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James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

13,918 total


  • My mom inherited my brothers house. On the title it will be her then my niece. Can my mother sell her existing house to me.

    My mother has guardianship of my dad. My dads name can't be on the new house because of the guardianship. He's (my dad) has been living in (my brothers house) the house for over 10 years. My mother for three years They traded houses but not ...

    James’s Answer

    It is a little bit hard to follow all of the intricacies of your summary, but based on what little there is, I do not see a problem with your mom selling the home. Of course, if your dad is also on the title, then she may need to use a Power of Attorney of act as Conservator for your dad. Conservatorship is a probate proceeding. If there is no POA and your dad IS on the title of the home, that is probably the only way she would be able to get legal authority to sign for him. If his incapacity is physical and not mental, then he may be able to sign off on his own.

    James Frederick

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  • Which of my father's debts will be have to pay if he had a lady bird deed?

    My father passed away with no assets except a lady bird deed in which he listed the names of us five siblings on a deed to his house. He owed a $35,000 home equity loan on the house, a $10,000 hospital bill and $10,000 in credit card debt. He had ...

    James’s Answer

    This appears to be a follow-up to your other question. Creditors are generally out of luck, when there is no probate estate. A creditor can ask the court to open an estate and appoint a Personal Representative, however, who can then make claims against non-probate assets. So it is possible that there *COULD* be recourse for the creditors. It just rarely happens. Most creditors do not want to pay money to TRY to collect on a debt. In such cases, the debt is often written off, and those costs of doing business are passed on to everyone else, in the form of higher costs and fees. Since your father clearly benefited from at least the hospital treatment, (and probably the credit card purchases, as well), there is a moral obligation to pay for at least some of this debt, even if the legal obligation is less concrete.

    As I mentioned in my response to your other question, you may want to get together as a family and contact the creditors to negotiate a settlement of those amounts. Since the alternative is them not being paid at all, creditors are often very willing to reduce the debt, often substantially. That way, everyone gets something out of the situation and you have honored your father's memory by paying his obligations.

    James Frederick

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  • How are checks distributed when a house sells from a lady bird deed?

    My father passed away with no assets except for leaving us siblings a lady bird deed to his house. We plan to sell the house and divide the money among us five siblings. So how does it work when we sell the house? If there are five names on the de...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Jones response. The tricky part is that your siblings and you cannot both get what you want. Since there is no Personal Representative, there is no one to collect the money from the non-probate assets. One option is that you might agree as a family to negotiate a settlement with the creditors. Since they are otherwise not going to get paid anything, I would think that they might be willing to reduce the debt to a level that all of you could agree on paying. Since some of you do not want to pay at all, that is a less than ideal result. But it would satisfy some of your father's debts and for those who want to pay, it gives them a way to do the right thing, as well.

    James Frederick

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  • What forms are required, what forms need notarized to close Estate.

    My husband is Personal Rep of his mother's Estate. Due to disagreements with the lawyer, we have chosen to release her. My husband was quoted a price, & this lawyer continually was tacking on additional charges. Not to mention poor advice that...

    James’s Answer

    You have received some good answers already. It *sounds like* all you may need is a Sworn Statement to close the estate, which you can find, here:
    http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/courtforms/estatestrusts/pc591.pdf

    Without knowing more specific facts, it is impossible to say if this is actually the form you need. Therefore, Mr. Cotrell's suggestion to seek legal advice from an attorney is a good idea.

    As an aside, from what you have said, the costs you were charged do not sound excessive for probate work. If you were not getting good communication from the attorney, however, that can be frustrating and unacceptable.

    James Frederick

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  • Appealing limited guardianship, im a skilled machinist and engineer i was forced into guardianship and i will not have it. im 27

    I'm being unwillingly dragged through the process of guardianship all due to the simple fact that my mother opened her mouth and offered guardianship over me after a 20 day non violent jail sentence. I am a 26 year old college graduate with a 4.0 ...

    James’s Answer

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    Guardianship is usually an area where the assistance of an attorney is not necessary. Contested guardianships are sometimes an exception to this. When was the guardianship put in place? What evidence was used or was there any? (If you agreed to it, then there may not have been much evidence required.) You can always Petition the Court for a modification in your guardianship, due to a change in circumstances. The trick is, for the Court to recognize that, there generally must either be a dramatic change or there must have been some passage of time.

