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About knort4

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  1. The correct term for a person who handles a will is executor, not executive. Don't worry--he did not sign away his rights to anything. It's just a legal formality about being given notice. What you can do right now is to visit the county courthouse probate court in person (if you live in the same county and city where the will is being probated) to look at and get a copy of the will that has been filed (or if you can't visit in person, call the courthouse and ask how you can order a copy by mail). You can then look at the will you got from the courthouse to see if it is the same will that was given to your mentally disabled friend. With the will that was given to your friend, what does it say about who is to be the beneficiary? is it the cousin or someone else? Since your cousin is eventually going to apply for guardianship, let the cousin hire an attorney if necessary if there is something that the cousin has questions about regarding the wills and probate procedure.
  2. Do some research and see what allowable executor compensation fees are in New Jersey. What is the total value of the estate and what is the hourly rate he is charging for his services? Just wondering.
  3. If you can afford to hire another lawyer, please seriously consider doing so. Your new lawyer will need to fire your old lawyer if he can not give reasonable justification for why he has been missing court appearances.
  4. No, it's not a raw deal. Your mother has the right to leave her property to whomever she chooses. Were YOU named as a beneficiary of anything in her will? If so, then that is what you are entitled to. If you have questions or concerns about the will, you should be talking to a local probate attorney.
  5. What state did the deaths occur in? Each parent should have had a separate will. Was your mother's will submitted to the probate court for handling? The niece may be guilty of elderly financial abuse and/or abuse of power of attorney--if your father had received an official diagnosis (from a physician) of dementia, then it is considered that anyone with dementia does not have the mental capacity of enter into an agreement and the POA should be considered as invalid. If she used the POA to add her name to the bank account or to change beneficiary designations on life insurance or other assets, then the changes may be considered illegal and may need to be challenged now or reversed. Whether you all can afford to pursue an elderly financial abuse lawsuit or abuse of POA lawsuit now is secondary. Maybe your attorney could negotiate on your behalf to inform the niece that she needs to return what she got from using the POA or face legal charges for what she did. You need to have a probate attorney review the will and any attachments as soon as possible. If she has raided the estate, it is doubtful that there would be much of anything of value left.
  6. You may want to discuss this with a local accountant and also with your state government representative. If this is the first time you are aware of the situation then you were not given proper notice and hopefully you will have recourse.
  7. You have not mentioned whether YOU filed a claim with the funds finder company or not. You reasonably did not submit the will to probate court because you assumed that all of the assets had been placed into the trust. Please give a description of what the unclaimed assets are, if the website gave an indication (is it stock, pension benefits, insurance)--I'm just wondering what the category of this financial asset was that was not mentioned in the trust. How much money are we talking about here that is unclaimed? If you did not file a claim with the funds finder company, then you do not owe them anything and you do NOT have to give them a copy of the will. Apparently you do have the upper hand because the Florida state unclaimed property will eventually be asking you for a copy of the will (if they have not done so already), but you will first need to inform them that it needs to probated in court. Whoever the will designates as beneficiaries, those are the persons who are going to receive the money. After you file the will with the probate court, it becomes public record and the funds finder company can (and will) get a copy from the probate court (anyone can request it), and I'm sure they won't like what they see. They may decide to sue the family members who signed the fee agreement and did not pay, or they may decide not to sue depending on what the will says about who the beneficiaries are--there is no way to predict what the funds finder company will do. The only potential problem I foresee is that if any of the family members who signed the finders fee agreement are also beneficiaries, since they signed the agreement, they are liable to pay whatever fees they legally agreed to, or perhaps they could negotiate with the company to ask them to take a lesser percentage. You can research the Florida Unclaimed Property Law yourself online--pay special attention to section 717.135 (here is the link: and you may also want to have a business law attorney look at the unclaimed property law for Florida to see what the requirements are for holders--there is a law that permits a 20% limit to the fee that a company can claim and it may also require them to be registered/licensed with the State of Florida and if they have not met those qualifications then there might be a way for the family members who signed the agreement to get out of paying the company. Evidently the funds finder company has not done their research by checking with the court first or maybe they accepted what they were told at face value--it is true that no will has been probated but if they knew that a will was "recorded" (as you say) in court, then I would assume that the will that is at court is a public record document that anyone could order. You need to get the will probated as soon as possible or you need to be filing your "complete" claim with the State of Florida Unclaimed Property Department (attaching your copy of the will) so you and the other beneficiaries will have priority of placement in attempting to get this money. But consult with your attorney first before you proceed in any manner. Your first step should be to consult with a probate attorney if you are not familiar with the probate process. I congratulate you for being savvy enough to do your own research and you were lucky enough to find this money yourself.
