Well...had that difficult talk

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I still dont think I know everything but I talked to Pat. I asked her about Dad's will and she said he didnt actually have a will, he just wrote some things down. That most everything was in both their names except for the CD that was in my name.

    Well...doesnt that mean he died intestate? Doesnt that mean this whole thing have to go through probate now?

    She didnt say a word about the three life insurance policies.

    I asked her about Dad's truck and about the tools. She said well Jamie was supposed to get the truck. Ok...we can work with that because Jamie will just sign it over to us. He cant use it. He wants Tony to have it. No problem there. When I said something about the tools, she was a little more iffy but I said Dad had said Tony could have them because Tony was getting older and needed them to stop working since his stroke and she said, well they are here, you can have them. Whew. Not that Tony is going to stop working right now but this is his plan for maybe 5 years down the line. Get himself set up to make all sorts of wooden stuff...mobile home steps, play houses, benches, chairs, etc. Sell them at flea markets or ads online.

    I still think there is more to this I dont know but I may never know. Slowly over time I will probably get phone calls or boxes of stuff she finds that she wants me to have that was Dads and should go to me. Or was mine from when I lived with him.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sounds odd that your dad didn't have a will, especially when you know that he did have one. Do you know his lawyers name? You could contact him directly and ask. As next of kin you have that right.

    I'm glad she's willing to hand over the stuff that is supposed to go to you.............but I dunno something sounds a bit fishy with the life insurance and the will part. I'd check it out if possible.

    But at least the awkward part of over with.

  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You'll always have a seed of doubt but I am glad that she agreed to the things that you were promised. Did she tell you anything more about the CD? I think you're probably right that periodically you'll get odds and ends. I'm sure it's a relief to have the call over. Hugs. DDD
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont believe he didnt have a will. I dont know who is lawyer is. Havent a clue. I also dont know if there is a way to find out if you are the beneficiary on a life insurance policy.

    Jamie just called the probate court in the county he resided in and asked if his estate or will had been scheduled for probate yet and it hasnt. Now dont know exactly what that proves. Does it mean that he doesnt have a will or does it mean just that no one has filed it yet?

    Lord I need an expert in this stuff right now.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert but I know in some States probate is not required if the estate is under $500,000 or ???

    If the house is jointly owned, vehicles jointly owned, stocks jointly owned etc. most people don't have to go through probate. There is no requirement that an attorney be party to a will...you can do one using online resources. Most people don't really have assets that are solely in their name for that very reason.

    I know your Dad was comfortable financially and I also know he was a smart man. I'm assuming he arranged things so there would be no "estate" . I'm thinking that Pat probably told you the truth. Hugs. DDD
  6. jal

    jal Member

    Probate is done to get the name of the deceased off of a title like for a vehicle or a house...My husband's grandmother signed everything out of her name and into her daughters while she was alive to avoid them having to deal with probate. When my grandmother passed her house was in her name and it had to go through probate to get into my parents name so that they could sell the home. So if your dad had assets that beared his name on a title it would need to pass through probate.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    After reading the whole probate junk on the web about VA...I think she did too. It is like reading greek! They made sure all the major assets were in both names...except my CD...and from the way this thing reads online, Im betting it isnt in a "surviving" mode either. Gosh...little did I know as a difficult child...lmao. Sneaky dad! Seems anything payable upon death is a problem, well except for life insurance.

    I think I am just going to have to let that ride and accept that insurance companies know who the bennies are and how to locate them. They are legally required to notify them. The executor or anyone else has nothing to do with that.
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    In our state, probate kicks in if you have assets over $100K and no surviving spouse (we are a community property state).

    If you are stated as a beneficiary or co-beneficiary on the life insurance, then when the claim is filed you HAVE to be given your share. I believe probate only gets involved if there are assets with no co-owner or beneficiary names (like a house, or car, or savings account held only in the deceased's name, etc.)

    For example, when my mom contacted a financial institution about closing some of my dad's accounts, we learned that my brother and I were co-beneficiaries (along with my mom, who got 50% and we each got 25%). And it doesn't involve probate because we were already named as beneficiaries and it's legally binding.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    My grandmother died without a will. The house was in her name, but my aunt was living in it. It was when my aunt went to sell the house years later that it was ruled that the proceeds had to be split between grandma's children equally, and since my mom had already died, I inherited my mom's share.
    I think the previous suggestion on the other thread that the funeral home would know who the attorney is would be a valid one to look into.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, his assets are well over 100k but there is the surviving spouse.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Asking the funeral home is a good thing. This site about probate seems to be more understandable than many: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/probing-probate-what-you-should-know.html

    As far as life insurance, not all policies will tell you if they have a policy and he died. If you are the only beneficiary, it is up to you to tell them that he died. It is one reason that there are so many people in those lists of unclaimed money - they still have to file for it even though the person is dead. If you are listed with your stepmom or anyone else and they file for it, it MUST be given to the beneficiaries even if she objects to the distribution. She literally has NO say in it. She may have problems if stuff is in both of their names.

    This site says that property passes to your spouse UNLESS you have children from a former marriage. Joint ownership does NOT protect this.

    Janet, I know things are tight right now, but if you can find an attorney who does a free consult, PLEASE go speak to them about this. If not, consider paying the fee for a short consultation. having both their names on property can mean she can clean out the accounts, but it doesn't mean that you don't inherit anything. It is in her best interest to tell you that there is nothing for you, that it is all joint property and goes to her. It may be true, but until you speak to an attorney you won't really know.

