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James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

13,716 total


  • How do I gain legal ownership for unused family cemetery plots without a probate file?

    Have original deed for family cemetery lots in local private cemetery located in MI that belonged to my grandfather. He is the legal owner and died in 1967 and is buried there. His wife was also buried there in 1970 after his death. There are stil...

    James’s Answer

    Tracking down the other heirs is probably not that difficult. Determining who the heirs are may be somewhat more problematic. You certainly do not want to go through probate, if you can avoid it. There are small estate processes that probably are available, but if there are other heirs at the same level as you are, then they would have a say. Your best bet is to contact them and make arrangements for them to sign off on small estate procedures to get the plots retitled in your name. If that can be done, the cost would be very nominal and you would not need to involve the court, at all.

    James Frederick

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  • Landlord has requested his apt back for renovation, but the landlord was called for verification he said that I was "Evicted"?

    I left over 1 year ago, and did notified landlord of my new address P.O.BOX for 3 months that I had, but I did not received any correspondence from him. I did notify him within 7 days after I left. The landlord kept my 1/2 Rent as security, and ca...

    James’s Answer

    It is not clear what you are trying to accomplish or what difference it makes at this point whether you were evicted or you left of your own accord. If you can explain what you are seeking help with, we might be able to provide you with more information.

    James Frederick

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  • How do you cancel a quit claim deed, my mom all 4 kids to have right to buy, Was told when this document was signed June 2012,

    that this was a lady bird deed, that our signatures were to take all our names off the deed in case we had finanacial problems My mom is on hospice at this time but still has some faculities. and I recorded that she still wants all 4 ki...

    James’s Answer

    This is an estate planning question. Your situation is not at all clear. You need to have an estate planning attorney review the paperwork in question to determine what exactly your mother has and whether it will achieve her objectives. Why would you want to cancel a lady bird deed? If you cancel the deed, the property would need to go through probate. In that case, the property would also be subject to creditor claims. If the deed is truly a lady bird deed, then you probably would want to leave it in place and avoid probate. If the deed is a lady bird deed, you would not need to sign it. It is possible that there was a quit claim deed and it was not set up properly and you were asked to sign off so a new lady bird deed could be prepared. If this was done, the deed normally would have been recorded when the deed was signed.

    You need to clarify the situation as soon as possible. I would check with an estate planning attorney if you do not understand where things currently stand. I wish you the best of luck!

    James Frederick

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  • What to do have grandson in our care do we need graudenship or custody for him

    My grandson mom has given him up again this is an on going thing with her he is in our care until further notice and she wrote a note saying we are responsible for his care, medical,and emergancies until further notice and she signed it not sure i...

    James’s Answer

    You have custody of your grandson. The question is whether or not it is necessary out desirable to make that more permanent, through the court. The"note"your daughter gave you*may* be considered to be a parental delegation of authority. Under Michigan law, this would allow you to care for and make legal decisions for your grandson, for up to six months. That authority can be extended for additional six month periods, as needed.

    The nice thing is that arrangement does not require court involvement. The possible negatives are that it is more temporary than going to court. There may also be some places that refuse to acknowledge your authority. That is one of the reasons out is best to have the delegation dream up through an attorney.

    If you need to get guardianship, then the court is the only way to go.

    James Frederick

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  • Is it a conflict of interest for my sister, co-executor of parent's estate, to also be my father's lawyer when my mother passed?

    My sister has been manipulative with my father to the point that he/she are requesting items that my mother had given away before her death, to be returned to my father's estate. We are not talking expensive items. Things like an old, junky rockin...

    James’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I am sure it does not surprise you to hear that you have a big mess on your hands. You certainly have no obligation to return items that were conveyed many years ago. With personal items like those you mentioned, they do not have title, so it would be impossible for your sister to prove that the items belonged to one of your parents and not the other. If your father is still living and has mental capacity, he can theoretically change his estate planning documents to name a more neutral party to handle his affairs. Whether that is something he wants to do or not is up to him.

    If your father is incapacitated, then your sister would be in charge of handling things under the documents that were set up. She is in a tricky position, however, because she COULD have a conflict of interest. She needs to tread very carefully in order to avoid potential legal issues down the road. It may be helpful for you to consult with a lawyer regarding specific issues that crop up from time to time.

