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James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

13,771 total


  • The 1st thing you do when you find out days after your grandmother dies that, she has been a victim of theft and exploitation??

    Mother in law had a stroke 4yrs ago and was unable to walk talk or eat. My sister in law who hadn't worked in years trying to get disability at the time, jump at the opportunity to move into my mother in laws house and get power of attorney, limit...

    James’s Answer

    LOTS of issues and potential issues, here. Your grandmother's capacity is obviously the main issue in controversy. Obtaining medical records will be critical to the success of your case or lack thereof. The only way to obtain medical records in Michigan after a person has died is through appointment of a Personal Representative. Since your sister-in-law will certainly oppose your efforts to fight her, you will need to retain a highly skilled probate litigator. There is no other likely way you can prevail in a complicated matter like this.

    If you do not know a good probate litigation attorney in your area, Avvo's find a lawyer function will give you a good starting place.

    James Frederick

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  • Removing a person from my mother home, she passed on a couple months ago

    My mother passed away 5 months ago. I am the executor of her estate. I am preparing her house to be sold, at thus point the house has nothing in it but a couple pieces of furniture. My moms ex boyfriend broke into the house and changed all the loc...

    James’s Answer

    You can call the cops, and they MAY help you. My guess is that they will tell you this is a civil matter and you will need to go through eviction proceedings. This requires compliance with specific notice requirements and it may be best done with the help of an attorney. It could take up to 6 weeks for the entire process, depending on how determined the boyfriend is to push things. You may have claims against him in the event there are any damages. You also want to make sure that you continue to insure the property. Ideally, the insurance company is already aware of your mother's passing. There is a chance that they would deny a claim, if there are damages, but maintaining the insurance is still the best you can do.

    I would immediately contact a landlord tenant attorney and start the eviction process, in order to keep the delays to a minimum.

    When you talk with the police, it will help for you to go there in person and to take a copy of your Letters of Authority. That gives you the best chance that they will intervene on your behalf.

    If the boyfriend takes any of your mom's belongings from the house, he can be guilty of and liable for "conversion." That carries potential treble damages, as well as possible criminal sanctions. Whether he is collectible or not would certainly be an issue, however.

    James Frederick

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  • Is there anything I can do to get my share of dads estate?

    Dad died 3 years ago and had no will. His wife was still alive but she died in February of this year and her daughter took everything .wife had dementia and daughter was power of attorney over her.

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr Cottrell, but in my experience, it is most common for married people to hold title to their assets jointly. If that was the case here, then your stepmother would not have had to rely on the intestacy laws to get the entire estate. It would automatically have passed to her. That would be true even if there had been a Will leaving everything to you and zero to your stepmother.

    How the assets were held is critically important, along with any estate planning that might have been done. If your stepsister acted improperly under a POA, then you could have some recourse. In all likelihood, you are out of luck.

    I am sorry for your loss, and the position you now find yourself in. Your father could have set things up differently, had he planned his estate to benefit anyone other than his wife, ( and if the assets had been titled differently.)

    James Frederick

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  • Can I legally view my dad's will?

    My dad passed last February and my brother claims he is the only one of my dads 8 kids in his will and was left everything. I believe he may have manipulated my father if he is in fact the only one in it. Can my sisters and I view the will and fig...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney Wejroch, but I am concerned that you may not have the whole story, here. The only way a Will can be given effect is by having it admitted to probate. If and when that is done, you would be provided a copy. If it was not done, and your brother has been able to use and access the assets, it suggests that all of the assets were jointly owned by your father and brother, and/or your brother received them as your father's designated beneficiary. If that is the case, it still may be possible to challenge, but it would be much more difficult to do so. You are not going to be able to do this without a good probate litigator, so I would meet with a lawyer as soon as possible, to determine how to proceed.

    You can do a very preliminary check on things yourself, by checking online to determine how your father's assets were titled. Most register of deeds sites allow online searches. I suspect you will find that there was a quit claim deed adding your brother to the title of the real estate, at some point.

    That may give you some insight on what you are up against.

    James Frederick

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  • Michigan estate attorneys: On what grounds can we challenge a will or the appointment of a personal representative?

    My wealthy uncle died recently in MI. He left his entire estate to charity. He left nothing to his nieces, who are his closest living relatives. He appointed his attorney as his personal representative. The attorney is willing for us to have perso...

