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A. Spencer Bergstedt

A. Bergstedt’s Answers

17 total


  • Bankruptcy and Domestic Partnership

    I am living with my fiance. He is starting at Boeing and we want to file for domestic partnership since we are living together so my kids and I can be on his insurance. I am currently filing for bankruptcy and I know that getting married will affe...

    A.’s Answer

    While the Federal Government only recognizes different-sex couples currently for bankruptcy filings, things are changing at the Federal level as it relates to same-sex couples in marriages and/or registered domestic partnerships. One example is that the IRS now allows (if not requires) registered domestic partners and same-sex married couples to file joint tax returns.

    Within the realm of bankruptcy, if you register as domestic partners before you file your bankruptcy, the US Trustee may want to look at your partner's income as a resource available to you - just as they would any other married person who is filing a bankruptcy separately. There are a few bankruptcy cases which deal specifically with domestic partners and, predictably, the federal government wants to recognize domestic partnerships for some reasons while not recognizing them for others.

    You are likely best off to file the bankruptcy first and then register as domestic partners. However, in any event, you should discuss your situation with your bankruptcy attorney.

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  • Filed chapter 13 bankruptcy prior to foreclosure sale date - action was ignored.

    WA state Rental house...we filed chapter 13 prior to 9/25/09 sale date; this should have stayed the foreclosure. However, tenants tell us a "real estate" person came to the door, said house was foreclosed/being sold, then posted "notice of sale" s...

    A.’s Answer

    Did you list the foreclosure trustee's address in your Bankruptcy Schedules? If not, then you'll need to amend your schedules to add their address. In the meantime, make sure that you mail and fax them a copy of your Notice of Filing to ensure that they know about the bankruptcy. Just because you filed in time does not mean that they got notice - unless you listed them in your schedules.

    If they proceed, once they got notice, and without leave of the court to do so (in the form of an Order for Relief from Stay), then they can be held accountable for violating the stay.

    If you don't have an attorney representing you in this matter, I suggest that you hire competent bankruptcy counsel to assist you. Bankruptcy is a very complex area of practice and there are many rules that must be followed in order to ensure that your case runs smoothly. Don't go it alone.

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  • What action can I take if my domestic partner lost their job and can make the mortgage payments

    my domestic partner lost their job and cannot pay thier half. I cannot et a roommate to help pay the mortgage because they are unwiling to sign off the house. How do I save my credit and not get drug down with the deadbeat partner, and how can i g...

    A.’s Answer

    You don't say whether or not you are registered domestic partners or how you own title to the property. Both of those questions will need to be addressed in determining what courses of action you could take. You should consult with a real estate attorney in your area - and one who is familiar with domestic partnership law as well.

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  • I have lost my job and am in a chapter 13,and missed 3 monthly payments. what's next?

    i have made partial payments on the months that i have paid for 8 months,now

    A.’s Answer

    Depending on some other information specific to your case, you might want to either seek a moratorium of payments until you get a new job or you may want to convert to a Chapter 7. You should discuss the particulars of your case with an attorney if you don't already have one as bankruptcy is a technical practice area. If you do nothing, eventually your Chapter 13 case will be dismissed and you may be prevented from filing another Chapter 13 or 7 for some period of time thereafter.

    PLEASE BE ADVISED: This answer and any information contained herein is not intended to be treated, and should not be construed, as legal advice. Rather, this answer is offered solely for general information purposes. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it create any kind of legal relationship, duty, or privilege. This attorney is licensed only in Washington.

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  • Can the trustee of a living will legally refuse to show it to family members? We only have her word about this & says no will.

    My son's father passed away, and he is his only child. Father is survived by both parents & one sister and wife. The surviving spouse says they have a Living Trust & she has full control over all assets, that deceased left everything to her, howe...

    A.’s Answer

    Even with a Trust - there may be assets that are not part of the Trust that would be subject to probate. While a Trust is generally a private document, the fact that she is unwilling to share its contents is troubling. In my practice, when I prepare a trust I also prepare what is called a pour over will, to cover any assets not transferred to the trust.

    You don't mention if your son is a minor, or if you were receiving child support, but that may also provide an additional claim against the estate.