    It is possible to go to court to have your sister removed as your father's agent and to have the court name someone else. Whether this is something you should consider or not is something to discuss with an attorney. Since your sister is a lawyer, this is not something you would ever want to consider, without competent legal advice. It is very likely that heading down that road will result in a family war. It may be that you are headed in that direction, anyway.

    James Frederick

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  • Do I have a case with a verbal contract followed by an hand shake

    I loaned out 2400 dollars to a friend in 2012 and she won't pay me back . I keep all of our text from 2012 with saying she will but hasn't

    James’s Answer

    From a legal perspective, I absolutely agree with Brook Smith. His information is right on the money, as it always is. I want to suggest just a couple of other considerations. I agree that you have a contract and provided that your friend does not dispute the arrangement, a court will likely enforce that. Even if your friend DOES dispute the agreement, a contract can be implied from the messages that have gone back and forth.

    The two issues I would raise is that even if you win in court, you still will need to collect on the judgment, as Mr. Smith noted. If your friend is not collectible, then you will have gone through the court proceedings for nothing.

    Even if she IS collectible, a court action will almost certainly kill whatever is left of your friendship. If there is nothing left, then I guess you have nothing to lose. If your friend HAS the money to pay you back and has simply refused to do so, she has not been a very good friend to you. But you are obviously a person of character and integrity. If the friendship still has value to you, then that is something to consider before going to court. You may not get your money back, but the friendship may be worth more than that to you.

    James Frederick

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  • If i give guardianship do i lose custody or do they only get rights when i an incapacitated to care for them?

    CPS is just asking i do this to be prepared for worst. But i haven't heard it from their mouth. Only the one who has begging guardian ship for 10yrs

    James’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues. The answer to your question depends on the facts. There are ways of providing for guardianship without terminating parental authority. Courts are trying to limit the extent of guardianship to the needs of the parties. You can also "delegate your parental authority" by means of a Power of Attorney form, that does not require court proceedings at all. That would probably be the best option for you, if it is available.

    James Frederick

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  • Medical Power of Attorney for my mother

    My mother who is physically disabled and mentally ill just recently signed up for disability, she received paperwork for a medical power of attorney and had a person whom is homeless that she has known for a while sign off has her designee, she ne...

    James’s Answer

    There is no way for you to do this against your mother's wishes, unless you go to court and become her guardian. She can always modify or redo her medical power of attorney to name you as her patient advocate. In addition, she can notify her caregivers that you should be kept in the loop and/or have access to her medical records. If she is not willing to do so, then probate court appointment would be your only other alternative. There is no guarantee that the court would appoint you. But as your mother's next of kin, you would be in a position to petition.

    James Frederick

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  • Estate question

    I am executor of my dads estate. His 2nd/current wife at death. Has elected to accept the will as written. What does that mean she is entitled to? He left their home to her, he left his 4 children $20k and two much smaller, less expensive homes...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Brent. I would urge you to at least consult with a probate attorney, however. You may be personally liable for anything that you do not handle correctly in terms of the probate administration. There is no reason to place yourself at risk, when the attorney is paid for by the estate. At a minimum, the asset titles need to be reviewed, as well as the actual terms of the Will. It should not be expensive to have the estate probated, but with multiple pieces of real estate involved, you are clearly in need of legal assistance. There are different probate proceedings available to you, as well.

    James Frederick

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  • If I have Limited guardianship and my parents signed off to not be anymore 2 years ago they can't do any thing or give say

    I have new guardians for the past 2 year with a agency my new guardians are they required to tell my parents stuff and can my parents doing anything if they don't tell them stuff and could they refile for guardianship I don't want my parents tryin...

    James’s Answer

    The answer depends on the judge and other facts that are not stated. Your parents are considered interested parties in the guardianship proceeding, and they would be entitled to the annual reports of the guardians. There is nothing you can do to prevent them from asking the court to modify or terminate the guardianship, if that is what they are determined to do. Michigan law generally favors parents in such cases and tries to reunite families, if possible. Having said that, there are obviously reasons why their rights were suspended in the first place. You also have a gap of two years, where you presumably have a stable living situation. A judge will also consider your wishes, particularly if you are over 14 years of age, which seems likely, given your summary.

    As with many things in life, you can waste a lot of time and energy on fear and worrying about things that may never happen. I would try not to worry about what your parents might do. If they do petition the court, you can figure out how best to respond, at that time. Otherwise, I would be thankful you have guardians watching out for you.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    James Frederick

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