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John Thomas Gosselin
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John Gosselin’s Answers

87 total


  • What to do if the proceeds of a house sale were distributed incorrectly because of a mix up with Life Estate ownership?

    A woman sells her house, and the proceeds were paid out incorrectly. It was believed that the house was owned 50% by her as an individual, and 50% as a life estate in her name with her two sons as remaindermen. This woman passes away just 6 we...

    John’s Answer

    You will need to look to state law to deter I e the duty of the title company in this situation as settlement protection and title insurance is to protect the buyer and the bank, it is encumbant in most states upon the seller to proffer their deed and to accept compensation from it. Sounds as if someone in the process made an error in judgment. Depending on who and on who is harmed in the matter I believe you have a legal remedy (money) but probably not a equitable (changing things back to the right way). No matter, you need an attorney experienced in real estate and litigation to help sort this out.

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  • Can they receive criminal charges?

    My friend bought narcotics and is pretty sure there was an undercover cop present in the house but not in the room.

    John’s Answer

    The police agency involved may be gathering information to build a case for the dealer/distributor. While possible, it is much less common for a true undercover officer to identify themselves for the arrest of a recreational user. That said, knowing a good local criminal defense lawyer before your friend may need one would be worth the time. Almost anything said to a lawyer under attorney/client privilege is confidential.

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  • If I have a joint checking account with my father do I have to consider that money part of his estate Or is it considered mine

    My father passed away.

    John’s Answer

    This is always a sticky-wicket. The black letter law in most jurisdictions to my knowledge is that the agreement with the bank is what controls - i.e. a joint account means that the owners have the right to the account at death. That said, many jurisdictions have interpreted joint accounts with others where only one person contributed the funds, there was a practical (and not testamentary) reason for adding the other person (i.e. the convenience of the elder having a child pay bills), or where the account is directly referenced (often with acct number) in a will or other instrument - is brought into probate and subject to distribution according the will or laws of intestacy.

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  • Can pages be numbered, initialed on different date? Can witnesses be changed with a codicil? Or can we amend document?

    trust not page numbered or initialed witnesses of trust do not meet our approval

    John’s Answer

    Sounds like a mess. At the time of administration trusts and wills should present as cohesive, error-free and properly executed documents. If the trustor (person who made the trust) is still competent and there are no tax or other issues in re-stating the trust then you should consult a competent lawyer in the appropriate jurisdiction and begin again. If you start back dating, overly amending or cutting/pasting to achieve some goal inconsistent with the purpose of the trust then you are simply asking for trouble.

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  • How to interpret a will

    My x husband passed away and his will reads that his current wife gets everything but in the event of her death the house would be divided between the fathers children and his step daughter. Can the wife sell the house before she dies?

    John’s Answer

    On the face of your facts and not knowing the specifics of the document or which jurisdiction, I will go on the presumption that the new wife takes title free and clear. That being the case, meaning no trust, no life estate and no other restraint on alienation (transfer/sale), this house is now her individual and separate unencumbered property with which she can do as she pleases. Your ex's will, once probate is closed on it, would have no further meaning (except to the extent the new wife feels some moral obligation to honor his downstream wishes), so at new wife's death her own will or the laws of intestacy for your state would control.

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  • Trust litigation

    Is there any legal precedent or court decisions for payment of legal fees to defend a trust for a situation where a trustee who is also a beneficiary is sued by a disgruntled beneficiary who wants the trustee removed and terms of the trust changed...

    John’s Answer

    There are likely a lot more facts at play here than what you are targeting in your question. There are only 2 beneficiaries in total and you are one of those two beneficiaries? Is this really a fiduciary/trust type case or is it you and the other beneficiary not seeing eye to eye on not only this trust/money issue but on decision making and life generally? I'd speak with a lawyer in great detail before pursuing any efforts in court to see what tools she/he may suggest that would work toward mitigating harm and creating a workable go-forward plan.

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  • How do I transfer durable power of attorney to another family member?

    My father had a stroke in the summer of last year , resulting in paralysis of his left side . I became his POA , with no one else listed as successors , etc . . He is currently in a nursing facility about an hour away from my current residen...

    John’s Answer

    Since your father is mentally competent, he can and should execute a new power of attorney naming his brother that also revokes his current power of attorney naming you. The new power of attorney should also name a successor power of attorney. I would also recommend that he take this opportunity to consult an elder law attorney and sign a health care proxy and HIPAA release as well. It could also be a good chance to do some long term care planning, should the need ever arise.

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  • Can a lease contain a clause that allows a reality agency to enter the apartment with only one hour notice?

    I live in Alston , I am subleasing with one roommate who has a full lease . The reality agency calls almost everyday and today gave only 40 minutes notice before trying to enter apartment . After I turned them away the manager called me to yell...

    John’s Answer

    This may be spelled out in the lease itself. I'd start by looking that over. It may just have a catchall term describing the notice needed as "reasonable". Whether or not an hour is reasonable is arguable, but certainly check the lease.

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  • I am wondering if me and my siblings are entitled to my deceased fathers' retroactive disability payment?

    He passed march 2012 but had applied for disability almost 4 years prior. He was waiting on a decision from the appeal when he died. He married my step mother about 2 years after he originally applied for it. She received the money he won in the a...

    John’s Answer

    The fact that your father and stepmother were not married when your father initially applied for disability benefits is not dispositive of the issue at hand. The retroactive disability benefits were paid posthumously to your father by way of his probate estate.

    In the event that your father left a validly probated Last Will and Testament thereby devising the residuary of his estate to your stepmother, your stepmother would have been properly entitled to the retroactive disability payments.

    In the event that your father did not leave a Last Will and Testament, the intestacy statutes pursuant to Massachusetts law would control the ultimate disposition of the retroactive disability benefits, in which case, your stepmother would have been entitled to the first One Hundred Thousand ($100,000.00) Dollars and one-half (1/2) of the balance of the intestate share, with the balance due your father’s descendants.

    I suggest you speak with an attorney who can go over all the information with you, and review all the facts and options.

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  • Do I need legitimate proof/evidence to kick out a tenant?

    I recently have a tenant that moved in two months ago and she has had a guest(boyfriend) live with her since she moved in. She was the only tenant in the lease contract. The lease contract does say that any guest staying more than a short period o...

    John’s Answer

    My first question is: You need to look to the lease to see how it addresses this. If it’s a violation of the lease, you need to look to the lease to see how violations are addressed.

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