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Michael Thomas Smith

Michael Smith’s Answers

194 total


  • I need help starting probate in tacoma, wa. I am an heir on a will. The other heir has taken control and i need help.

    I am an heir onmy grandmothers will entiled to 50% of the estate. The other heir has taken control of the estate and is collecting rent on the home,with the deceased persons belongings in the home. The other heir collects rent (from her friend, th...

    Michael’s Answer

    I recommend that you speak with a knowledgeable probate attorney to work with you in resolving the many different issues you identify in your question. An attorney can help you determine whether probate was ever initiated, and if not, possibly get you appointed as the Personal Representative. An attorney can also help you get a copy of the Inventory or request that the court order an Inventory to be prepared. An attorney can also help make sure that the rent payments are being handled by the estate and disbursed correctly.

    You have identified many issues that aren't easily dealt with in an online forum like this. Talking with an attorney could give you a better understanding of each of the steps available to you to protect and enforce your rights.

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  • Im from washington st. Is a Beneficiary Deed warranted in that state? and can it be hand written?

    my grandmother wants to leave a piece of land to me. With the understandind that it has to be signed legally in front of a notary

    Michael’s Answer

    Your grandmother has the option to transfer her real property to you through a Transfer on Death Deed. This deed may be handwritten, but it must meet certain requirements to be a valid deed (properly describe the property, properly identify the grantor and grantee, be signed before a notary public, etc.). A transfer on death deed must also state that the transfer will occur at the time of the transferor's death, and the deed must be recorded with the county auditor before the transferor's death.

    I recommend that your grandmother speak with an experienced attorney to help her prepare this document, or to review it to make sure it meets each of the requirements, in order to make sure her wishes are properly acted upon.

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  • I have full custody of my daughter. If I die can I make sure the mother does not get her?

    I was granted full custody

    Michael’s Answer

    All parents of minor children should contemplate who will be the guardian of their minor children in the event they are incapacitated or pass away. You have the ability to nominate who you want to act as guardian (and nominate back-up people in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to be guardian). I would encourage you to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to discuss how to document your wishes and take additional steps to further the implementation of those wishes.

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  • If there is a will does it take precedence over WA state being a community property state

    My father says that even thou my mom has a will all of her property belongs to him She left everything to me.

    Michael’s Answer

    Your question depends on what type of property your mother had at the time of her passing; whether it was community property or separate property. There is a presumption that property acquired during a marriage is community property, but there are exceptions. For example, an inheritance received by a person starts as that person's separate property. In order to address your specific situation, you should make an appointment with a knowledgeable probate or estate planning attorney who can give you guidance on your unique facts.

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  • Brother has POA on a relative. We are only heirs. Suspect assets have been mishandled. Can I file fiduciary accounting motion?

    Washington state

    Michael’s Answer

    Washington state does have a process to request an accounting of the attorney-in-fact's handling of assets on behalf of the person who granted the power of attorney (the principal). I have included a link to the relevant statute below for your reference. It is important to note that only certain people are permitted to bring this type of action. You would likely need to show the court that you are "interested in the welfare of the principal" and have "a good faith belief that the court's intervention is necessary, and that the principal is incapacitated" or "otherwise unable to protect his or her own interests."

    I strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to assist you in this type of matter to make sure all the requirements of bringing this type of action are met.

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  • Will appointed personal representative

    in the state of florida my deceased mom left a will appointing me personal representative. banks are asking for a legal document from the state. how do I get this document?

    Michael’s Answer

    I'm sorry for your loss. To get the document that the banks are referring to (e.g., Letters Testamentary), you would need to file a probate action with your mother's Will and be appointed by the court as the Personal Representative of her estate. It is not enough that the Will nominated you for the position, instead, there is a requirement for the court to appoint you. In some situations a probate may not be necessary, but you should discuss this with an experienced probate attorney to help you decide. For example, other factors that can be important in deciding what to do next include the location of your mother's assets, the type of assets she owned, whether she had any debts, and whether there are other heirs of her estate, as well as the overall value of her estate. You may want to discuss this information with a knowledgeable probate attorney to help you determine what steps you need to take. Good luck to you.