    In other words, if your guardianship was established 2-3 months ago, the judge may be reluctant to make a change. If it happened 2-3 years ago, you have a much better chance. You may need to get an independent medical exam or some other documentation as to the improvement in your position. Obviously, you are a very bright person, so it does not have anything to do with your mental capacity. Only you know the facts behind why you are in the position you are in. If you can demonstrate to a court that enough has changed that guardianship is no longer required, you stand an excellent chance of getting limiting or eliminating the guardianship. If your guardian is in agreement and will go to bat for you, that would be even more helpful.

    If you are going to be fighting an uphill battle the whole way in a contested proceeding, then hiring an attorney may help you.

    James Frederick

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  • Do I need a formal or informal packet to become the personal representative of estate

    My brother passed away in a car accident, didnt leave anything behind besides clothes. But theres and open bodily injury claim and im the only surviving heir but I need to become personal representative of estate to claim the settlement.

    James’s Answer

    If you are in fact the only surviving heir, then an informal proceeding should be all you need. It will also streamline proceedings and avoid the need to wait for a hearing before you can be appointed. You will want to consult with not only a wrongful death attorney, but also a probate attorney, before proceeding, however, as there may be other people who could make claims in the wrongful death action.

    James Frederick

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  • My question is can I sue the funeral? and what kind of lawyer would I need?

    My father was buried by two women pretending to be his wife and daughter, they put their names on his policy while he had dementia and multiple strokes. I called the funeral home twice to tell them the situation, but the told me the family paid ...

    James’s Answer

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    This sounds like a very strange set of circumstances. As Mr. Zichi said, there are many facts missing. Who is the beneficiary of the insurance policy? Normally, even if it is understand that the policy is to be used to cover funeral costs, the insurance company pays it to the named beneficiary unless that person or persons agree to assign it to the funeral home or cemetery. The nature of the relationship between the beneficiary and the insured generally does not matter, unless there was fraud, in establishing the policy. It sounds like that MAY be the case in your situation.

    I think that you need to take all of your paperwork and explain all of the facts to a probate litigation attorney to determine how best to proceed. I am sorry for your loss and wish you the best of luck in getting to the bottom of this situation.

    James Frederick

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  • What actions from michigan can I do to file a complaint in fla ?

    my father passed away 10/ 2013: my sister is the executive and the will is to be divided 3 equal parts: I have not received any documents like , life insurance policies or home deed papers ect. . her attorney just keeps telling the figures and giv...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Conway. I see no possible way for you to handle this in Michigan without an attorney. Since the estate is in Florida, your best bet is to retain Florida counsel to pursue action. Without knowing more about the facts, it is impossible to say if your current attorney is handling things appropriately or needs to be more aggressive. It is also impossible to tell whether there is anything that can be done with regard to your concerns about the annuity and/or the house. If this was done during your father's lifetime, there may be little you can do, unless you have compelling evidence that he lacked capacity or was subject to undue influence. Avvo has a good "find an attorney" function that you can use to locate a lawyer in the area where the probate administration is ongoing.

    Since you have invested $10k already, you will need to review all of the facts with a new attorney to determine whether or not it makes sense to continue. You will also want to get an itemized statement from the current attorney to justify the $10k that you spent. If he/she has not used all of the retainer, you may be entitled to a refund. Keep in mind that most contested matters are settled out of court. This is especially true in probate matters. You almost never see a trial in a probate estate. For that reason, negotiating is not only common, but necessary, and that may be the best way to resolve your case for the lowest cost and the least risk to you.

    James Frederick

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  • Is there anything i can do to stop this?

    my father passed one year ago and i am now living in his pre probate home which has a large barn with a bunch of his belongings in it. my brother has put a lock on the door of the barn and is now selling my fathers expensive things.

    James’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Is probate open? Is your brother the Personal Representative? If probate administration is taking place and your brother is the PR, then it would be completely appropriate for him to be selling probate assets. If that is not the case, then he is placing himself at risk and is also possibly jeopardizing your rights. If your brother is PR and you believe he is acting improperly, then you should retain your own attorney.

    James Frederick

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  • What do I the oldest daughter do when youngest daughter has taken everything of Mom's?

    Mother passed away with no will,3 daughters left behind.One daughter went to probate court to pay debts & was supposed to include other 2 daughters in decisions.She has moved into mother's paid off house taken car & all possessions of my mom's & ...

    James’s Answer

    Your rights as the oldest daughter are the same as the rights of your two sisters, except that from a legal standpoint, your sister who is the personal representative has the legal right to administer the estate. Whatever you may have agreed, she is the only one who legally has the right to make decisions. As long as she acts in accordance with her fiduciary responsibilities, there is very little you can do about it. To make sure that she does what she is supposed to do, she should be represented by a lawyer. To make sure that YOUR rights are protected, YOU should have a lawyer.

    James Frederick

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