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Anne Lopiano’s Answers

88 total


  • My Grandma's power of attorney dissapeared, with her money, what do we do?

    Is there any way we can by pass the power of attorney or some how change the power of attorney?

    Anne’s Answer

    If you suspect wrongdoing by the attorney--in-fact (Power of Attorney), Maryland has a very good criminal statute of financial elder abuse which you can report to the local state's attorney's aoffice for your grandmother's County, and ask to have this prosecuted as a crime. If grandmother is alive and in sound mind, she can revoke the old power of attorney and execute a new one.

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  • I think our estate atty has inflated the fees on their billing statement. The estate is valued at approx. $600,000 and it still

    is not done after a year. not a complicated estate, executors were named and we provided all accounts, statements etc. What is a customary fee? Is there a percentage cap in MD?

    Anne’s Answer

    There is a "normal maximum" for the attorney fee -- but a court can allow a higher fee if justified by the attorney in a motion for fees. The "normal" maximum fee (if no personal representative commission is taken) will be just under 4% of the gross estate assets. So, if the gross prpobate asstes were $600,000, the "normal formula" for allowabel attorney fees --- if otherwsie earned and justified, woudl be:$22,660. That's a lot of money if this estate was simple, uncomplicated, and with no contested issues. That fee should not be just automtically granted by the court-- rather the attorney should be required to account for his or her time and efforts at an hourly rate and/ or on other reasonable basis. Whomever is the personal represenataive and the other "interested parties" will have opportunity to either approve the requested attorney fees on a consent form to be filed wiht the court, or to consent or object to any petition for fees that the attorney files with the court. Ther emnay be a good reason for the dekay in clsoing this estate: there may be an estate income tax return that is due and has not been completed yet, and that could impact the final account and the level of attorney fees.
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  • Uncle and wife agreed to move into my grandfather's house to take care him. Grandfather died before uncle signed leased. Uncle

    has been living in deceased parents house for 1 year; no lease in place and taxes will need to be paid in June/July. Is he responsible for paying taxes? If so and he doesn't can he be removed from the property?

    Anne’s Answer

    Someone needs to look for a Will, and be apointed (by the Register of Wills in the county in which Grandfather lived) as personal representative (PR) of Grandather's estate, and take control of marshaling the assets, the debts, the taxes, etc. and either charge the Uncle rent or evict him, while the property is either listed for sale, or offered for lease to someone else, or distributed in kind to heirs, or legatees, if the estate is solvent. The unlce who is camped out in the house can not be lawfully required to pay the taxes, unless he agrees in a wiritten lease signed by the PR also, that in exchange for living there he will pay the taxes. It will really help the PR and the heirs, if the PR hires an attorney to guide her/him in the duties of a PR. Be sure if you do that that you get a written retainer agreement with the attorney which explains exactly how he or she will charge for their time and services and at what hourly rate, and who will be responsible to pay those fees. Be very skeptical of any attorney who tells you that you don't need a written retainer agreement because "at the close of the estate the court or the Register of Wills wil decide my fees."

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  • My wife passed away and she has medical bill do i have to pay them

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    Anne’s Answer

    No matter what debt collectors may tell you on the phone, a spouse in maryland does NOT have a legal obligation to pay the other spouse's debts out of your own personal funds -- unless you signed some agreement at some point that you WOULD be responsible. That said, if there are assets in your wife's estate (anything of value she owned in her own name when she died) than those assets will be available to creditors. If you open up a probate estate with your local Register of Wills Office, the Register will require that you publish a notice to all creditors in a local newspaper. That notice will give all creditors of your wife up to six months after her date of death, to file any claim that thye may have for any bill she owed. Then, if there are sufficient assets in the estate, those creditors must be paid. if a creditor really wnats to get paid, and no one else has opened a probate eststate in your wife's name, a creditor may do so, in order ro file it's claim.

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  • Can one sibling that has power of attorney take over a parents property (house and land) and tell the other siblings that there

    is nothing you can do, I have power of attorney? Three of the Five siblings don't have the income to hire a lawyer and feel they have been take advantage of. There has been no exchange of money.

    Anne’s Answer

    Your question does not give any information about whether the sibling who holds the power of attorney has done anything wrong or self-serving with mom's money or assets. If she has not, then I see no reason to disturb or object to mom's choice of attorney-in-fact (Power of Attorney). If, however, you learn that the attorney-in-fact has mis-used mom's money, accounts, or assets, or re-titled real property to herself or someone other than your mom, you may wish to report this wrong-doing to the state's attorney's office in your county, as this would be criminal wrongdoing, under Maryland's statutes that prohibit financial elder abuse, and the state may wish to prosecute that as a crime. Hope this helps!

