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Howard T. Linden

Howard Linden’s Answers

11 total


  • Conservator

    Can a Conservator change 1) joint bank account and beneficaries 2) Wills These items were written up while their client was of sound mind, long before a diagnosis of dementia had occured?

    Howard’s Answer

    While a Conservator may have the legal authority to change a joint bank account, this should never be done without permission of the probate court Judge. If all the funds in this particular account were the ward's and he or she needs it for their care and upkeep, then a Judge may allow the Conservator to move the funds or change the account. The Conservator would absolutely be responsible for disclosing what the funds were used for and must follow the court's directives.
    A Will can never ever be changed by a Conservator for any reason nor would such a document be admitted by a Judge. The Will as written is binding as it shows the intent of the ward before dementia had set in.
    I would recommend in the strongest terms that you consult with an attorney immediately before you attempt to do anything improper.

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  • Can I get Bank Records as Personal Representative of an Estate?

    I am personal representative of my father's estate. There is a step mother that has claimed my father was broke upon his passing. Step mother was never mentioned in the will, will was made out before marriage, pre-nuptual agreement also signed b...

    Howard’s Answer

    A personal representative is the only person who can get bank records on an account in the name of the deceased. You would present a certified copy to the bank branch your father had his accounts with and they are required to provide you with what ever records you need. to review.

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  • My Father just passed away, my estranged stepmother which lives in another state is not taking any responsibility.What can I do?

    They have been estranged over 10 years and she has a life insurance policy she is only wanting the death certifacte for that purpose and I can not pay for his funeral cost. My Father did not have a will, or property and very little money in his ba...

    Howard’s Answer

    After the 42 day priority period has run from the date of death and the spouse has not opened an estate for your father, you then can file to open the estate in the county in which your father resided. If your stepmother is the named beneficiary on the life insurance in question, all she needs to do to receive those funds is present a certified death certificate to the insurance company for payment. Those funds do not go through the estate and she cannot be forced to use them to pay for anything, including the funeral bill. You should contact an attorney to determine if there is any additional facts in this case that may prove useful to you and help you further.

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  • Is taking advantage of an elderly person's money, elderly abuse?

    My elderly father has been living with a woman (at one time was a girl friend but now she rents a room to him) and has been ill since a heart problem last year. Just the past few months he has become seriously ill and has been back and forth from ...

    Howard’s Answer

    If the facts are as you state them, this is a classic case of elder abuse. You should see an attorney at once for a consultation. The most effective way to counter these improper activities is to file the appropriate guardianship and conservatorship petitions in probate court in the county where your father resides and become his guardian and conservator. From that point on, you will be able to perhaps undo some of the damage by removing her name from bank accounts and redirecting social security funds and retirement benefits. You may also be able to force her to account for any funds she has taken. Again, an experienced attorney can direct your efforts and advise you. I would not wait.

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  • When requesting an audit on an estate, who pays for it?

    Three siblings. One sibling is the executor of the estate. All property and household items, that were not specifically given to someone, were to be split equally between the three; it was agreed items would be sold and money be split. Executor cl...

    Howard’s Answer

    All real and personal property must be accounted for by the Executor, now called the Personal Representative. This accounting is done once a year or sooner if the estate can be closed. All interested parties including the heirs at law must be notified and provided copies of this or these accounts. if you do not agree with one or more of them, the Judge assigned to the case will hear your objections and decide what is correct and what was done incorrectly and make the Personal Representative reimburse the estate if that is appropriate. Of course, all remaining funds in your case should be split 3 ways. If the sibling in charge took money wrongly, that will be charged against his or her share. The estate pays for the audit in question as it is a requirement to show all receipts and disbursements.

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  • Does a surviving spouse in michigan have to pay credit cards and medical bills if they are not in his name.

    Deceased spouse has own medical insurance and has no assests, other than a mortgage that is paid off and in both spouses names.

    Howard’s Answer

    No, a surviving spouse does not. However, you might want to be sure the spouse in question was not a co-signer on any of the credit card account as that could pose some liability. As to the medical bills, unless you signed a document guaranteeing payment, you are responsible. As always, you may wish to check with an attorney if anything develops further.

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  • Is an estate condsidered closed even if there are trust that are still active?

    I am the PR for my father's estate. All property has been sold and all debts have been paid. My father has directed I set up a Trust 's for my nieces and nephews that are under 18 which would not be payable to them until 24 years of age. My questi...

    Howard’s Answer

    Given the facts as presented, the estate will remain open only until all the described assets are turned over and receipted by each individual trust. Once that occurs, you can file a final account for the estate and, if approved by the Judge, can close the estate. This is a general answer to your question as there may be other issues such as tax consequences that have to be addressed. As always, I recommend you consult with an attorney to review any loose ends not covered with your question or my answer.

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  • Is there a time frame for an executor to back out of their position and pass it on to the backup executor?

    My father passed away 5 mo. ago. his executor never probated the will and has now backed out of the responsibility and written a letter, notarized it, and passed the responsibility to me (the backup executor) She never probated the will. there ar...

    Howard’s Answer

    If you paid any part of the funeral or burial expenses or any final medical bills for your father and have paid receipts to prove it, you may be able to open a small estate with a certified death certificate at the probate court and have the remaining funds assigned to you immediately. There is a single form to fill out at the courthouse and can be done in one day regardless of the existence of the will. Ask for a certified copy of the Order they will provide assigning the funds to you and take it to the bank in question and you should be able to get the funds to get reimbursed for those expenses mentioned above. What you wish to do with this money is up to you. Of course, as with any matter of this kind, it is best to consult with an attorney.

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  • Elder Abuse & Removal of Visitation Rights- Can a POA maliciously withhold visitation rights from family members?

    My aunt, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, was living at home with her husband until she 'fell' and broke her hip. It was found that her spleen was punctured and ribs had been recently broken. My aunt's sisters went to the police as they fi...

    Howard’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The sister's can file a Petition in the probate court where your aunt resides and ask that one of them be appointed her guardian. If appointed, a guardian supercedes the POA and can make changes to the visitation restrictions now in place. I recommend that they consult with an attorney for this purpose as there may be some legal argument necessary to convince a Judge that the daughter is abusing her authority and is acting vindictively and thus not in the best interests of your aunt. It is cruel and inappropriate of your aunt to be deprived of seeing her sisters.

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  • DO I need conservator ship if I am transferring the title of a car into my name as I am the legal POA?

    I have Power of Attorney and I am trying to transfer a car from my Uncles name into mine but I keep running into walls. I was just told today I need conservator ship in order to register the car now. I have legal guardianship already.

    Howard’s Answer

    You can if your POA gives you the authority in writing to do so or if the POA doesn't specifically exclude your power to do so. Most likely, when you go to your Secretary of State's office they will want to see the original document as well. Being appointed conservator for just the purpose of transferring this title is overkill.

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