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Matthew Erik Johnson
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Matthew Johnson’s Answers

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  • What does Rhode Island require for "value at date of death" form 100A Part 7 line 1, and what documentation is required?

    My father passed in January 2014. I am executor of the estate and am looking at the form 100A Estate Tax. How is the amount for Part 7 line 1, "value at date of death" arrived at? I have seen opinions from different sources saying the town...

    Matthew’s Answer

    If this is approaching the limit, stop and hire a CPA. I cannot stress enough that if the estate is that large, you can afford a CPA and you will save both time, money, and potential liability down the road. A qualified CPA will save you many times more what you would spend.

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  • My mom passed away and I'm the beneficiary on the annuity. This annuity is not part of the will. I'm opting for a lump sum.

    I understand that PA has an inheritance tax. If a will is not being probated, how do I pay the inheritance tax? Will the state contact me or do I need to initiate the process? She was a PA resident when she passes away. Thanks.

    Matthew’s Answer

    The inheritance tax will likely only apply if your mother's estate was over the exemption limit, which is usually about $2 million or more in most states. I am not certain of what the exemption limit in PA is. Discuss your plan with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) first, as well as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to determine what the monetary and tax consequences will be.

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  • Why would a lender re-appoint a successor trustee simply because the lenders name has change a little?

    I am requesting some information from my lender, of my home loan, and they had appointed a law firm the successor trustee and then appointed the law firm again two years later. When questions were raised about this the reasoning that was given is...

    Matthew’s Answer

    How they appoint a successor trustee depends on the wording of the original contract which you signed. Absent specific restrictions, a trustee need only sign a transfer and release document and file it with the secretary of state.

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  • If my wife and I are named as grantors on appointment for a successor trustee should we be required to sign?

    My lender, for my home loan, file an appointment for a successor trustee for the deed of trust. The application for the appointment has my lender, my wife, and myself all as the grantors and the law firm that lender wanted to appoint as the grant...

    Matthew’s Answer

    In most states, if you are married, both spouses will be required to sign all transfer of rights documents - including but not limited to deeds of trust.

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  • Withholding pay

    I have turned in notice over a month ago to my current employer and will be finishing out officially this week. Payroll is already 3 weeks out. He informs me today .. payroll was due Friday and it is the following Tuesday ... that he is holding...

    Matthew’s Answer

    He is not permitted to hold pay, period. If he has problems with you keeping equipment or keys, his resolution is to file a lawsuit, not to keep your wages. Nor is he permitted to not pay you until clerical errors are fixed, if you worked X hours, you are entitled to X hours.

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  • If I file for social security benefits shortly after completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy , could I be found in bad faith?

    I am 62 and can't cover my basic expenses let alone paying toward my debt and am filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. My car is also nearing the end of its life and the only way I could afford a new one is filing for Social Security. If I end up filin...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You will not be found in bad faith because you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many filers are either on social security, are petitioning for it, or should be petitioning for social security. So worry not, you can apply at any time.

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  • .Can I negotiate an extremely large cellphone bill that is because of accidental overages?

    I have a smartphone plan that I make monthly payments on. In May, I switched my plan from unlimited minutes to a smaller number of limited minutes, trying to save money. The reason I did this was because 'mobile to mobile' calls are free. It turne...

    Matthew’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You can certainly make the attempt. Often having an attorney do this will get better results; as unrepresented creditors are viewed as easy pickings. Typically for a single creditor this should cost somewhere between $300 and $500 for an attorney, and the target reduction should be about 50%. If you can get it lower, even better.

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  • BANKRUPTCY + LIBEL: in a chapter 7 petition granted discharge in all other aspects, what speed bumps might be otherwise anticip

    anticipated in shedding the liability of a judgment against debtor for libel?

    Matthew’s Answer

    As the others mention; so long as you included the creditors in your bankruptcy filing and received your discharge, the duty to repay the debt was abolished upon the trustee's grant.

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  • Can the fiance file on behalf of his children for an intestate estate regarding the death of their mother

    We were together at the time of death for 15 years

    Matthew’s Answer

    Chances are this is a no, but there is a chance. In most states, the rules of intestate succession are very strict, and you must have a binding marriage or be a legal relative in order to claim an intestate share. However, there are some states that will permit some sort of intestate share based on establishment of a civil union - in which case you might be entitled to a quasi-marital property right to the assets.

    At this point your best bet would be to determine whether your state permits (1) civil union (2) intestate laws in your specific state allow for a civil partner to an intestate share or marital property share.

    A visit to a very experienced probate attorney in your area should be your next step. However, if the assets of the decedent are not high... this may be more trouble than the return would be.

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  • Re-payment of unemployment benefits.have no monies to pay back. How do I handle without filing for bankruptcy..

    Lost employment appeals now they want me to pay back. Why give me the benefit and then ask for it back. Have child support, rent etc. If I don't pay what happens

    Matthew’s Answer

    The amount will likely go into collections, they will then likely file to reduce the debt to a judgment and then attempt to collect. At this point, depending on your situation, you will be looking at a debt negotiation or debt settlement, or a bankruptcy.

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