    Given what you have said about your dad, he would NOT want you to give up your interests in his estate. he would want you to treat his wife with respect and courtesy, but not to give up your part of his property. Otherwise, when she dies it will go to HER kids. Would he want all of his property to go to HER children, or did he want to leave some things to you? Many of the elderly do a lot of things to leave something to their kids, esp those who lived through the depression. It is likely that your father thought about this, esp as you already know he wanted you to have certain things. You have a right to see the list of what he "wrote down" and to the portion of the estate you are legally entitled to.

    If he put things in both their names to avoid estate taxes, he surely asked a lawyer how to do it. I would not trust that his list does not meet the definition of a will - in many states it would be considered legally binding even if an attorney did not write it or it did not use a certain format. As his child you are legally entitled to a portion of his property unless he specifically disinherited you. Don't give up your rights because you fear that she will think you are rude. Your dad would NOT want that.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We used to have someone on here who was a family law attorney. Where are our members when we need them...lol.
  13. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    How long was your stepmother married to your father?
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Assets that are jointly owned do not pass under the will so even if he had a will it wouldn't change that. Do you know which insurance companies he may have policies with? You can call them and ask about his beneficiary. In Ohio the beneficiary is responsible for notifying the insurance company of a death and sending them a death certificate. It is not the insurance company's responsibility to go looking for beneficiaries.

    Janet I would have hoped your Dad would have put his wishes in writing and provided for his children. This is so important for all of us to consider with our aging parents. If they do not have a will then their wishes may not be carried out. It's a difficult discussion to have with our loved ones but necessary.

  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I just saw this thread.
    Best of luck, Janet.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fran, dad married Pat in April of 84 right before I had Jamie. His divorce became final from my mom 12/24/83. My mom and dad separated sometime in 81 but I cant quite place the month. It was before Billy was 5 months old because that is when Bill stole him from us and I had to go retrieve him from them in FL and I was out of jail on bail and it was a mess getting the courts to OK me leaving the state. Mom was living in the trailer she bought for me and Bill to live in and Dad had to promise that Bill could come back and live with him and me in my Dads house in order for me to get Billy. I have never seen my Dad so mad. Really.

    So it must have been late 81 when they separated. Yeah. Pat told my dad where my mom had stashed two money market account checks or something like that, that were in just her name where my mom had wiped out a substantial portion of the marital assets and hid them just for herself. She hid them under the rug in the living room...lol. She made the mistake of telling Pat who she thought was her best friend but who turned out to turn traitor and started to be "friends" with my dad and nature took its course.

    At first it was kind of strange for me to see the woman who used to be my moms friend dating my dad...and even worse, kissing and hugging him...and knowing they were doing more than that...but eventually I got over that. My mom was never thrilled. She lost a husband and a friend in one fell swoop. But it was my mom's doing, she wanted the divorce.

    I just dont know what I am going to do. I dont know how to think or feel. I sure wish I could see that list. I sure wish my dad had talked more to me about things before he died. I wish I had gone up a few weeks earlier and had more of a heart to heart with him. Maybe he would have laid things out for me...or maybe not. Every time she says anything its always...we didnt want you to know or get worried or get upset over something that you couldnt do anything about. Well...I couldnt do anything but I could have been there to just be with him! Time is something I cant have back. Sigh. Im not some wilting flower. Heck, they didnt even know about my bipolar!
  17. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    In order for you to receive either any insurance money or the cd you are the beneficiary of, the bank and the insurance company would have to be notified that your father passed. It is up to the bank and the insurance company to locate you after they have that information. It would be up to Pat to requests those death certificates and send them out - probably one of the harder things my mom had to do when my father passed.

    Were I in your shoes, I would wait a couple weeks then talk to Pat again. It sounds like things are ok between the two of you. You may just want to get clarification on the cd. Do you know that your dad had multiple life insurance policies? Do you think or know that one was payable to you? I was sorta unclear on this.
  18. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    The answer lies with that CD he left to you. I think you need to get your hands on it.
  19. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Janet -- because of this situation, I sat my mom down and asked her about her wills, etc. I found out I am the executor for her and my step-dad, that was a bit of a shock. But now I know they have everything in writing and where it is.

    Thanks for sharing your struggle with this as you may have prevented the same thing here.

    I'm sorry for the loss of your father.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am aware of my parents' will. Just about a year ago they finally wrote one with my name in it. before that it was gfgbro and any other children, lol. I have a feeling that my share goes to my kids given the way my mother has reacted to the limits that her behavior and gfgbro's earned from us. I know that gfgbro is the "executor" because "he is so good with paperwork". I find that hysterical because up until a month before they did the will he had not paid ANY income taxes in over 10 yrs. He had to pay them all at once when he got put on payroll at the university as a maintenance person, lol. Before that he had never worked a job that took out taxes so he just didn't pay or file. Cost my folks a bundle to pay that off for him. Of course he "paid" the taxes - then had them pay his bills for several months so that they "weren't paying his taxes", lol. But he is hte "responsible" one. I am just glad not to have to be saddled with all of it as I am sure that my mother did it with minimal legal help and LOTS of help from her "smart pills" aka speed. I have dealt with other things she has done that way and they are universally difficult.

    This should be a good reminder for those of us here to make sure our own affairs are in order and to speak to our parents and any adult children and/or siblings about our wishes and our parents wishes. Having this be a secret is a problem for those left when we pass.