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James P. Frederick

James Frederick’s Answers

14,058 total


  • Do i have to change the name on my husband's death certificate

    I have not lived with my husband for a couple years,legally we are married,he passed away and his girlfriend put her name on the death certificate, do i need 2 put my name on the death certificate Thank you Cindy Baxter

    James’s Answer

    I guess that depends. Did she "put her name on the death certificate as the "informant," or as the "surviving spouse?" If she is the person who gave the funeral home the information for the death certificate, then it may be totally proper for her name to be there, and it should not affect you in any way at all. If she is listed as the surviving spouse, then that is something else entirely, and I would have that changed.

    As the surviving spouse, you may have rights to part of the estate, depending on facts which are not included in your summary. If that is the case, you may need to initiate probate proceedings in order to pursue your rights. You should consult with a probate attorney if you have additional questions or concerns.

    James Frederick

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  • Can a "secret marriage" in Michigan, permitted under MCL § Ch. 551, later be made into public record? If so, how?

    I am wondering if it is possible to get a secret marriage license (otherwise known as a marriage license without publicity) that was issued 20 years ago, made into public record.

    James’s Answer

    I do not know the answer to your question, offhand. I would think that you may be able to get an answer from the County Clerk's office, however. The Wayne County Clerk's office can be found, here:
    http://www.waynecounty.com/clerk/index.htm

    It may depend on why the license was issued without publicity, previously, and it may require the consent of Both parties to make it public.

    James Frederick

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  • Can i sue my aunt and uncle after three years of my grandpa passing? They kept my deceased moms inheridece.

    Was advised by someone to get a lawyer to sue for my moms share..my aunt claims there was no will... my grandpa did express to me that was his intention for my sister and i to receive my moms share. Its been three years i didn't realize i could su...

    James’s Answer

    It all depends on facts that are not stated. Was there a probate estate? If not, were all of the assets joint with someone else, (or was someone designated as beneficiary on the assets)? Without knowing at least the answers to those two questions, there is no way to say whether you have any potential rights or not. You may be able to find out some of this information, online. For instance, title information for real estate is generally available on the website for the County Register of Deeds. If the asset was titled in joint names, or there was a deed transferring title to your aunt, in the event of your grandpa's death, whether there was a Will or not probably does not matter. If there was an estate, which you probably would have received notice of, and that is estate has been closed for more than a year, then you are likely out of luck.

    James Frederick

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  • Why would a Trust attorney not use an affidavit from the attorney that wrote the trust during mediation?

    the trust attorney has had an affidavit from the attorney who wrote our mom's trust for 6 months or longer but did not use it in mediation his reason was he wanted to save it for a jury trial.I believe it could have been used in mediation and stil...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Cottrell. It would also not be appropriate for an attorney to second guess the strategy of another attorney, without all of the facts of the situation. It is not clear what effect an affidavit would have had at mediation, if any. The intent of mediation is to settle the case. If the attorney felt that the affidavit would not help in that process, that is a judgment call. It is impossible to speculate further without much more information on what the issues in the case were and what the affidavit was for.

    James Frederick

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  • I have conservatorship and guardianship of my husband. Can I legally buy a house.

    My husband and I have been married 60 years. He has dementia . All our assets are combined.. Bank, house, other property. Can I legally sell our home (that we haven't been living in) and buy another? Also, if my granddaughter wanted to give u...

    James’s Answer

    You have a complex situation on your hands, and really need to sit down with a lawyer to discuss the details. Your Conservatorship letters probably restrict what you can do with the real estate, but you could likely get the judge to approve a sale and purchase. There probably would not be a tax on the granddaughter's home gift, but she would need to file a gift tax return. If that is the home that you would be living in, you could qualify it as a homestead and keep the property taxes down, once you sell your old house. If you are not living there, the property taxes would go up, if it was your daughter's homestead.

    I do not see why it would be a problem for you to switch homes with your son, but since you indicate this was not legally done, there are probably ramifications to what has taken place. Rather than speculate on what those would be, you should review this with a lawyer and share the entire situation.

    James Frederick

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  • How do I petition a Michigan probate court for final distribution of my inheritance?

    I am one of four beneficiaries who own a family cottage within a living trust. I no longer wish to own my share (25%) and while the other beneficiaries are financially able to settle this we have been unable to do so after numerous attempts. A...

    James’s Answer

    The best way to show your siblings you are serious is probably to hire an attorney to send them a letter. Going to court is generally the last resort. Arguing is one thing, but going to courttois going eat into some of your inheritance. If the family still refused to budge, you will want an attorney to petition the court for you. That will put your case in the best light for the judge.

    James Frederick

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  • Do non dependent adult children of a descendant qualify for Michigan exempt property allowance? MCL 700.2405 et al.

    Decedent left one son but only gave him 40% of the estate in the will. Decedent never claimed the exempt property allowance and never did PR. The statute says "may" but PR is unsure as to whether the $15,000 exemption amount has to be paid.

    James’s Answer

    Yes, provided there is no spouse. If there is a spouse, he or she gets it.

    James Frederick

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  • Ex-husband died. Do I own property that is jointly held? Do not know if he left a will.

    30 years ago when we divorced we had 3 children. Apparently, lawyers failed to put jointly held undeveloped property into divorce agreement. He remarried and had no more children. It is unclear if he left a will. His second wife retains possession...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Ruth. You also should have a lawyer carefully review your divorce judgment and property settlement to make sure that they did not deal with this property, one way or another. You or your children may have rights in the property, but it sounds like you may need to act quickly to protect them.

    James Frederick

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  • Can I stop paying my husbands credit card bills that are in his name only because he is in a nursing home now.?

    His pension only covers the cost of the nursing home and I have take on all the other bills . My name is not on his credit cards. Does that make me responsible now? If I file for divorce will that solve my problem

    James’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. LasCola. I would add that since your name is not on the credit cards, you are not responsible for making any payments. Whether you should stop making payments or take some other action depends on facts which you have not included in your summary. There are many potential options available to you.

    James Frederick

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  • Guardianship of my (almost) 85 year old dad.

    My dad included in DPOA papers in 2007 and again in 2012 that he wanted me to be his guardian if he ever needed one, that time has come. On 5-31-16, my dad signed the petition that I would file with the court that same day asking for guardianshi...

    James’s Answer

    I am sorry for your situation. I suspect you will not find anyone willing to take the case pro bono, for two reasons. 1) Contested guardianship cases can take a lot of time, including multiple hearings; and 2) there is generally not a lot that an attorney can do, in these cases. Judges do not like family feuds. They tend to "punt" in these situations. In other words, if the family cannot agree on what happens, the court puts a neutral third party in charge, that it does not need to worry about.

    I am not sure why you ever filed for guardianship, in the first place. With a DPOA, you likely already HAD all of the rights and powers that you would have as guardian. There is no need for a guardian, when there is an agent under a DPOA, already in place. By taking that action, you opened the door for your brother to come in and object. In my view, that never should have been done. Since it has now happened and there is no way to undo that, your best option, in my view, is to try to work things out with your brother, so that you can avoid having an agency involved, that does not know your father or what he would want.

    One option might be to have BOTH of you act as co-guardians. Is it what your father wanted? Maybe not. Would your father prefer that, to having a company making decisions for him? Almost certainly.

    You do not mention conservatorship. If the assets are truly nominal, then that may not be needed. Presumably, you can still act under the DPOA to handle any financial matters that come up. I would NOT raise that issue in court, if it has not already been done.

    James Frederick

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