James P. Frederick’s Answers

James P. Frederick

Livonia Probate Attorney.

Contributor Level 20
  1. I am the executor for a small estate, do I need to pay taxes for an estate that is worth less than $15,000?

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Orsen E. Paxton III
    3. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    3 lawyer answers

    It depends on what kind of taxes you are talking about. Some states have inheritance taxes. Texas is not one of those states, so if the estate is there, you do not have an inheritance tax issue. But there COULD be an income tax issue, depending on the assets involved. If the assets are U.S. Savings bond, an IRA or other tax-deferred asset, such as a 401k, 403b or an annuity, then there may be income taxes. You will need to consult with a tax attorney or CPA to determine your situation, because...

    12 lawyers agreed with this answer

  2. My parents are leaving me their house in their will. Should I ask to have my name added to the deed before they die?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    2. James P. Frederick
    3. Scott A Macleod
    4. Steven W Zachary
    5. April Miller-Lepage
    6. ···
    6 lawyer answers

    I agree with Attorney Pippen. You need to have your parents meet with an attorney to get their estate planning updated. But having your name added to the house title during lifetime is generally not a good idea, for tax reasons and for MANY other reasons. Doing so would subject your parents to any creditor claims you have, for example. If you ever get divorced, your spouse could claim an interest in the home. There are lots of horrible scenarios. An attorney can set things up so you wind up...

    12 lawyers agreed with this answer

  3. My uncle passed away on December 1st 2012. His wife is acting really funny now. I want to know who is in charge of the estate.

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Jeffrey Bruce Gold
    2. James P. Frederick
    3. Roman Aminov
    4. James Andrew Mcglynn
    4 lawyer answers

    IS there an estate? If everything was jointly owned by your aunt and uncle, or if she was named as beneficiary of his assets, then everything would pass outside of probate and whether or not your uncle had a Will would be irrelevant. You need to try to determine how the assets are titled before deciding what you should do about this, if anything. James Frederick

    12 lawyers agreed with this answer

  4. Can beneficiary disclaims inheritance and give instructions to executor to give or gift it to another person?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Mary Lynn Symons
    3. Daniel Alexander Jimenez
    3 lawyer answers

    No. If you disclaim an asset, it passes as if you were predeceased. That means, either the Will or Trust dictates who is next in line, or state law would do so. You cannot disclaim an asset and then direct who would get it next. James Frederick

    12 lawyers agreed with this answer

  5. What is effect of Will with no assets to go to probate?

    Answered 10 months ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Peter L. Conway
    3. Julie Aletta Paquette
    4. Ivette M Santaella
    5. Charles P. Ward
    5 lawyer answers

    If there are no assets to probate, then the Will has no legal effect. You can, (and are supposed to), file the Will with the Probate Court. There is no charge for doing this. You are not legally obligated to follow the terms of the Will, but given your father's intentions, it shows your strong moral upbringing, that you are willing to do so, anyway. There should not be any taxes associated with inheritance of the home or the accounts. There will almost certainly be income taxes on any assets...

    Selected as best answer

  6. Do we need to pay more estate inventory fee on a retirement pay out paid to the heirs individually?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Kenneth V. Zichi
    3. Julie Aletta Paquette
    3 lawyer answers

    Under your limited facts, I would say that, NO, you do not need to file an amended inventory and pay an additional fee. It does not sound like this account would properly be considered a part of the estate. The inventory only covers probate assets. James Frederick

    Selected as best answer

  7. My uncle left me money in a living trust overseen by an attorney and fudiciary. How long does it take to collect what was left?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Julie Aletta Paquette
    3. David B. Carter Jr.
    4. David L. Carrier
    4 lawyer answers

    Your question cannot be answered with the limited information provided. The answer almost certainly lies within the terms of the trust. If the trust simply says, "to be distributed as soon as possible," then the trustee has some administrative duties which must be taken care of, first, and then the distribution should be fairly quick. These kinds of situations always turn on the specific facts of the case. You should review the terms of the trust with your own attorney, if you have questions or...

    Selected as best answer

  8. Stepmom adopted me at age 11, now I'm 20. Can I have step mom's name removed from birth cert and have bio moms put back on it?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. Charles Adam Shultz
    3. David B. Carter Jr.
    3 lawyer answers

    Can you do this? Yes. You would need to go through the probate court to have it done. Whether to do this or not is a tougher question. Your bio-grandparents are free to leave their estate any way they want. Your changing your name is not going to affect that. If they do not do their estate planning at all, your name does not change the fact that you would still be related to your bio-grandparents. Your relations do not change as a result of the name change. You need to consider the effect this...

    Selected as best answer

  9. If I have two surviving children, one deceased, (not married) can I specifically direct half of my estate to each of them?

    Answered 2 months ago.

    1. Brook McCray Smith
    2. James P. Frederick
    3. David B. Carter Jr.
    4. Jennifer Herrick Coles
    5. Peter L. Conway
    6. ···
    7 lawyer answers

    I agree with my colleagues. The important thing is that, if this is your intent, then the only way that it can be done is through estate planning. You are best to have this done through an estate planning attorney, who can not only prepare the documents properly to achieve your objectives, but can also make sure that your estate plan is as difficult to challenge as possible. Given your intent, it would appear that your grandchildren would have a financial incentive to challenge your documents....

    10 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. Is my probate attorney overcharging me?

    Answered 8 months ago.

    1. James P. Frederick
    2. John F. Brennan
    3. Julie Aletta Paquette
    4. Peter L. Conway
    5. Robert S. Zawideh
    5 lawyer answers

    You need to have your fee agreement (which must be in writing), reviewed by another attorney. I agree with Mr. Brennan's assessment. This sounds wrong. A contingent fee for your kind of estate is not appropriate, absent very unusual facts. James Frederick

    10 lawyers agreed with this answer