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  • Concerns using home address to register LLC

    If I use my home address to register LLC in WA, does my house count as corporate asset instead of personal asset? Or in other words, is it possible that I may lose my house if my corporate get sued and lost the case?

    Michael’s Answer

    When you register your LLC, you need to have an address for notification purposes (e.g., where to send your license renewals, etc.). This will not transfer the ownership of your residence to the LLC (you would need a deed to transfer the property).

    You should keep detailed records of what property or funds you have contributed to your LLC. This information is often recorded as part of your Operating Agreement as well as in company minutes. Keeping good records and treating your business as separate from your personal assets is essential in protecting your personal assets in the event your company is ever sued as you asked about. If you need assistance with setting up your company's paperwork, or maintaining regular records, I encourage you to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable business/corporate attorney. Good luck!

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  • I inherited some old stocks that I need to get transferred into my name but .company said I need the executor to transfer them

    But the executor is dead what can I due

    Michael’s Answer

    This sounds like assets that were not transferred as part of an earlier (and now closed) estate. This happens periodically, and you may need to bring a motion to reopen the estate and have a Personal Representative or Administrator (i.e., Executor) appointed in order to transfer these stocks into your name. If there was a will, the will may name a successor or alternate personal representative. If there was no Will or it does not name a successor, you may be able to petition to have yourself appointed to handle this transfer, if you qualify to serve (e.g., no felony convictions).

    I recommend meeting with a knowledgeable probate attorney to discuss your options for proceeding and to provide assistance with the process. Good luck!

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  • Do I need a lawyer to set up a single-member LLC in Washington?

    I'm curious to if I really need a lawyer to set this up. Filling out the forms with the state is easy. However, the thing I am concerned about is the operation agreement. Is there anything I should be aware of, especially for a single-member LLC?

    Michael’s Answer

    There is no requirement that you use an attorney to set up your LLC. However, you bring up a good point, the operation agreement is one of the most important documents for your new company and it will serve as the starting point for resolving all issues and problems for the company. One of the advantages to working with a knowledgeable attorney is the attorney can provide you advice and recommendations, based on his or her experience, or on the type of industry that your company will be involved in. Sometimes this insight can include issues that you may not have thought of initially.

    The operating agreement needs to be tailored to your company's needs and your situation, but generally it should address how to bring in new members (if it is ever needed), how decisions will be made, what happens to the company and the ownership interest in the event of your death or disability, Also, if you are married or have children, there can be other issues that should be addressed.

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  • I am not on the deed to our home and I signed a quit claim deed. If something happened to my husband would I lose our home?

    My husband & I married 10 yrs ago & bought a home together, he also owned another home. Shortly after marrying he refinanced his existing home and the bank insisted on a quit claim deed from me. At the time it didn't matter because it was not our ...

    Michael’s Answer

    There are many factors that could impact the outcome in your question. However, if something happened, the ownership of the home would not be clear cut. There could be a dispute between you and your husband's adult child whether the home was separate or community property, and you might each be awarded a partial interest in the home (depending on the overall size of the estate).

    Your question raises many good reasons to start preparing your estate plan now. You both have a minor child, your husband has an adult child from a different relationship, your husband has been experiencing health issues, and on top of all of those reasons -- your question about how certain assets might be handled. Preparing your estate plan helps you address these concerns now and impose greater control over how these matters will be dealt with.

    I recommend that you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you evaluate all of your available options and help you customize a plan that meets your needs. Among the options you might consider are a Will to address who would receive what property, and also who would become guardian of your minor child if something happened to both you and your husband. You should also consider Power of Attorney documents (for financial and health care matters) so that during a period of incapacity, someone you choose has the ability to handle matters on your behalf. A Health Care Directive or Living Will can put your wishes in writing regarding your preference to have life sustaining measures continued or halted during certain end-of-life scenarios. You should also discuss the risks and advantages of using a Community Property Agreement. In any event, you need to discuss the details of your situation with a knowledgeable attorney, privately and not in a public forum, so you can get your questions answered and a plan prepared.

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