  8. So sorry about the loss of your father. This situation/mess would truly make an interesting episode of the Law and Order tv show. You have omitted the most important facts--who has the will and does whoever has the will intend on taking it to probate court to open up probate. Are there any assets of any importance left in this estate? It's almost unbelievable that the elder law attorney you consulted did not advise you to seek conservatorship so that you or someone else in your family could gain financial control of your father's estate with court approval. You knew that these people were dishonest drug users and yet it appears that you and your brothers did not know what to do to protect your parents from these people. Does anyone know whether your father gave a signed power of attorney to any one of these people to handle his financial affairs while still alive? Unless there are any assets left in your father's estate (does he have a pension or 401K at his place of employment) there may not be any need to do probate.
  9. The coroner's office may not be the one who filled out the death certificate--it may have been the boyfriend and they just accepted the erroneous information he reported, without ever officially verifying it. What type of settlement is involved here (is it from a wrongful death case, personal injury accident, etc.) and how much is the settlement? You will need to check at the county courthouse probate court to see if the decedent had a last will and testament that was probated in court. If the answer is yes, did she designate the boyfriend as a beneficiary? If the son-in-law already has an attorney working on his behalf for the settlement, then this attorney should be able to advise if the boyfriend has any rights to any of this estate at all. Whether there was a will or not, the attorney needs to be looking at probate law to see what the law says. You may also want to tell the attorney that the son-in-law wants to fill out a form from the Vital Statistics Department for the relevant state to have the death certificate officially corrected (that is just submitting a form, and it does not have to go through court)..
  10. The beneficiaries need to decide if they want to make an offer to the brother who is in the home to ask whether he wants to buy it or not (and let the personal representative be in charge of making the offer). If he doesn't want to buy it now, then the other beneficiaries can force a sale.
  11. If the son did not leave a last will and testament, then the money and other assets from the son's estate automatically go to his wife and children, which is how it should be. No one else can make someone be responsible in how his wife spends the money--hopefully she will use it to provide a home and pay the living expenses for her children. Your friend can set up a trust to put her assets in and she can choose someone she believes to be trustworthy (a friend, or a professional person like an accountant or an attorney or the trust department of a bank) to distribute funds to her grandchildren after she dies, probably want to place a condition on the monies they receive by stipulating that they are not to receive any monies until they have reached adulthood.
  12. What state is applicable here? Is your mother divorced from your father or not? Have you seen the will in which your inheritance was reduced or did you find that out by hearsay only? You can discuss your options with a probate attorney who has experience in contesting wills, but the outcome does not look very positive here. Is there a clause in there that disinherits anyone who contests. Contesting the will is going to be very expensive in legal fees for you and your brother, probably eating up whatever you are going to receive from this estate. Maybe your father had a reason in his mind for reducing the inheritance, or maybe his thinking was irrational because of the alcoholism. The bottom line is that he has the right to decide to leave his money to whomever he chooses, and you are free to disagree with that decision.
  13. You will submit the will at the county courthouse probate court of the county for the city where your father died. Please consult with a trusts and probate attorney before you submit the will, so that he can review your situation and advise you on how best to proceed. The will is going to be handled in court, and the trust is going to be administered privately (not in court).
  14. It's your uncle's fault that this has turned into somewhat of a mess because of his failure to sign his will. Really: how long does it take to sign a will? And a husband who is truly looking out for his wife's security would not neglect to put the home in his wife's name "just because she wasn't there to sign the papers". Please stop being vindictive towards the daughter--her ability to inherit is determined by state law, not on how good or how poor the relationship was at the time of his death. The bottom line is that the surviving spouse is entitled to a certain portion of this estate and the daughter is also entitled to a certain portion of the estate, and the only way to find out what each person gets is to consult with a local probate attorney. Are you implying that you are having trouble trying to find an attorney who will do the probate because it appears that this is a smaller value estate? What is the value of the home in Turkey if it were to be sold? Do not listen to or fully believe what anyone at a courthouse (who is NOT an attorney) is telling you--that person should be telling you that they are not allowed to give legal advice and that you should be consulting with an attorney. Since the daughter apparently is not interested in getting anything from this estate since she said she doesn't want to be contacted, the probate attorney will probably ask her to sign a form to disclaim and reject her share of this estate.
  15. She probably meant to say "set aside" or "repaid" instead of excluded.