    James’s Answer

    I am very sorry for the death of your uncle and the situation you find yourself in. In all likelihood, you ARE out of luck. Facts are critically important, in cases like this, however. So if you think you may have a claim, you should visit with an attorney and have the Will reviewed.

    You cannot contest a Will because you do not like what it said. Your grandmother's comments aside, once your uncle inherited her estate, he was free to do with it whatever he wanted. As long as he had capacity to sign his Will, it is very unlikely you would be successful in challenging it. It is also very likely that once you DO contest the Will, you will no longer have any access to the personal items that you mention. I do not know if that makes a difference or not.

    Personal representatives in Michigan are entitled to "reasonable compensation" for their services. If the estate is large and complex, then the PR will be entitled to a higher fee. There is no percentage rate that is charged. It is based either on a flat fee or more commonly on an hourly basis.

    I am sorry not to be able to give you more encouraging news.

    James Frederick

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  • Can you have a will drawn up for someone else?

    Yesterday a close friend of ours stated said he would like to have legal papers made so that my Husband and myself would have his dog, home (which he does have a mortgage on) and all of his belongings if something were to happen to him. He said a...

    James’s Answer

    I absolutely agree with Mr. Howell. You are in a situation fraught with risk and if you do not have a lawyer draw up the paperwork, it is likely that the children will prevail in an action against you. The best way to insure that your friend's intentions are carried out is to have a lawyer draw up the proper documents. There are a number of ways of having this done, some of which would not involve probate. A lawyer will do it properly, and it may cost far less than you expect, to have this done.

    In addition to whatever other estate planning your friend sets up, he should also set up a durable power of attorney form for health care and financial matters, so his children cannot step in and undo his wishes, in the event that your friend ever becomes incapacitated.

    James Frederick

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  • S carolina probate law. Executor has not liquidated estate after 19 months. can i remove him and have new executor appointed?

    mother died 8/2013. main asset is the home FMV $175,000. my sister is living in home rent free. Sisters son is executor. home has been on market 19 months

    James’s Answer

    You have this posted under a Michigan location, making it far less likely that an S.C. attorney will even see it. You should consider re-posting this using an S.C. location to get responses that are more helpful to your specific needs. Without an attorney, you would have an uphill battle having your sister's son removed.

    James Frederick

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  • How can I find out if my father had any financial assets?

    My father passed away over a year ago. He had no will and was not married. I know that he spoke of bankruptcy, but later he also spoke (to many) of property in the Bahamas. I haven't been able to get hold of any bank statements, or find any pap...

    James’s Answer

    You CAN open probate, but I am not sure I would do so, without knowing whether or not there are assets. There are filing fees and other costs associated with probate. You could easily spend up to $300, not including attorney fees, just to get the estate up and running. I am not sure why you would do that, unless you knew for sure that there was an estate to administer. You might also need to file probate in the Bahamas because they may refuse to honor a Michigan court filing.

    To try to track assets, you should not only get the mail redirected to you, but you can also get copies of tax transcripts to determine where income was coming from. Searching online property records might also help.

    James Frederick

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  • Is it too late to initiate probate--or act in any other legal manner- if we already went through my father's belongings?

    My father passed away a year ago with no known will. He was not married. My grandmother, aunt, sister and I went through his belongs and took what we wanted (clothing, furniture, books, etc ) but there are still some questions as to who gets some ...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues that it is not too late to probate the estate. The question is whether probate is needed or not. Probate is not necessary for a motor vehicle, as long as the total value is less than $60k. When you say, "etc." it depends on what that means and how much it is worth. If the value is more than $22k, then probate will be needed. If it is not, then a small estate proceeding may be available for you. I agree that it would be best at this point to consult with a probate attorney to make sure that you are on the right track.

    James Frederick

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  • Do I need to setup an estate for my deceased father who passed away 6 years ago?

    Was contacted by a retirement fund saying I was named beneficiary six years after my fathers death. Filled out paper work they requested. They then told me I needed an estate. I am a bit confused, won't give me a value of account and my fath...

    James’s Answer

    Your facts are very confusing. If you were named beneficiary, then an estate should not be necessary. I would clarify the situation with them and/or have an attorney do so. Depending on the value of the account, probate may not be necessary, even if it would otherwise be required. Small estate proceedings are available for estates of less than $22K. Beneficiary designations eliminate the need for probate altogether, however.

    James Frederick

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