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Karen L Brady

Karen Brady’s Answers

60 total


  • In MN can the court force an heir to start probate proceedings?

    My mother was living in IL with me (her daughter) due to illiness. We put her home in MN on the market, and she passed away without a will before it was sold. The property was appraised at 35,000. I am aware that I can be appointed representitive ...

    Karen’s Answer

    I'm sorry for the loss of your mother.

    You don't indicate how ownership of the MN property was titled. Since you refer to it as your mother's house, I will assume that it was titled only in her name. If that is the case, only the personal representative of her estate will have authority to sign the paperwork on the house sale. The only way to be appointed personal representative is to start probate proceedings. So while you may not be forced to start probate proceedings merely because you are an heir, you can't sell the house without doing so.

    I would be surprised if the cost of probating the estate and paying the realtor exceeded the value of the house.

    What may complicate matters is that you say your mother was living in Illinois at the time of her death but the property is located in Minnesota. I suggest you start by contacting a Minnesota probate attorney who can help advise you if you can start probate proceedings in Minnesota or if you need to start in Illinois and then have ancillary proceedings opened in Minnesota.

    Good luck.

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  • I have medical and general power of attorney for my 80 year old dad can I legally go against doctors orders.

    My husband and I have taken care of my dad at home for 7 years since his stroke . The only time in 7 years my dad got sick and was in the hospital the doctor refused to release him to my husband and me and demanded we let him go to a nursing home...

    Karen’s Answer

    If your father is unable to make medical decisions for himself, than his agent under his medical power of attorney has the authority to do so. You say you are the agent. In that case, you would have the authority to decide where he receives treatment. However, the nursing home and doctor have the obligation to determine your father is released into a safe situation. I suggest that before you assert any legal rights you have you first discuss the matter with the nursing home's ombusman. Every nursing home in Colorado has one. The role of the ombudsman is to help facilitate communication between the residents/family and the facility administration. In the end, though, the nursing home cannot keep your father against his will, and if he can't express his will they can't keep him against the will of his appointed agent.

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  • Living trust

    Who should to know I have a living trust? Should beneficiaries know I have a trust? Should they know the content of the trust?

    Karen’s Answer

    I think it's helpful here to remember that a major goal for many people is to have the living trust serve as a "will substitute." With that in mind, ask yourself who you would want to know that you have a will and what the will says.

    I think the answer for everyone here will be different, based more on personal relationships and comfort level. However, I recommend that you let your successor trustee(s) know that you have a living trust, as he/she/they will be responsible for administering the trust when you become disabled or pass away. It can also be helpful to go over the contents of the trust with your successor trustee(s) in order to answer any questions that arise regarding your wishes and intent.

    As for letting the beneficiaries know the existence and content of your trust, I think that's a personal decision rather than a legal one. Since your living trust is revocable, you may change it at any time. Therefore, you may not have the same beneficiaries or terms of your trust when you die as you have now. For some people, that will be reason to decide that the beneficiaries don't need to know. Others may decide that they want the beneficiaries to understand the reasoning behind the contents of their trust.

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  • New ein?

    I have been told that I am the successor trustee of a trust. The settlor died recently. Do I need to obtain a new EIN? Thank you.

    Karen’s Answer

    Ms. VanConas' answer is correct if the trust was a revocable trust that used the settlor's social security number as the trust EIN prior to the settlor's death. However, if the trust was an irrevocable trust and already had an EIN separate from the settlor's social security number, then you would continue to use the trust's existing EIN.

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  • I have questions regarding Medicaid Planning

    I have done some research on the Internet and read about something called a life estate where my dad could retain the right to live in the home - called a remainder interest. We would like to know if this would be an option for us? I have also r...

    Karen’s Answer

    All of the options you mention can be possible means of Medicaid Planning, but it's not possible here to discuss all of them in detail as they apply to your situation. That's why it's important to contact an elder law attorney.

    A life estate is a gift of the remainder interest (post-death interest) in the home, therefore it is subject to the five year lookback rule that applies to Medicaid applications. It may also create some capital gains issues for the recipient of the remainder interest.

