her brother are co executors on the estate. Apparently the Attorney that drafted the will cant find the signed copy. So needles to say we believe my uncle was on the trust ac...

    Dana’s Answer

    I am very sorry for your loss. It does sound like your Grandmother may have created a Trust and if you were a beneficiary of that Trust you would receive notice of your rights. If another Will exists it will be filed with the Court and you can view the Will at that time. Typically a POA can not change someone's Estate Planning documents, however he could change the way an account would be titled. You should be sure to check the county clerk where your Grandmother passed away to see if anything has been filed and consult an Attorney to protect your rights.

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