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Steven M Zelinger
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Steven Zelinger’s Answers

7,273 total


  • How do we resolve an estate issue?

    My wife's brother passed suddenly without a will, leaving my wife and her sister as administrators and sole heirs to the estate. Before the estate was settled my wife's sister passed away, leaving a husband and 2 adult children. The husband, strug...

    Steven’s Answer

    Sounds like the best solution will be to establish a substitute administrator of the sister's estate then the brothers estate can be doled out to your wife and your wife's sister's estate.

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  • Is it legal for trustees to put their names on a bank account and use a different federal I'D number in care of a beneficiary?

    Sister and her husband are trustees in my parents trust that they have left us they have been very secretive about the accounting part of the trust I tried to go to the bank and get my monthly statements and I was told my name is the only thing on...

    Steven’s Answer

    Typically trusts and sub-trusts have various different federal ID numbers (EINs) and the EINs and accounts have names garnered from the trust. As the beneficiary you are not going to be able to obtain bank records from the bank, however, the trustee is typically obligated to provide you with information and records. I would recommend that if the trustee is not responding to you that you hire your own attorney to enforce your rights to information.

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  • How long does this usually take for the will releasing process to be completed?

    My auntie died last year in October, and she left a substantial amount of money in her will to me. For months the Attorney over the process is constantly telling us that it will be done in two months. We have heard this four times already. Do y...

    Steven’s Answer

    You should consult with your own local attorney. I will say however that as a general idea the settlement of an estate usually takes at least 12 months and sometimes longer. I would not worry that it is too long yet, at least as it applies to most situations generally. No one here could possibly know if he is over billing and you should not make such an allegation unless you have a good reason.

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  • How Do I Get Phone Records of Deceased Relative

    I would like to get both inbound and outbound cellphone records for my deceased sister. I am the personal representative of her estate. Is it possible to ask the probate court to grant access to her phone records? Or is the only way to get the...

    Steven’s Answer

    The only person who could bring suit on behalf of a deceased person is the personal rep which you appear to be. Obtaining records such as these are likely only going to be successful in a litigation context. However I see no reason why as the PR you would not be able to request cell phone bills/records for the estate which may have at least some of the info you are requesting. I am not an expert on cell phone records so I do not know what type of information you could get regarding incoming calls.

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  • I am a sovereign state citizen I am not a taxpayer my employer took it upon himself to take taxes out of my paycheck what do I d

    My employer took it upon himself to change my filing status

    Steven’s Answer

    Search posts on this site regarding tax deniers. It is a bad idea and you will get no sympathy here. Your employer is required by law to withhold taxes on your pay, and you are required to pay income taxes on the money you earn, end of story.

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  • Can I demand to see bank records for an estate from the estate attorney?

    I'm the estate administrator for my mom's estate and the attorney's I hired are not returning my calls or making any progress in closing the estate after 15 months. I know they have all the money from the estate in their possession, and have suppo...

    Steven’s Answer

    Can you ask your own attorney for information that is yours? Of course! Keep at it and if needed hire a new attorney. At worst, you can contact the local bar association. Failure to communicate or respond to client requests is a basic ethics violation.

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  • Can my brother sister and I contest someone being a beneficiary?

    My mom left her work benefit to her adult children. It was listed on a recently generated official document provided to her children. But when the adult children contacted her work, they had an extremely outdated card with my mother's signature on...

    Steven’s Answer

    I would want to know what information was used/who generated this more recent document? The confirmation of beneficiaries is different than the beneficiary designation form (or online process that generates it). Get yourself to a lawyer right away to get to the bottom of it because once the benefits are paid out to others if you believe you are the rightful beneficiary they are going to be harder to get back

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  • When a person who is not related to makes a will leaving anything or everything to another person.

    An older couple that I have lived next door to for over 15 years have been estranged from their families and have no children have always told me that they wanted to leave some or all of their assets to me when they pass. I never put much weight o...

    Steven’s Answer

    If I were you I would be careful not to meddle or get involved with their finances now while they are alive. Who knows what will happen but family members are usually (understandably?) concerned when they see non-family involved in the finances of an elderly person or written into a will. They will assume the worst in many cases. You can't avoid issues but you should be aware that their decisions should be left to them.

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  • How do I take ownership of my deceased step father and mothers property when no wills were written?

    My mother and step father were together for 23 yrs. However they never married. They have both recently passed without writing wills. But they both said I would receive the house when they passed. There is back taxes owed on the property. I would ...

    Steven’s Answer

    You have to contact an attorney that handles estate administration/probate. If they had wills you would have a much better of idea of who gets what. You are not an heir of your "stepfathers" estate. You sound like you are an heir of your mothers estate. Therefore you would have an interest in her property but keep in mind depending on how they owned their property (joint? beneficiary designation etc) and the order of death you will have to determine what could possibly come down to you.

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  • Can an inheritance of property with giving lifetime rights to grandson be refused?

    I have a disabled son that gets SSI and Medicaid and lives in a group home. He is constantly in trouble, but he is the apple of her eye. She is in poor health, but would like to make sure that there are provisions for him when she passes. I sus...

    Steven’s Answer

    As was mentioned, a properly drafted special needs trust will do the trick. She should meet with an estate planning attorney to get this done.

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