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Steven W. Ledbetter

Steven Ledbetter’s Answers

135 total

  • What legal document do I need to get authorization into my mother's mortgage account. We want to keep making the payments.

    I was told by the mortgage company that I needed a court document to get authority on the account. My mother's will appoints my oldest brother as executor to her estate. I faxed a copy of the will and death certificate and a letter explaining the ...

    Steven’s Answer

    As discussed above, if your mother has passed, then a probate should be opened in order to manage her assets. While there are different types of probate administrations, there is typically not a short cut.

    If, however, your mother is still alive and you are merely attempting to assist her with managing her assets, then either a Durable Power of Attorney or a guardianship should be put in place.

    I advise that you set up a consultation with an attorney in either instance. Most attorneys, like myself, provide a free initial consultation for probate matters, and I recommend you visit with at least 2 so that you can choose the one you want to work with.

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  • If there was an agreement between husband and wife, that the wife be president for LIFE, and made during a time of great

    distress to the husband. 1. can you maintain President for LIFE, 2. Being found to have embezelled funds from the corp, can that now be deemed to have the president for LIFE removal. Florida Law. thanks

    Steven’s Answer

    Officer's of a company have fiduciary duties to the shareholders. You definitely need an attorney. My concern, however, is that you'll need to consider the costs (attorney fees, fractured relationships) vs. benefits or moving forward with this matter. If you are the husband, it may also be a matter for a family law attorney.

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  • My daughter is mentally handicapped since birth and will be turning 18 on September 9th.

    "why do I have to have a lawyer to file for guardianship of my developmentally disabled child (since birth) who is turning 18. I am a single mother, I am not indigent, but I cannot afford an attorney. Can't I just file forms with the court?" ...

    Steven’s Answer

    I recommend you file under Florida Statutes, Chapter 393 and not 744. It's less of a proceeding and should cost less. You can get the filing fees waived often and counsel for your daughter will be free also, as she probably qualifies as indigent. Attorney fees for this type of matter are in the neighborhood of $1,250.00.

    For pro bono legal services in Sarasota County, contact Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. (

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  • Deed transfer

    When transferring property from husband and wife to wife only what type of deed should be used?

    Steven’s Answer

    A warranty deed so as to not sever the title insurance policy.

    Note, however, that this deed will do nothing to eliminate the liability of the grantor spouse who signed a promissory note secured by an existing mortgage on the property.

    I recommend you seek out an attorney for assistance in this matter, as it is quite expensive to fix mistakes concerning real property transfers vs. doing it right the first time.

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  • Existing Florida For Profit Corporation wanting to add DBA

    I already have a company registered as "XXXXX, Inc." and would like to use "YYYYYY" as DBA. What are the filing requirements in the State of Florida?

    Steven’s Answer

    Review the statute and Don't forget the publication requirement. Also, you'll want a written action or corp. meeting to authorize said action, I imagine.

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  • Trustees of my Mom's estate will not answer any of my financial questions about cash and asset disposition, what do I do?

    My brother and sister are co-executors of mother's estate, which was to be divided among four siblings equally, and were instructed to reimburse those of us who had to travel to the funeral. I live overseas in Asia. Mom lived in Fl. My sist...

    Steven’s Answer

    It appears your siblings are not taking you seriously and have breached their fiduciary duty (if they are the personal representative ("PR")) or, worst case, stolen from the estate. I recommend retaining a FL attorney to represent your interest in the estate.

    Unfortunately, I've seen many families' relationships shattered once a pile of money is thrown on a table.

    To further clarify, the Will should be filed; a PR appointed; the estate assets inventoried and accounted for; costs of administration, funeral expenses, and creditors paid; and then final distribution. The purpose of the probate court is to oversee this process and ensure everyone gets a fair "shake".

    Definitely set up an initial consult with a licensed Florida attorney. Further, if the estate is in Sarasota County, I recommend an attorney familiar with the local rules.

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  • Can a married couple on the same board assume the role of president and treasurer.and can the other member decide to take over .

    My wife and I are in a small group and 2 member are trying to down size me from a position, and there are 4 of us on the board, I don't understand a lot about business and was curious. to know if these 2 can do this since we are on the same board.

    Steven’s Answer

    Basic corporate structure and power is as follows: shareholders elect board members...board members appoint the true power always is held by the majority shareholders.

    Last, your corporate bylaws (or Operating Agreement for an LLC) should indicate some of the voting procedures. Granted, if you simply did a "quickie" online incorporation instead of using an attorney, you most likely don't know what/if you have either of the above, and that's if you even got a corporate book/package.

    My recommendation is to pay for an initial consultation with an attorney familiar with corporate law. Too many people are "penny wise" and "dollar foolish" when it comes to running a business with multiple shareholders.

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  • Did my dad have the right to transfer my contract with him to his wife upon his death?

    In 2003 I co-signed on a HELOC ($200,000)for my dad 1) as his power of atty so I could sign cks for him if he became ill 2) to allow him to get a higher loan. He owned his condo free and clear @ that time and was leaving it to us 3 kids upon his ...

    Steven’s Answer

    You definitely need an attorney to consult with as to the proper course of action. I imagine that there are some legal grounds to void the life estate (undue influence; lack of capacity), but you will need proper counsel to pursue this matter, as I imagine there are additional facts necessary to properly provide counsel.

    Most attorneys will provide either a free initial consult or one for a nominal fee. I suggest you not delay any longer on this matter.

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  • Looking for some advice....

    Looking for some FREE advice....My 80 year old Uncle who lives in Nokomis, FL.( I am his niece from RI) has no children and recently lost his spouse (my blood aunt).He planned on having 2 relatives (my husband and cousin both from RI) be co-execut...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The answer is in the FL Statutes: Section 733.304 - A person who is not domiciled in the state cannot qualify as personal representative unless the person is: (1) A legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the decedent; (2) Related by lineal consanguinity to the decedent; (3) A spouse or a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the decedent, or someone related by lineal consanguinity to any such person; or (4) The spouse of a person otherwise qualified under this section.

    Please note, Sarasota County will require a bond be posted since you are not a FL resident. If you're looking to prepare a FL Will, contact a local attorney to ensure you've got it all lined up correctly.

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  • In 50/50 ownership of business, who can make the final decision?

    Hi, My partner and I both own 50% of our company (S Corp). We had an offer to do a joint venture which I agreed with but she is against it. Since we are both 50% owners, who makes the final decision? Also, can I force him to sell me his shar...

    Steven’s Answer

    In a properly set up corporation, your bylaws, articles of incorporation, or a shareholder agreement would indicate how these types matters are resolved. If you do not have these documents in place, then you'll have to look at the FL statute.

    It sounds like you are at odds with your partner, though, and these are not simple matters if you do not have planning/documentation already in place. I highly recommend an initial consult with a Florida licensed attorney to help provide some guidance.

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