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Christina Norton Norris

Christina Norris’s Answers

68 total


  • Can the courts deny me of my rights to my dad's assets when my dad dies if it is discovered that he is not my real dad?

    My dad is 79 years old and is requesting a paternity test. I have known him to be my dad all my life. His name is on my birth certificate.

    Christina’s Answer

    I am sorry this is happening to you - it must be upsetting. Let me emphasize, though, as has been stated in a previous answer, children have no "rights" to the property of their parents unless a parent dies without a will or dies with a will and leaves his or her children property in the will. I have had adult children call me after a parent has died, complaining that their father either left all his property to their stepmother in a will, or else died without a will but with all bank accounts and real property jointly titled with their stepmother. In both of these situations, the children can do nothing.

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  • How do I get court to take into consideration $$ received outside of estate when setting amount of spousal support for stepmom.

    My stepmother has received $20k life insurance policy, $15k in IRA's, $35k in personal property, $5k homestead, plus she has spent all of my dad's bank account ($7500 D.O.D.) , which was P.O.D. to my sister and I. The bank account was not a joint ...

    Christina’s Answer

    The method of calculating the amount of spousal support to a surviving spouse is set by law. Assets received by the surviving spouse outside of probate are required to be considered by the Court. The Court is also required to consider "all the circumstances," which gives the Court a bit of leeway here since the parties were divorcing. That fact, though, does not alter your stepmother's status as a surviving spouse who is by law entitled to all the contents of the house, the cars, any equipment, and allowances for homestead and some amount of spousal support. Your lawyer can point to facts (like assets received outside probate) to support your position that your stepmother's claim for spousal support should be decreased.

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  • My mother died in 2011 she didn't have a will. Me and my siblings are in turmoil about the house some want to sell it some don't

    PLUS the house taxes are way overdue.WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP THE HOUSE ?

    Christina’s Answer

    In Tennessee, if a Decedent has no will, title to her real property passes outside of probate at Decedent's death to her heirs at law (if your mother was not married at her death, her heirs at law are her children and the children of any child who predeceased her, equally. So your mother's heirs at law have owned the house since the date of her death. If any heirs at law want the home sold and the proceeds divided, they have an absolute right to have the property sold. The only way you can keep the house is to negotiate a buy-out of your siblings shares. Or, since you cannot do that and you legally cannot stop the sale of the home, I recommend you agree to have the property sold at auction, and you try to buy it at the auction. The back taxes would be paid from the sale proceeds, as would the auctioneer's commission and expenses. The remaining balance would be divided among heirs at law. It would save everyone money (sales commission & expenses, and legal fees) if you could arrange financing and negotiate a reasonable buy-out of other's interests. Talk to a realtor about what the property is worth, add the back taxes, and see if you can persuade your siblings that it is in their best interests to agree to sell it to you, assuming you can afford to buy it and pay the taxes. Go to a title company to handle the sale and closing

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  • As one beneficiary of a Will I'm asked to sign that I've received it before they will mail it. May this be done at bank instead?

    Also I wish to request an accounting of disbursements and would want the attorney's fees to be disclosed as well as justification for Executrix' personal withdrawal last November of $9,000. In almost 2 years, barely any details have been given to...

    Christina’s Answer

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    If you have questions about how the estate has been administered, I urge you not to sign anything at this point. In my practice, I tell Executors to send all beneficiaries an estate accounting with a check to the beneficiary and an acknowledgement of receipt of the check to sign and return. In your situation, I recommend that you call the attorney who represents the Executor. That attorney does not represent the Executor personally - he or she represents the Executor only in her capacity as the person charged to administer the estate and distribute it in accordance with the Will. You should ask the Executor or her attorney for an accounting, which you are entitled to receive, even if you signed a waiver of accountings earlier. After your questions have been answered and you are satisfied that the amount to be mailed to you is correct, then I recommend signing the document and returning it. This practice is pretty common among some lawyers because it happens that estate funds are sent to beneficiaries with documents to be signed and returned, but beneficiaries sometimes keep the funds without signing and returning the document enclosed, which causes problems. The bottom line is you have a right to an accounting before you sign anything.

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  • I was supposed to get an inheritance at the age of 25. I'm almost 26, but my brother already got his at age 25. What can I do?

    There are no rules for the executor to hold it. She says she's holding it because she doesn't think I'm ready to get it, and that she's doing what she thinks my deceased family member would want. Everyone else that was a beneficiary has receiv...