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  • The divorce complaint was dismissed by the judge ,there was no ground. Can I file another complaint in another county in MD ?

    I won the first part of the case which was the custody and it was custody trial first. In another trial under the same case the divorce complaint was dismissed by the judge because my wife doesn't have ground for divorce. Even though the case stil...

    Anne’s Answer

    If the divorce case was really dismissed, then the divorce case is not still open. One can always file another suit for divorce and be heard by the court in another county, if there are grounds, and if there is proper venue. Venue has to do with the county in which the case is filed. She can file her suit for divorce either in the Maryland county where she lives or where you live.

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  • What does this mean?

    My grandmother's safe deposit box contains 2 POD CD accounts and several CD accounts left to my Aunt and my father. My father passed 3 yrs. prior to my grandmother and my Aunt passed 17 days AFTER my grandmother. My grandmother was listed as Trust...

    Anne’s Answer

    Your question is just way too non-speific in the information you give, for any clear answer to be provided. If bank accounts have pay-on-death designations, then the owner of those accounts, following your grandmother's death, will be determined by those designations, and not by any proivision in her Will. I can't tell from what you write, just how those designations were written, and if indeed these accounts were held in trust with your grandmother as trustee, and if so what what the terms of that trust were. If you are the persoanl representative of your father's estate, and you have your "Letters of Administration" you should be able to get the bank to show you any title documents and pay on death instructions signed by your grandmother, that left anything to your father.

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  • I signed a contract 10yrs after marriage,whereby no custody of kids/finance/property will be given to me,if I divorce/seperate

    This contract was signed in a law firm,with my husband attorney supposedly being my attorney too. Frankly,coming from another part of the world,I never understood all of this legal stuff,but sometimes we are in situations with no choices at that ...

    Anne’s Answer

    Keith Havens gave you great advice -- read his answer and make an appointment to see an attorney promptly. If you have any bank accoutns on which you are a joint owner with your husband, you may wish to withdraw at least half of that money and deposit it safely in an account in your own sole name. This may be the only way you can hire an attorney, secure for yourself another place to live if necessary, etc. If that attorney was so ignorant of the law that he truly said that he was representing both you and your husband, and met with you to give you advice, then perhaps he also wrote an agreement that is so full of erors and ineffective provisions about your waiver of property rights, that it may be deemed void by the court. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, see if you can get advice and information from a family pro se or pro bono project or self-help clinic at your local county circuit court house. if you have a custody hearing in ocurt to decide with whom the children will live or how they will be financially supported, the court must always do whatis best fro the children and will disregard any agreement terms that are not in the children's best interest.

    Anne LoPiano

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  • If a grandmother told her second granddaughter that she could have her diamond tennis bracelet and she dies and there is no will

    can the granddaughter still get diamond tennis bracelet even if an anut has proof she bought it for the grandmother?

    Anne’s Answer

    When a person dies without leaving a vaild Will, her estate ( all she owned) passes by the law of intestacy to her heirs, in this order:
    living spouse and children; if no living spousene, then to:
    all "issue of" deceased person ( children and grandchildren) in equal shares "by representation" (meaning going down to grandkids from each original child of deceased person. If none, then in this situation, to "heirs at law".

    Unfortuneatly, you do not get that bracelet unless all other heirs with the same or better right than you have, agree you can have it. The person who bought that bracelet has no claim to it at all based on that reason. Hope this helps!

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  • Do I need to go to court and become administrator/ executor of my late mother's estate? She passed in Dec as a 72-year retiree.

    She lived in a nursing home at the time. Has checking ($1500) and savings ($200) accounts. One $5000 life insurance (me as beneficiary) paid for funeral services. I am still trying to contact other (probably $5000) to pay for gravesite and plaq...

    Anne’s Answer

    To get acces to Mom's bank accounts (unless the accounts are titled jointly in someone else's name with mom) you will have to open a "Small Estate" in the Register of Wills Office in the County where she was residing when she died. This can usually be done in a one-time visit to the Register of Wills Office, but to make that more sure, do bring an original death certificate and if Mom left a Will, then the original Will, and copies of her bank statements,and be prepared to pay by check a fee of perhaps $100.00. You will be issued "Letters of Administration" which will allow a bank to make your mother's funds payable to her Personal Represenatative (which seems will be you). Be sure to ask for another one or two of these "Letters of Administration" becuase you may need one to give to the other life insurance company to prove that they should talk to you about mom's policy or benefits and may need one for some other asset or creditor that you may discover.

    Please note this is not, and may be considered, legal advice but just general legal information -- hope it helps!

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