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James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

13,651 total


  • Regarding decedent's medical debts & notice to creditors

    Mom died in March & left me as Trustee. A year before she passed she had been in a rehab facility before moving to assisted living. Over the holiday Nov-Dec (before her passing), she received. a bill for additional expenses from Rehab. A subs...

    James’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    More information is needed, but I agree with Mr. Conway that you would want to send them a Notice to Known Creditors form, which you can find, here: http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/courtforms/estatestrusts/pc578.pdf

    They have either a month from the date of your providing that form or 4 months from the date of publication of the Notice in the paper, in order to file a claim against the estate. If they fail to do so, their claim would be barred. I would write them a letter and send the above form. If they respond by filing a claim, you will need to decide if the charges are legitimate or not. If the charges are legitimate, I am not sure what basis you would have for disallowing them, but at that point, it might make sense to consult with an attorney to determine how to proceed. If they do not file a claim, you do not need to worry about them.

    James Frederick

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  • How can I transfer Legal Guardianship to a close friend in Ohio? Guardian is not a relative. I am Biological Parent.

    This transfer is agreed on by all parties (Biological Parents, Son, and to-be Legal guardian)

    James’s Answer

    Guardianship is handled through the probate court. That would be the only way to accomplish what you have mentioned. Without knowing more about your situation, it is tough to tell, but another option that falls short of a guardianship would be a delegation of parental authority, by way of a power of attorney form. Such forms are valid for six months at a time and can be extended for additional six month intervals as necessary or desirable. This eliminates the need for court. It also eliminates the need for ongoing responsibilities to the court.

    James Frederick

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  • Do I need a lawyer to put a boat in my name. That was to be mine. At the time of death from the person who bought it?

    My elderly neighbor that I've known all my life. Had become ill the last 2 yrs. I became his caregiver. During those 2 yrs he bought a pontoon boat. And put it in writing that upon his death the pontoon was to be given to me. He signed it along wi...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney Emaus. To be more specific, it is likely that you will need to petition the probate court to admit the writing as a Will. With vehicles, there is a special Michigan law that allows the heirs to avoid the need for probate, as long as the total value of vehicles is less than $60k. In your case, however, you are not an heir. The only way the boat would pass to you is under the writing, which you will ask the court to treat as a Will. Presumably, the son may try to fight you on this. You would have a much better chance of success with the help of a lawyer. Of course, this could become cost-prohibitive if the son fights you. If there is another Will, this would further complicate matters, and would force you to argue that the writing should be treated as a codicil to the Will.

    James Frederick

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  • My 16 yr old son is on probation and spiraling out of control. Can I give someone else temporary guardianship during this time?

    I have tried everything and nothing seems to get through to my son. We live waling distance from everything that appeals to him. I am considering letting him stay with someone from our church that can provide a less convenient neighborhood for w...

    James’s Answer

    As a parent, you can delegate your parental authority for a period of up to six months, (which can be renewed for additional six month periods), without giving up custody. This does not even need to be done through the court. Seeing a lawyer to set this up is probably a good idea. It should not be an expensive service. Of course, if your child does not agree with this, your child may have the option to seek emancipation, through the probate court. If that is granted, your parental rights WOULD be terminated.

    I hope that you are able to work things out so you can continue to have a relationship with your son. Hopefully, in time, he will realize that he does not know it all and you are not as clueless as he apparently thinks you now are. It is part of growing up and maturing. It sounds like he has a ways to go. I wish you the best of luck!

    James Frederick

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  • Is my new wife responsible for my child support that I owed from previous marriage.. if I die

    Can they take her assets

    James’s Answer

    As my colleagues have said, the answer is NO, your wife would not be responsible for this debt. If you are not careful in planning your estate, however, there is a chance that some of the assets you leave behind MAY be reachable. Assuming that you would prefer for your new wife to have these assets, you need to make sure that your estate planning is set up properly. That means working with a good estate planning attorney. It is the best way to protect both you and your wife.

    James Frederick

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  • Medicaid Recovery ltr rcvd; estate already insolvent. Do we compl/return this "voluntary" form or just ignore? No probate filed.

    In MI. FIL died 4/6/15. Property passed directly to only son via Lady Bird Deed (avoiding probate). Approx. $1200 in bank accounts and 20-year-old car we do not yet have access to as no POD. No probate opened. Are receiving Hospital & Nursing Home...

    James’s Answer

    If you ignore the letter, you will likely keep receiving them. I would send a letter explaining the situation. You should also make arrangements to recover the assets, either by way of a small estate affidavit or through a petition and order for assignment procedure. These are not difficult procedures, but a lawyer may be helpful to you. If there is no probate estate, the car can pass to the next of kin by using a certificate procedure at the Secretary of State office.

    James Frederick

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  • Michigan - does the will % in the will over power 1/2 of the lady bird deed?

    My mom added my nephew to her lady bird deed after brother's threat. He was originally only supposed to get 20% but got 1/2, Her lawyer never explained that to her or me when she added him. She thought he would still only get 20%.

    James’s Answer

    It is not entirely clear what has taken place, here, but a deed can and often does trump the Will. The Will deals only with assets that are part of the probate estate. If the deed removes the property from the probate estate, then the Will would not apply. You would have a very difficult case, trying to prove that the deed should somehow be invalidated. There is virtually no chance of success without retaining a very skilled probate litigation attorney. Obviously, what was said by and to the lawyer who drafted the documents could be critically important.

    James Frederick

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  • If a husband has Alzheimers is it true that only half of a couples savings need go to memory care before medicaid takes over?

    He is in a very nice memory care home but I am afraid we will run out of money and was told that when his half is used up he could go on medicaid. True or not?

    James’s Answer

    Your understanding is partially correct. It is generally possible to shelter more than half of your assets, if proper planning can be done. This is unfortunately not the kind of planning that can be done on a do-it-yourself basis. You should consult a good elder law attorney as soon as possible.

    James Frederick

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  • How can a person with dementia legally establish that they are competent to change their living trust?

    My mother wishes to make changes to her trust. She has been diagnosed with dementia, and some beneficiaries may wish to contest any changes. What can she do to show that she is of sound mind to make these decisions? We have thought of asking the d...

    James’s Answer

    A letter from the doctor may be okay, but it will show that you had concerns about her capacity, so it could work the other way, as well. In my opinion, working with a qualified estate planning attorney is the best way to make sure that the changes will be upheld. You cannot guarantee that no one will ever challenge the documents. The best you can do is to 1) make sure that the documents are properly set up; 2) have the lawyer assess your mother's capacity; 3) make sure there is no good argument that there could be undue influence. The lawyer can do all of these things, as well as possibly including "in terrorem" clauses, which would disinherit anyone who decides to challenge the documents. The lawyer would also be a witness who could testify in support of your mother's estate plan. That could make all the difference.

    James Frederick

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  • Family Inheritance problem, one of the sibling want to sale the family house and collect all the money

    My dad passed away 5 years ago, and he left after him a house and cars, one of my brothers took all the cars titles and sold them (titles they were under my dad name only), plus now he is trying to sale the house and collect the money for himself,...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Brennan. You appear to have a lot to lose, here. I am not sure how your brother could jump ahead of your mother, as that would be unusual. But facts are critical in cases like this. Your best bet is to share all the facts with a good probate litigation lawyer and make sure your rights are protected. Mr. Brennan is in your area and would be an excellent resource for you.

    James Frederick

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