    Christina’s Answer

    From the facts you've shared, it appears you've got a legal right you could enforce. To do so, though, will likely cost you legal fees. Before you do so, I recommend you take the Execotor/Trustee to lunch. Tell her you've been advised by lawyers you'd likely win in Court if you filed a legal action to require her to distribute the funds to you. Tell her that rather than taking that step, which would be expensive for both of you, you would prefer to work this out. Ask her what her concerns are and what specific steps you could take or agree to (such as transferring the funds to CD's or an investment account) that would satisfy her concerns.

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  • Procedure for naming an executor for an estate intestate?

    I am one of three surviving siblings. My siblings have requested that I administer the estate. I will engage an attorney after I have been appointed executor. what is the procedure to apply for the appointment and is there an application form o...

    Christina’s Answer

    There isn't a simple procedure to be appointed to administer an estate. You need to retain a lawyer now. The lawyer will ask you questions and then prepare and file a Petition in the county where your deceased family member resided. Then, after the Court has reviewed the Petition, it will, if the Petition is complete, enter an Order appointing you Administrator, that also addresses a bond, inventory, and accountings.

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  • If only one child was living and assisting a parent which personal property and bond is used for administering the estate.

    One surviving child lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and has been carrying for parent while the other lives in another state and has not and is causing some problems in terms of threats about seizing personal property and not signing paperwork by the...

    Christina’s Answer

    Your question is missing some key facts. It's not clear if the father left a will, and it's not clear what "problems" you are referring to. Here is a hard truth: just because one child cared for a parent before the parent's death does not give that child any greater rights than the parent's other children -- unless the parent left a will. If, in your case, the parent died without a will, then all of the property the parent owned in his or her own name must be distributed in equal shares to his or her surviving children (assuming there is no surviving spouse).

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  • Deceased husband had inheritance of mothers property. would his family have to buy me out?

    even though we were living apart at the time of his death?

    Christina’s Answer

    There are key facts missing in your question. If your husband died before the death of his mother, and assuming he died without a will, his share of the real property interest would likely pass to his heirs at law -- who are both you (because you were married - regardless of where you were living) and his children, if he had any. Even if your husband died without a will, you are entitled to a share of his estate depending upon the length of your marriage (regardless of where you were living). I recommend you contact a good probate lawyer who practices in the county where your husband resided at the time of his death OR where your mother was residing at the time of her death (depending upon who was the last to die).

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  • I am one of five siblings selling my mother's home as per will. In NC, are our spouses required to sign listing agreements?

    My mother's home is going up for sale as per will to be divided equally. Do our spouses have to also sign any real estate agreements?

    Christina’s Answer

    You do not state if a court has admitted your mother's will to probate or that you have been appointed by a court to administer her estate. If she was a resident of Tennessee when she died, and her only property to be distributed is her home in North Carolina, then you should call an attorney who practices probate law in the county where the home is located. If your mother's will left her property in equal shares to all of her children (and did not disinherit anyone who would take if she had no will), it may be advisable to proceed as if your mother had died without a will. Otherwise, you may have to hire a lawyer in Tennessee to admit the Will in Tennessee prior to hiring an attorney in NC to open an ancillary estate there in order to sell the home. But start by calling a probate attorney who practices in NC, in the county where the home is located.

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  • Can two siblings sell their quarter interest in a piece of property before its divided?

    Two siblings that own a tract of land along with myself and another sister want to divide the property. Their half of taxes were paid by another sibling so I suspect they want to sell their part to that sister. We inherited the 30 acre tract from ...

    Christina’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Assuming the Will transferring the property to you and your 3 siblings was probated, each of the 4 siblings has a one-fourth (1/4) undivided ownership interest in the property as a tenant in common. There is nothing I'm aware of that would prevent 1 of your siblings from selling his or her interest to another sibling or to anyone else. People often chose to liquidate interests - they would rather have cash than the interest in property. However, all of the owners' interests in the property are "undivided" -- which means that each owner has a fractional interest in the whole property. If the property (as a whole) sold for, say, $40,000, each of you would receive $10,000 before expenses. Before the property could be divided into separate tracts, either all of the owners will have to agree or else a partition suit will have to be filed to ask a court to force a division. A defense to dividing the property is that the property is worth more as a whole tract than it is when divided into separate tracts. You may want to ask a realtor if that's right so you know for sure. I recommend talking with your siblings who still have an ownership interest in the property and try to come to an agreement. You will all be better off if you can avoid the stress and expense of a lawsuit.

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