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Daniel A. DeBruyckere

Daniel DeBruyckere’s Answers

171 total


  • I need to understand MA laws RE: paying or not owing outstanding credit card DEBTS OF DECEASED.

    Daniel’s Answer

    When a person passes away it is the responsibility of the deceased person’s estate to pay off any debts that existed. Family members and heirs generally are not responsible for paying the debts. A credit card bill that was solely in your mother’s name would be paid off by your mother’s estate.

  • How can I get my sister to stop doing whatever she wants with my mother's estate?

    Daniel’s Answer

    If your mother did not have a will, then it will be up to the probate court to appoint an executor of your mother’s estate. Generally a surviving spouse or the deceased’s children are often first in line to be appointed as executor. The court will look at several factors to determine who should be appointed executor and will determine who would serve the best interests of the estate. Prior to this official appoint the assets and funds of your mother’s estate should not be touched. If your sister was not officially appointed executor, she should not be in control of your mother’s estate. With any legal situation, it would be in your best interests to seek counsel from an experienced attorney.

  • Designating trustee for a child who is beneficiary on my life insurance?

    Daniel’s Answer

    It may be a good idea to contact the company that manages your life insurance policy. There may be required paperwork that would allow you to appoint your ex-wife as the trustee of the policy for your son. Each company has its own rules and regulations, thus contacting them directly would be your best source for information.

  • What does it mean when all three people on a deed are listed as grantors and then grantees?

    Daniel’s Answer

    In a real estate transaction the person conveying the property is known as the grantor. The person receiving the party is known as the grantee. Who inherits what will be determined how the deed was written. If the parties had rights of survivorship that means when one person passes away their share would be transferred to the other owners of the property. If the parties are joint tenants in common then when one person passes away their share will not automatically pass to the other owners. In this scenario the person that passes away can leave their share to the person of their choice in their will. If no will exists the share will be passed along to that person’s heirs.

  • No trusted friends/relatives to serve as fiduciary or other key roles.

    Daniel’s Answer

    If you don’t have someone to be your health care agent then perhaps writing a living will could be a potential option for you. A living will is used as a guideline to show your wishes for end of life medical care. If you don’t appoint someone to be your power of attorney the court system will appoint someone for you.

  • Would it be helpful to have an attorney file a petition with the probate court to request a disbursement from an estate?

    Daniel’s Answer

    If you believe that the current personal representative is misrepresenting the estate, there are potential legal grounds to remove and replace him. All personal representatives of an estate have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries involved. The representative has an obligation to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. A representative breaches this obligation when estate funds are mismanaged or the rights of beneficiaries are not taken seriously. With any legal contest or problem it will always been in your best interests to have an attorney represent you through the process. Estate administration is a very complex ordeal and you would want an experienced attorney to help navigate you through the complex legal issues involved.

  • My inheritance was stolen by my mother. After, father passed away. (not married)?

    Daniel’s Answer

    What you are entitled to from your father depends on various factors and circumstances. Although your father verbally promised you that you and your siblings would inherit the house and his assets, that does not necessarily dictate how everything will unfold. An important step to take is to discover what type of estate plan documents did your father have. Did he leave behind a will, or a trust? Along with estate plan documents you would want to discover if your father had named you and your siblings as beneficiaries on his other assets. If your mother has been named as the representative of your father’s estate, then she has an obligation to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries and to adhere to your father’s wishes. Any deferment from this standard or ill will towards the beneficiaries, could potentially be grounds for legal action. With any legal situation it would be in your best interests to have an attorney represent you.

  • When a person with debt dies, are the siblings responsible for the deceased debt?

    Daniel’s Answer

    Generally when a person passes away their own estate is responsible for paying any outstanding debts. Other people are generally not held responsible, unless their name was on a specific account as well.

  • Does my Special Needs Trust need to be overseen by an Estate Attorney even though I'm on SSDI and not SSI?

    Daniel’s Answer

    It would be in your best interests for an estate planning attorney to oversee your special needs trust. Having an attorney oversee your trust will give you the best opportunity to continue to protect any benefits you receive. It is important for an attorney to review to ensure that the trust complies with all applicable laws.

  • How long do nursing homes go back for property?

    Daniel’s Answer

    When applying for Medicaid there is a five year look back accounting period. It would be in your father’s best interests to contact an estate planning attorney. With estate plan documents in place your father has a better chance of protecting assets in the future.