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Janet Lee Brewer

Janet Brewer’s Answers

1,792 total

  • When I went through my divorce 23 yrs ago I had a will drawn up with my parents as the executors, do I need to change that?

    Now that my children are adults do I need to change my will? I had it set up that my belongings went to both my children with my parents as their executor because they were minors when I divorced. Now that they are adults do I need to change my ...

    Janet’s Answer

    Do you still want your parents to be the executors? If the answer is "no", then I think you can reach your own conclusion as to whether you need to change your will or not.

    Usually wills are not very expensive to set up or change. And failing to change them when they need to be changed can have unintended consequences.

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  • 401k without assigned beneficiary?

    My father passed last week. He had an Ira in which I was his beneficiary. However he failed to assign a beneficiary for his 401k (which is with the same bank). He had a living trust and will that stated all his assets in all his funds would go to...

    Janet’s Answer

    I'm sorry about your father's death.

    If the plan administrator won't release the 401k to you without "letters testamentary", then you will need to open a probate.

    However, if the funds are worth $150,000 or less, there is a possibility that you can get them released to you by using a "small estates affidavit".

    I would be happy to assist.

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  • Could this psychologist have done something illegal?

    A close friend is under court appointed conservatorship due to dementia. His former trustee tried to get me out of the picture and I suspect he tried to do it through the neuropsychologist my friend had at that time. This neuropsychologist d...

    Janet’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If you believe there was abuse, then you can report it anonymously to the County Adult Protective Services Agency in the county where your friend lives. It sounds, though, as if that might already have happened if the trustee and the neuropsychologist were "removed".

    Here's a link for the Santa Clara County APS:

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  • Canadian citizen parents gifting US resident child cash to buy a home - tax implications for both?

    While the amount is around 500k, are there limitations on the amount to avoid taxation? What are the formalities, other than filing Form 3520? Thank you.

    Janet’s Answer

    Be very careful about this ... if the Canadian parents gift the cash from a US bank account, then they are subject to the $60,000 lifetime gift tax exemption for non-resident aliens and **you** may very well end up having to pay the gift tax on the excess (approximately $110,800). Although your parents are the ones responsible for paying the tax, if they don't pay it, the IRS can collect it from you.

    I suggest that your parents retain a competent attorney familiar with US gift taxation on non-resident aliens to learn how to shield this gift from US gift taxes.

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  • How long does it take for the court to issue letters after our probate hearing?

    I just filed a petition for probate and the hearing is not until Dec 13th 2012. I need to get something to the reverse mortgage company as soon as possible before they foreclose. I was told I could ask for a special letter of administration detai...

    Janet’s Answer

    Mr. Goodson is correct on all counts. You're already running into problems and the probate is just getting started. If you need to get something to the reverse mortgage company "as soon as possible before they foreclose", you really can't afford to wait until the hearing in December.

    You need to decide whether you'd rather lose the house (or at least risk losing it), try to do it yourself, or pay an expert to do the job correctly.

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  • Will filing a petition for probate prevent the sale of a property under reverse mortgage until the court issues its decision?

    No executor of estate was appointed upon the decedent's passing.

    Janet’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Frederick. If the contract provides that the house must be listed for sale or sold within a specified period of time, the probate court won't stop the sale.

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  • I have a house in Russia but I live in the USA. Can I make a will here and leave the house to my daughter?

    I am a US citizen.

    Janet’s Answer

    Ya koglasen c advokatom Gorokovskem.

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  • Under 2010 rules when is an asset valued at time of death or time of distribution?

    My mothers estate willed me and my brother and sister a house. It was agreed upon taking possession the value at time of death. Now there saying it worth 50,000 more and the house they received is worth 75,000 less at the time of distribution. I h...

    Janet’s Answer

    Was this a probate or a trust? If it was a probate, then the probate court approved the distribution of the assets and your siblings are out of luck - they should have complained about who-was-getting-what before the judge "granted" the petition for distribution.

    If the distribution was made by the trustee of a trust, then if your siblings disagree with the distribution they "might" have a cause of action against the trustee. But I doubt it.

    Bottom line, unless you somehow tricked them into giving you something that was more valuable than they got, I don't see where they have a case - in the law, we say that they have the "benefit of the bargain", meaning that just because they made a bad deal doesn't mean that they have a case.... if they didn't like the deal, they should have just said "no" at the time (unless you engaged in fraud, deceit, undue influence, coercion, or some other "egregious conduct").

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  • Decease dies no will. She has bank account without no beneficiary listed. Can the heirs withdrawal the funds without probate?

    Do heirs have to file through probate to distribute property? Decease own a home still mortgage through bank. None of heirs can qualify for a loan. She had credit debt are the heirs responsible to pay? What will bank do w/funds since their is no ...

    Janet’s Answer

    Can the heirs afford to pay the mortgage even if they can't qualify for a loan? If so, there is a federal law (called the "Garns-St. Germain Act") that may apply. It provides that the bank can't "call" (force immediate repayment) of a mortgage if the property owner dies and the property is inherited by a close family member ... as long as the heirs continue to make payments, the bank must leave the loan in place. Of course, if the heirs stop making payments, then the bank can foreclose.

    As the other lawyers have indicated, you are not "personally" responsible for the credit card debts. However, there is a process that must be followed to either repay them or have them declared uncollectible.

    You do that as part of a probate proceeding.

    If you would like to start a probate proceeding, please phone my office to arrange an appointment. I would be happy to assist you.

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  • Hello. My sister and I are having trouble getting our inheritance from our brother who is the trustee, should we get a lawyer?

    My brother has handled our family trust terrible, lettting property go, not calling us back. spending money without answers and I beleive he added to the trust without my father's approval. And he claims the original will is lost. what should we...

    Janet’s Answer

    I agree with Ms. Sinclair. You've been told multiple times that you need to hire an experienced probate attorney to assist you. Are you looking for a different answer?

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