Skip to main content
JoEllen Pfeifle Doebbert

JoEllen Doebbert’s Answers

8 total

  • How can I get my son back from my sister?

    Ok my sister has been taking care of my son for four years. I signed a paper so she could be power of attorney for one year, I signed it for the past three years. The reason that I did this was because I wasn't very stable, I was young acting real...

    JoEllen’s Answer

    When you signed the power of attorney, you relinquished no legal rights to your sister. Was the agreement you mentioned in writing? That may have some bearing on your current rights to your son. Have an attorney prepare a demand letter and/or discuss any other options you may have to gain the return of your son. Your sister would need to petition the family court for custody in order to establish any legal rights to your son. That is an expensive process. You need some good legal advice about how to proceed.

    See question 
  • Do joint accounts, Payable on Death accounts, and beneficiaries of specific accounts override a will in all cases?

    Recently someone passed away. I and one other person were named in the will. Neither of us are related (or married) to the deceased. At the time of the will being written, I was 18 and my part is set up as a trust, with the other person being the ...

    JoEllen’s Answer

    You may wish to consult a lawyer of your choosing on this issue, as you have separate legal rights as a devisee of a Will. As a general rule, joint accounts, assets like CDs and retirement accounts which have beneficiaries named, will not be governed by the Will because they are 'non-probate' assets, i.e. assets that are not governed by probate and therefore not covered by the Will. However, sometimes such assets (other than joint accounts) have no beneficiary or have 'the estate' named as the beneficiary -- in those cases, then the assets become 'probate assets' and are governed by the Will. You should find out if the "Inventory" has been prepared for the estate yet, and request a copy from the personal representative or from the Court if it has been filed. It is due 6 months after filing of the probate case. It will show all property that needs to be probated. Contact an attorney if you feel assets are missing. If you have any concerns about financial exploitation by the other devisee of the decedent as a vulnerable adult (for example in the making of the beneficiary designations), you may wish to consult an attorney to explore that avenue.

    See question 
  • Balloon payment may be due before I can get probate tied up. Cant seem to get my hands on funds can I get them to wait?

    Asking again because there was no response. There is a balloon payment due on my deceased fathers home. The initial probate paperwork has been filed. I don't think at this point that it will be settled before the payment is due. I am having troub...

    JoEllen’s Answer

    If you are interested in purchasing the property (buying out the other 3 owners), then enter into a purchase agreement with the personal representative of the estate, and then apply for your own financing. Perhaps you can get that done before the balloon payment is due. If not, I would think the decedent's bank would work with you in order to close the deal.

    Have you spoken with the personal representative about refinancing the loan on the property or to negotiate with the lender directly regarding the balloon payment? For now, it is the personal representative's obligation to deal with this issue, or to work with all the potential devisees to the property to get the balloon payment worked out/paid. Is the attorney for the estate aware of your concerns? I would think everyone would be in agreement that it is important to save the property if there is equity.

    See question 
  • Can i discharge my mom from nursing home

    my mom wants to come home and she is able. her doctor released her but the nursing home has told her that she would lose her medicare . my mom for some reason is scared there she cries and begs for use to get her home . one day all she had to eats...

    JoEllen’s Answer

    You should contact an elder law attorney in your state who is knowledgeable about medicare benefits and also about patient rights issues. Before she leaves the nursing home, I would suggest that your mother needs advice about how any of her government benefits will be affected by a decision to change her living situation.

    See question 
  • I have grandparents that are elderly and one of them needs to be in a nursing home. Can they gift money to there heirs?

    Before they go into a nursing home can they reduce there monetary assets to the minimum 52000 for the minumum benifit that is not compensatable to the state?

    JoEllen’s Answer

    The answer has a lot to do with whether your grandparents are able to privately pay for their care during the "look back period," generally 5 years. If they cannot, then gifting is not a good idea because it will likely make them ineligible for government paid care ("medicaid" or "medical assistance" -- it is called different things in different states). Your grandparents should contact a Wisconsin elder law attorney for advice before they make any gifts.

    See question 
  • Do i need a probate attorney if I am mentioned in a will but after 2-1/2 months have yet to see a copy of it?

    My "significant other" passed away, leaving his sister executor of his will. She has assured me I have taken care of in his will, but after 2-1/2 months I have yet to see a copy of his will. Am I entitled to?

    JoEllen’s Answer

    You should contact the probate court of the county in which your significant other resided. If a probate has been initiated, they would have a copy of the Will, and you can ask them for a copy (there may be a small fee). If they have the Will, also ask if the personal representative has filed any other papers yet, and request a copy of those as well. The papers will tell you who the attorney is for the personal representative, so that you have another person to call about the status of the probate. Sometimes probates are not initiated, even though there is a Will, if the decedent did not have assets that require probate. If you have a hard time getting the information you need about the probate from the named personal representative, you may want to contact an attorney to advise you about how to proceed and about your rights under the Will. It may be important to get a probate proceeding started in order to preserve the Decedent's assets, so best not to delay too long if there are assets that require action in order to preserve them (mortgage payments on a home, for example). I would urge you to start getting the information you need to preserve your rights under the Will.

    See question 
  • In minn ,my father has passed and my brother is exc of dads life insurance.im a beneficuary the insurance is in the bank.

    do i need my brothers permision to withdraw my money?

    JoEllen’s Answer

    If the insurance company has not released the funds to your brother and you are a named beneficiary of the life insurance policy, you should contact the insurance company, and they will instruct you about how to obtain your share of the funds directly from them. If your brother as Executor (in Minnesota the proper term is "personal representative") has already been able to collect the funds from the life insurance company and has deposited those funds in a bank, then you will have no ability to withdraw the funds from the bank directly. If your brother was appointed by the Court to serve as Executor and he has created the account at the bank under that authority, then he is the only person who has the ability to withdraw funds. As personal representative of your father's estate, he is bound to follow the law of Minnesota, and I would recommend that you contact a Minnesota attorney to advise you about your rights during the probate process. You may also be able to contact the attorney for the personal representative if you cannot get a satisfactory answer from your brother about when the funds will be distributed. Call the probate court in the county that your father resided if you have not yet received any paperwork for a probate proceeding. They will be able to tell you if a probate has been initiated and whether your brother has been officially appointed by the Court. If not, contact a Minnesota attorney to advise you.

    See question 
  • How do I protect the family cabin from being involved in son's possible divorce, so that both sons can keep it after I die?

    My sons are adult, both single. In the future the cabin will go to them. In the event one of them divorces I don't want the cabin to be included in their personal property and have to be sold. Is it possible to put it in a trust of some sort so...

    JoEllen’s Answer

    If you set up a trust and name your sons (and possibly their heirs) as future beneficiaries of the trust, then this should provide adequate protection for the family cabin. On your death, you may also want to fund the trust with life insurance funds to help maintain it after your death. One of the problems that comes up in divorces is when the spouse is able to claim that she and her husband (for example your son) contributed marital funds to maintaining and improving the cabin during the marriage -- that can actually create a marital interest in the cabin where none existed before (the inheritance of the cabin is itself a non-marital asset and is usually protected in a divorce from a marital claim). If you help fund the maintenance and future improvements of the cabin through life insurance or some other source, it will help your sons prevent a marital interest from being created. A thorough discussion of all your concerns with a Minnesota attorney should occur before any course is followed, as there may be a number of approaches to meet your objectives.

    See question