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Karl L. Flaccus
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Karl Flaccus’s Answers

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  • How can I get immediate guardianship of my 27 yo daughter?

    Daughter is recently diagnosed bipolar, has been hospitalized 3 times in the last 30 days, they keep letting her out because she's not cutting herself, but when she goes manic, she disappears for days, consumes alcohol and participates in extremel...

    Karl’s Answer

    Guardianships take time. A guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed by the court to write a report, and the GAL has to get a medical report for the judge to consider. Generally, guardianships take at least 45 days. Guardianships are disfavored. A power of attorney is often sufficient to avoid a guardianship. The person has a right to hire a lawyer and contest a guardianship in a jury trial, so one must initiate a guardianship carefully and thoughtfully. I suggest you consult with a guardianship attorney who can give you specific advice concerning this difficult situation.

    One other thought: with bi-polar disease, your daughter may choose to have a mental health directive under RCW 71.32.

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  • Can disinherited siblings from a blended family have any chance of sharing in that will?

    The will was revised after our father's death in 1979. Step mother died earlier in 2013.

    Karl’s Answer

    We do not have enough facts to answer this question. With the right set of of facts, the answer would be yes, disinherited siblings have a chance of sharing in a will. You should take this question to a probate attorney to get more insight into what your changes are.

    Note that one has 4 months from the beginning of probate to contest a will, not 40 days.

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  • How much does it cost to hire a probate lawyer?

    My mom did not have a living will , her assets are over in Montana. How difficult is it if my mom did not have a will unfortunately cancer took my mom too fast. How much does it cost to get the process started for a probate lawyer ? Do I need to g...

    Karl’s Answer

    Some types of assets can be handled by a Washington lawyer if she died in Washington. Ultimately, whether you need a Montana lawyer depends on the nature of the assets. If your mother had real estate in Montana, then yes, you will need a Montana lawyer. Remember that attorney fees are almost always paid from the assets in the estate, and not out of the pocket of the personal representative. Your best bet is to consult with a probate attorney to see what actions need to be taken, and in what state. You should be able to get that initial information economically from a local probate attorney.

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  • Do the beneficiaries of an estate have a case to claim government retirement payments against ex-spouse?

    The then-spouse was named as beneficiary on the deceased government retirement plan. The divorce papers clearly state that the deceased retirement would not go to the ex-spouse. The government informed the beneficiaries that the ex-spouse was enti...

    Karl’s Answer

    Many states, including Washington, enacted statutes that revoked beneficiary designations -- such as those in government retirement plans -- upon divorce. However, in 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court in Egelhoff v. Egelhoff prevented a Washington revocation-on-divorce law (and thus all such states' laws) from applying, finding that the state revocation-on-divorce laws are preempted by ERISA. Had state law applied in Egelhoff, the deceased husband’s benefits would have passed to his estate and to his two children from a prior marriage. Instead, the Supreme Court held that ERISA required that the former wife receive the benefits of the pension plan because she was named as the beneficiary, despite her having already received her share of the marital property under the divorce agreement, and despite the presumed desire of the husband to not benefit his ex-wife.

    In your case, additional factors may be relevant, so it always makes sense to get legal advice. ERISA is complex federal law, and whether and how it applies in your case should be looked at carefully. I suggest you consult with a probate and ERISA attorney to delve into your particular set of facts and the most recent law.

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  • Trustee not abiding court orders form prevous trust

    court set up snt for father from med malpractice suit there is a successor trustee and they are not abiding prevous court orders. they said everything is void and a start over. court orders do not stop because trustee changed. is that breach of duty

    Karl’s Answer

    Whether there has been a breach of duty requires a careful look at all the relevant facts. As a general matter, when a court order is not being followed, court action is often needed to bring compliance. However, better compliance can sometimes result from discussion with the trustee and other parties, and use of a non-judicial TEDRA agreement.

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  • Probate is occurring in Washington state. Will an executor living outside of the state be required to post a bond?

    Testator was Washington resident, and executor lives in Wisconsin. All property is in Washington. The testator waived the bond requirement in the will. Is bond nevertheless required because the executor lives out of state? If bond is required, ...

    Karl’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    As a general rule, the fact that a will waives bond strongly suggests that a court will not impose a bond requirement, especially if the estate is solvent and no minors or disabled persons are beneficiaries. This is true for out-of-state executors as well as in-state. If bond were to be required by the court, it would generally be ordered by the judge at the initial hearing to appoint the executor (aka "personal representative"), with the amount set then. Much depends on the facts which one would communicate to his or her Washington probate lawyer. The Washington lawyer usually serves as the "resident agent" upon whom service of process can be made by third parties. Best of luck. Karl Flaccus

    This general discussion does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a Washington probate lawyer who will consider your specific facts.

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  • How do I found out what is held in an estate when no information is being provided by another heir?

    My mother died without will, in Washington State, leaving my brother and I as sole successors. He lives nearby and has taken possession of all her belongings, bank passbooks, papers, etc. Assuming the estate will not go to probate, how can I dis...

    Karl’s Answer

    In some circumstances, small estates can be distributed in accord with the parent's wishes cooperatively, equitably, and without controversy. The fact that your sibling has taken possession of all financial records and belongings without giving you any information is a red flag. Probate is not difficult in Washington, and can give you more peace of mind. I suggest you consult a Washington lawyer to give you more detailed advice based on additional facts you will need to provide.

    Karl Flaccus

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  • My father passed and left some stock shares that were not listed in his trust.

    His trust listed me as executor; the stock company wants a bond placed. How do we get affidavit to liquidate these stocks?

    Karl’s Answer

    Your question raises questions about whether there was a will, a pour-over will, a stand alone trust, or a trust within a will. Companies are generally very conservative in how they handle transfer of stock that is still in the name of a deceased person. Small estate affidavits usually do not work -- very often probate is needed. In Washington, unlike other states such as California, probate is relatively inexpensive and straightforward, something you would need a Washington lawyer for.

    Karl Flaccus

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  • My father died in 7/12.he left me a transfer on death brokerage account.now my step mother is claiming

    1/2 the account as community property.she has to prove it is community property ,her name was never on the account.My fahter and her kept all their finances seapate yet she told her attorney a different story.the brokerage will accept her attorney...

    Karl’s Answer

    If a brokerage account can be traced back to before the marriage to the second (or later) spouse, and those funds have not been intermingled with community property, then the step mother would not have a community property interest in the brokerage funds. This is not an unusual circumstance, especially where the marriage is relatively short and/or the father had legal advice about how to keep separate property separate.

    So, look closely at the nature of those funds to determine whether they are separate or community. I recommend that you hire a Washington lawyer to sort this out.

    Karl Flaccus

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  • Do I own the contents of the home that was gifted to me?

    My mother gifted her home to me and my husband about 8 years ago, and all the contents of the home remained, there is nothing in her will that states anything about the home contents and no effort on her part was made to remove anything from the h...

    Karl’s Answer

    Quit claim deeds generally do not speak to personal property, they only convey real property. There are many possible legal issues implied in your question, including abandonment of property, the passage of time, your mother's stated intentions in her will and elsewhere, what the value of the possession are, who is making a claim on the personal property, and so on. You really should see an attorney if anyone is making a claim on the property and it is of much value.

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