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Wills, Estates & Probate Questions and Answers for January by Vincent A. Liberti Jr., LL.M.

Wills, Estates & Probate Questions and Answers for January

Happy New Year! The new year brings changes. And questions. Here are a few that I've answered. Check back often to see new contributions.


Question: Can an attorney include the power to name himself as a successor trustee in my trust without asking me?
Question Detail: My trust attorney has drafted a "Special Power of Appointment Trust" for my review. I found a section in the back titled "Power to name other trustees". In it, he says that he has the authority to appoint h...imself as a trustee if one is required and not filled under the terms of the agreement. He never discussed this with me and I want to know if it would be legal for him to include this without my authorization.
ANSWER: You are the client. What you want in your own trust is what controls. So if you do not want to give him this power, tell him to remove it.

Question: How to transfer lost car title of a deceased person?
Question Detail: My mother recently passed. She owned a 1991 car & the title is missing. How do I transfer the car from her name to mine? The car is the only thing of value she owned.
ANSWER: You may have to open a Probate estate to determine who is entitled to the car and if the license is lost contact the Department of Motor Vehicles once you are appointed as the executor to manage estate assets.

Question: How do I add my children's names to the title of my house?
ANSWER: Contact a lawyer, who can draft the deed. However, make sure the lawyer understands, gift taxes, stamp/conveyance taxes, step up in basis of the house vs. carry over basis, and, if applicable, Medicaid issues in your state regarding the transfer of the home.

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