    If a parent transfers or devises (in a will) the residence to a child who cared for the parent AND the parent would have needed to go to assisted living or a nursing home if that care had not been provided, the transfer to the child MAY be exempt from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Act. However, as with your other questions, the answers are very dependent on your particular circumstances and only a qualified attorney can advise you on which options suit you and your father best.

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  • A car company sent me a check and 3 months later they called and asked for it back, do I owe them?

    I bought a Jeep and the company screwed me over, so I went back and they got me into another car. They sent me a check for $2,165 which I was told could be a tax credit, or I thought it was because they screwed me over so bad. I cashed the checked...

    Karen’s Answer

    I concur with the previous answer in that you need to investigate this further with a qualified attorney. However, even if it was the car dealer's mistake, if the check was sent to you in error you will be legally obligated to return the money.

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  • Need for an mediator in order to sell/desolve business partnership

    I am a partner in a business. we're an s corp with a building and other assets. We sell supplies wholesale. I intend to pursue other opportunities, but my business partner and i are at odds and need a third party in order to help us separate asset...

    Karen’s Answer

    I have my doubts that a mediator will be able to help you if you and your partner are really "at odds." You may need an attorney to review your corporate agreements and advise you. However, if you really think a mediator will help, you can find one through the American Arbitration Association at www.adr.org or there are some listed with the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga.

    Good luck.

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  • My company is nervous that freelancers with LLCs that pay tax like sole proprietors will be mistaken for employees.

    My company is afraid to hire LLCs to do freelance work. To address Kaiser Wahab's answer to a previous post: 1) How should a freelancer get a contract that expressly states the vendor is a contractor? 2) The single member vendor would file their ...

    Karen’s Answer

    Kaiser's answers are comprehensive, but I want to add that you can get a separate EIN for the LLC and still be taxed as a sole proprietorship (disregarded entity). If that makes the company hiring you feel better about contracting with a single member LLC you may want to do that.

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  • My father died without a will. His only asset was our house, can the probate court make me sell it to pay his debts?

    I am disabled, I have lived in the house my whole life. My father has credit card debtand I beleive some hospital bills. Will the probate court force me to sell my home? I am the only heir.

    Karen’s Answer

    There are some unstated facts to your question that will affect the answer. If your father was the sole owner of the house, the estate will be obligated to pay your fathers debts out of the estate assets. If the house is the only estate asset, then the debts must be paid from the equity in the house. That may involve selling the house or getting a mortgage that allows you to pay the debts out of the mortgage proceeds.

    However, if you and your father were joint owners on the house it may depend on how the house was titled. In addition, there may be exemptions or allowances that would permit you to claim a share of the assets with priority over the creditors. A probate attorney may also be able to negotiate with the credit card companies on behalf of the estate.

    For all of these reasons, I urge you to contact a probate attorney in your area to help protect your interests while fulfilling your duties to the estate.

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  • What are examples of definitions of a gift?

    In PA I understand a gift implies Delivery and Transfer. My parents gave numerous gifts over the years. Cash for house to one, furniture to another, fur coats etc to another. None of these items had paperwork like a title for transfer. Her yo...

    Karen’s Answer

    I recommend you contact a local probate attorney because it appears your sister will continue to give you trouble throughout the administration of the estate. While I am not licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, I did find this quote from a Pennsylvania judge: "It has been the law for centuries in the Commonwealth that regardless of what is devised in a will and to whom it is devised, a testator can gift away any or all assets during his or her lifetime as long as donative intent and delivery are present. The gifting can occur in many forms from an outright inter vivos gift to a gift that occurs in a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship by the death of one joint tenant and the passing of the gift to the survivor. All such gifts take effect outside of the estate that passes by will."

    Although this doesn't directly address proof that it was a gift, it does show that the law recognizes that a gift occurs when the item is delivered with no intent to receive something in return. You will have evidence of donative intent in the form of your statements. While you may not be an ideal witness on your own behalf, your sister will likely need some sort of evidence to overcome your own statements. Another hurdle your sister will face in seeking return of items given to you is the statute of limitations, which will prevent the estate from collecting any items that might otherwise be owed if they were transferred beyond the statute limits (which may be as long as six years). Again, check with a local probate attorney to get definitive state law answer that can make you and your siblings comfortable responding to your sister.

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