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James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

14,071 total


  • My mother died and i have a will.The house is still in my parents name. How do i get the house in my name.

    My brother lives in another state. The house is the only thing there is. My daughter is living in the home at the moment.

    James’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues. I would just point out a couple of additional issues. Right now, the house is in legal limbo. It is likely that if there IS insurance on the property, the insurance company will deny any claims, on the basis that the insured is deceased. There are also property tax consequences, as well. You should take care of this as soon as possible, in order to avoid additional potential complications.

    James Frederick

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  • What rights do I have to my Irrevocable trust? Can a judge change any trust if they feel it is necessary? I'm at a loss.

    It's been 8 years since my grandmother passed away. My mother passed away when I was 5. I'm 26. I am a beneficiary to my own irrevocable trust legally in my name. My mothers sister is the trustee of my account. I have no idea how much money I ...

    James’s Answer

    I believe you have asked about this situation before. It is unclear what you signed, but that may be key to this whole situation. Generally, you are entitled to annual accounts and you are entitled to a copy of the provisions of the Trust. Beyond that, it depends on what the Trust says.

    James Frederick

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  • How can I address inflammatory remarks on a Craigs List review?

    I listed my beautiful apartment on Craigs List. My previous renter wrote a review. She stated that allegations of a criminal nature were made against me, the landlord. She indicated individuals wanting to rent from me ought to question my moral ...

    James’s Answer

    You can sue for defamation, if the allegations are not true. Whether the renter is collectible or not is certainly an issue, but at the least. she will know you are serious about protecting your reputation. The value of your damages is something that a lawyer can help you determine.

    You have your question marked under landlord and tenant. It is really a libel & slander issue.

    James Frederick

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  • Just closed on a house, is there any way I can fight my new neighbor's adverse possession of my property or get compensation?

    I have just closed on a house and have not even moved in, however the neighbors are selling their property and their buyer paid for a survey. The survey found that the fence between us is two feet over the boundary and runs about 1500 ft from road...

    James’s Answer

    In addition to Mr. Powe's information, which is always on point, one of the aspects of adverse possession is that the possession actually needs to be adverse. If you ALLOW the neighbor to use the property, it is not considered adverse possession. I agree that you should try to work this out, since you will be neighbors, no matter what happens. But the alternatives are not necessarily just cave in or go to court.

    James Frederick

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  • How do I get a copy of my Dad's will/trust?

    My sister is executor of the will and beneficiary. Three other siblings, including me, are beneficiaries. I've asked her for a copy of the trust a while ago and haven't seen one yet. Today I called the lawyer who executed the trust and was told by...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Powe. You have no right to see a copy of the Trust while your dad is alive. Part of the reason why people set up Trusts, in the first place, is because it is a private estate planning tool. People do not want anyone privy to their personal financial information. Since your father presumably named your sister at a time when he had sufficient judgment and mental capacity to determine that she was the right choice, you need to honor that decision unless you have clear evidence that she is acting counter to your father's interests.

    Communication with your sister would be the best way to proceed. Hiring a lawyer is liable to escalate the situation and force her to defend herself, which probably does not benefit your dad, at all. It will likely further polarize your relationship, as well.

    James Frederick

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  • Buying residential vacant lot in Dearborn, MI

    I going to buying residential vacant lot in Dearborn, MI this week directly from the owner without any agent involved. The owner is not my friend and I meet him once. We decide to do the paperwork through title company he knows . There is houses a...

    James’s Answer

    While I agree with my colleagues, I want to clarify a couple of points. The title company does not represent either party, so the fact that the seller wants to use a certain title company is not prejudicial to you or your interests. As one of my colleagues noted, the title company is a neutral third party.

    As for insurance, it should not cost a lot to insure vacant land, in all likelihood. The key question in any kind of liability suit is whether or not you acted in an ordinarily prudent manner. You are not required to make your property perfectly safe from anyone trespassing on your land. You cannot set something up in such a way as to entice people in and injure them. But if someone is trespassing on your land and simply slips and falls, you should not have liability, there. Is it better to have insurance if there is a problem? Sure. But you need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it makes financial sense to cover the situation.

    James Frederick

    P.S. See here on Pages 3-4 for a discussion of liability for damages to trespassers.
    http://www.harveykruse.com/html/Articles%20Folder/Articles%20Folder%202009/Synopsis%20of%20Premises%20Law%2002-28-2009.pdf

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  • How can I get my sister's as ashes from her husband?

    My sister passed away in 2014 she was married but not legally separated for more than 10 years how can I get ashes from her husband

    James’s Answer

    This is a very difficult issue. I have had a number of people dealing with this type of problem and it is never easy. Under Michigan law, he is entitled to the cremains, if he wants them. About the best that you can do is ask. You might offer to cover the cost of transporting them. If he says no, you really do not have any recourse.

    James Frederick

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  • Is there any way to represent my brother in legal issues?

    My brother is planning to sue an institution but he is traveling overseas, can I be his representative in court and how?

    James’s Answer

    Only a lawyer can represent someone else in court. Even with a Power of Attorney form, it would not be possible. If your brother is suing an institution, he should have a lawyer do this.

    James Frederick

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  • Do I have to agree with a mediation settlement I was not informed about?

    Our mom had a Revocable Trust,2 beneficiaries have fought the Trust since day 1 after mom's death. It was set for a jury trial,the Trustee was notafided by phone call of mediation on Friday after 5:00 pm, for Monday mediation , trial starts on Wed...

    James’s Answer

    If you were given notice of the mediation and did not attend or send an attorney to represent you, then you could certainly be bound by the agreement. If you were not given notice of the mediation, then you may not be bound by it. Whether notice was given is going to be a question of fact that you might need to contest in court. You would not be given notice by telephone call. It would need to be in writing. If everyone is in agreement with the mediation and you are not, you are starting from a tough position, though. Courts and the system is designed to push toward settlement.

    James Frederick

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  • Can an adult sibling keep her mother from seeing other siblings due to personal conflict between the siblings?

    My mother lives in the care of my sister. She is blind and on oxygen, but her mind is clear. She did live with my wife and I first, but out house is small and not set up for her needs. (do many different levels) My sister took her in and has n...

    James’s Answer

    I am sorry that you are dealing with these challenging circumstances. It is not clear if your sister is acting under any kind of legal authority or if she simply is acting as the owner of the house. Your question is posted under Power of Attorney. If your mother gave your sister a POA, then she has the right to act under that POA, according to its terms. As long as your mother has capacity, SHE can dictate what happens, although that may prove uncomfortable for her since she is living with your sister.

    Your problems seem to be more practical ones than legal, at this point. Obviously, if you can work with your sister, it would be better. Since that appears not to be the case, you need to decide whether it is worth pushing things further.

    If your sister is acting with legal authority as your mother's guardian and/or conservator, which is not what it sounds like, then that is something completely different. You would need to deal with the court, then, and your sister could have authority to deny you access to your mother, in that case.

    James Frederick

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