    In terms of who can bring a probate action, your son (or you, if he is a minor) could bring the action, notify the wife, parents and sister, and let the court make the decision over who gets to be appointed as personal representative. Further, if the wife has acted in ways that would harm your son's interests as a beneficiary, she could be held liable for that.

    There are a number of potential options here and it would serve your son's interests well to discuss this matter with an attorney.

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  • I moved into my home w/my husband 14 years ago, my name is not on the deed. What do i to make sure this stays my home?

    There are children from a previous marriage.

    A.’s Answer

    There are a number of things that you and your husband can do to ensure that you keep the house in the event of his death or that you have rights to it in the event you split up.

    Estate planning (Wills and Trusts) could be set up by your husband to ensure that you get the home in the event of his death. A quit claim deed could be done to put you on title immediately.

    An attorney can certainly talk to you and your husband about your options and what steps you can take to protect your interest in the house.

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  • I own a home with my borfriend but my home is not on the mortgage. What are my rights?

    We purchased out home together 4 years ago with both of our names on the martgage. We refinanced 1 1/2 years ago with just his name on the mortgage becuase we got a better interest rate. My name is still on the home insurance and I am still lis...

    A.’s Answer

    Really - you should meet with an attorney to discuss this situation. Things are often not as simple as you might think. Bring in copies of your deed and the mortgage paperwork for the attorney to review.

    Whose name is on the mortgage is typically less important that (a) who is on title (b) how title is held (c) who has contributed to the initial downpayment, mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, improvements, etc. and (d) how much each person has contributed.

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  • My brother died recently leaving no will. He lived in Washington state with my parents.

    He never married and had no children. Our wish is for the money to in his bank acct to go directly to the parents. Is that what happens by default. Is there somewhere I can go to learn more about the process?

    A.’s Answer

    The laws of intestate succession found at RCW 11.04.015(2)(b) indicate that the parents would take 100% of the estate. Whether or not the estate would need to be probated or would qualify for a small estate under RCW 11.62 et seq and whether or not notice to creditors should be given are some considerations that should be discussed with a probate attorney.

    PLEASE BE ADVISED: This answer and any information contained herein is not intended to be treated, and should not be construed, as legal advice. Rather, this answer is offered solely for general information purposes. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it create any kind of legal relationship, duty, or privilege. This attorney is licensed only in Washington.

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  • In the state of Washington do I have to have my divorce papers notarized? Does the other spouse have to sign in order to file?

    I have all the papers ready to be filed. I have typed them and all that is needed now is to file; I’m just waiting for the other person to pay the filing fee. So with that being said, I am just curious if I have to have my spouse sign the papers? ...

    A.’s Answer

    In terms of filing the matter, you don't need to have your paperwork notarized. After your case is filed, you have to wait 90 days from the date that the other party is served - or the papers are filed in the case of you filing a joint petition or one where your spouse files a joinder.

    I think what you may be asking is about finalizing the dissolution after you've filed and whether or not your spouse needs to sign those papers. You have to wait at least 90 days from the date of filing/service before you can finalize the dissolution.

    There are 2 ways that you can go about finalizing the dissolution. One - get an order of default if your spouse doesn't respond to the petition. Two - you both sign the Decree of Dissolution, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and any other necessary pleadings (Child Support Order, Parenting Plan, QDRO, etc.) and you bring those agreed documents with you to the final hearing.

    PLEASE BE ADVISED: This answer and any information contained herein is not intended to be treated, and should not be construed, as legal advice. Rather, this answer is offered solely for general information purposes. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it create any kind of legal relationship, duty, or privilege. This attorney is licensed only in Washington.

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  • Does my Husband have to go back to were he was born just because he came here illegaly n im trying to fix his paper?

    my husband has been here in th USA since he was 7 now 17 years later i want to Petition him as i am a US Citizen. is it true that he has to leave back to were is is from and then i can start his petition?

    A.’s Answer

    It's impossible to answer your question without more information. Immigration matters are often complex and require special knowledge to navigate the system. I strongly encourage you to consult with, and hire, an immigration attorney to assist you with this very important matter.

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