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OT - Probate question - John T or anyone?


 
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rpirkle1
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Location: Duluth, GA

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi folks,

Lost my mom recently and as the oldest of her kids, find it one of my projects to make sure here estate is handled appropriately since there's no will.

Mom's known for a while that her health was going down hill and that she wasn't going to live forever so she'd gradually eliminated a lot of things. Thus there's no real estate, nothing significant in the bank account (< $500), no vehicles, no credit cards. Basically down to personal effects and household furnishings (which I think my siblings and I can divide easily enough). Effectively mom had reached a point of living on her SS & retirement checks ... simple, quiet lifestyle with no frills.

The only possible wrinkle to this (and I spent the afternoon Wed trying to find paperwork in the probate office to bear this out) is that family lore indicates that mom inherited a number of cemetery plots from her mom... circa 1950 at age 4... but the cemetery office still shows them in her mom's name (never mind her mom's been in one since 1950) and probate office has no will for my grandmother to show who (out of grandmother's 3 children) gets/got them.

My question, is there any requirement/legal reason to actually file paperwork with probate office for my mom's estate ... and do the cemetery plots affect that decision?


I realize that legal advice on this (or any other) website is worth about what I'm paying for it and appreciate your time.

Thanks,
Randy
 


Last edited by rpirkle1 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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LAA
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

It is very important to find out the law in your state, but, in many states probate is quick and simple if there is a up to date legal will and especially if the estate is small with few or no liabilities. The court approves the personal representative named in the will, usually a formality, the main duties for the representative in a small estate would be to file the current years taxes that apply, federal, state and local or whatever, settle final expenses, track down and pay any known debts or claims, then divy up cash or equivalents as per the will. Household goods and clear title vehicles can usually be given immediately to the beneficiarys named in the will as well as retirement account assets and life insurance proceeds, the personal representative prepares and submits an accounting of the whole shebang when finalized.
 
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ohiojim
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:29 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

if there's no record of the plots and all involved can reach agreement i'd skip probate,..i have been there and done that....
 
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David G
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I am NOT a lawyer, but have gone through this several times lately with relatives.

I think you may have some difficulty in getting the plots transferred without getting a lawyer and court involved. It is pretty straight forward handling one estate, but gets complicated when you involve a previous estate into the current one.
 
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Duner Wi
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

John T might need more info. Is this a non profit cemetery say connected with a church, or a for profit run by SCI or similar .
 
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Mike (WA)
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

First consideration is- how much are the cemetery plots worth? That's going to be the deciding factor.

Because it spans two generations, and multiple parties, you would probably have to probate both mom and grandma's estates, UNLESS you could get grandma's other two kids (and their kids) to agree on a distribution- and then proceed under your state's "small estate" (affidavit) procedure. And I can just about guarantee that at least one of your cousins won't agree to your family getting the proceeds. Even if everyone thought, for the last 60 years, that the plots had been deeded to your mom, their tune will change when they find out that now they have a chance to get a few bucks.

This would be worth a 50 or 75 buck conference with someone who actually knows what he is doing- that being a probate lawyer.

As far as the rest of your mother's assets, I don't see any reason to do a probate. BUT if she had any debts, you may need to do a Non-Probate Notice to Creditors. Ask the attorney when you talk to him.
 
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John T
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:11 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

My very general take is similar to co counsel Mikes, but, of course, I have no knowledge about your states probate law and this advice is worth what I'm charging IE NOTHING. If I were asked your same question by a client in our state, I dont see any reason to open any full blown in Court probate estate PROVIDED you do a diligent search for creditors and send them Notice by Certified US Mail Return Receipt (Green Card) Requested and get them paid if the estate is solvent or if the amount owed is so small its not worth dealing with n just pay it.

I once handled a similar case where Grandma nor Mom ever probated any estate and mom still resided on property her Grandma owned so I had to open an estate BUT that concerned expensive real estate nottttttt a few cemetery plots.

Our state has an inexpensive procedure for settling small estates under $50,000 in which an interested person (like an heir) can simply file a small estate affidavit, insure all the bills are paid, file and pay any inheritance taxes, and thats all there is to it PIECE OF CAKE. If you can get all of grandma and moms heirs to sign off on, agree and be a party in that process and mutually deal with the cemetery plots thats how Id handle it here.

If the heirs cant agree on the cemetery plots AND THEIR VALUE IS WORTH WHAT A CONTESTED ESTATE COSTS, then that unfortunately may be what you have to do iffffffff its worth the expense???????

Id really really be talking to all concerned parties about the cemetery plots and seek an agreement,,,,,,,,look for and provide notice to and pay creditors (if estate is solvent),,,,,,,go the small estate affidavit route if your state has such

ORRRRRRRRRRR you can always do NOTHING (which in some cases Ive advised) n see if any creditors crawl out of the woodwork n wait n see what happens with the plots and/or worry about it later, LET THE CHIPS FALL

I HAVE TO ADVISE YOU TALK TO A LOCAL PROBATE ATTORNEY to at least get a preliminary and relatively inexpensive basic and general opinion and advice and then make your decision.

AS I ALWAYS HAVE TO ALSO SAY, CONSULT A LOCAL TRAINED COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL AND DONT HANG YOUR HAT ON ANY "OPINIONS" HERE REGARDLESS IF BY PROFESESIONALS OR LAY PERSONS

John T
 
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slim
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'm going through that right now. My mother's estate has 2 remaining plots. The plots have basically no value. Sure if you needed a plot or two in this cemetary you would have to buy them. But if you are selling it seems no one wants them.

It's probably not worth the trouble and best just to use them for a family member who needs them next.

slim
 
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EricInSEI
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Having been a cemetery trustee, check also with the
cemetery. Some have a provision that you can only
sell a plot back to the cemetery, and for the
original price. So it is possible that the plots are
only worth a few hundred dollars.
 
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rpirkle1
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Thank you John, Mike & everyone that' weighed in.

Based on what I'm hearing from everyone here, the estate itself would likely fall into Ga's small estate handling with fairly minimal costs.

The cemetery plots won't change that determination as they're in an lower cost section of a city owned cemetery. I'm not sure until I discuss with a local probate lawyer what we'll do with them... at the moment, the uncles involved as well as my siblings all seem to be treating them like a hot potato and I'm being stubborn and refuse to pass this one on to the next generation...
 
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Oldmax
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:31 am    Post subject: Re: OT - Probate question - John T or anyone? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Go to the probate office and ask them how much the estate was to be worth before. you have ot go through probate court. I some states they will let you slide if it is a small amount. All they want is the Taxes if they any coming anyway. That is why in WV it has to be done within a year after someone passes. When mom died if she hadn't of had a car in her name I wouldn't have had to even file but in order to sign the title to sell it I had to file.
 
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