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Subject: A heir never mentioned to attorney
Question: My father died in 2009, he inherited property in New Orleans from his mother that died the year before. When the family met with a lawyer to open succession, I was never mentioned. I am one of four children, my siblings was mentioned but not me. Is there anything that can be done about this?

Answer: (December, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

Perhaps - if your father left a valid will and did not leave you any portion of his property, and you are over the age of 23 and competent to handle your own affairs, you can be disinherited - but if he left no valid will you would be entitled to an undivided 1/4th of his property cogden@taggartmorton.com

Subject: Executor wants to review bills paid before Mom's death
Question: My mother recently passed away & my oldest brother is the executor. For the 2 years prior to her death, I handled all of my mother's finances. Every month, we reviewed her bank statements, any bills that were paid, and any charges to the credit card. The credit card used for Mom is in my name only, and was dedicated just for her use. Now, my brother, as executor, wants to review all of the payments that were made in the past several years. He, and the attorney for the estate, want me to give them the passwords to my account so that they can review them. I think that since Mom approved and reviewed all the expenditures, and she was in her sound mind, that reviewing past expenditures is unnecessary. Do I have to supply them with this information?

Answer: (October, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

I may depend on whether you were acting on behalf of your mother pursuant to power or attorney - but generally, if not, and your mother was of sound mind, you may not have to account, but if you were acting as her agent, you may have to account, but I don't believe you would have to give the passwords to your accounts to anyone

Subject: succession necessary?
Question: My mother died two months after Hurricane Katrina. Ant documentation, bills, records of debts were lost. Life insurance proceeds were paid long ago. When her father died, mom inherited his share of two residences.when mom died my siblings and I inherited mom's share of the property. Grandma lives in one residence and leases the other. My siblings and I take no part in managing the property and take no proceeds from the lease. Grandma wants to obtain a reverse mortgage on the rental residence. We have been asked to open succession for my mother and then give up all interest in the property so that Grandma can have absolute freedom to do what she wishes with the property. We want nothing to do with this property and want to allow Grandma to do what she wishes. Mom had no other assets. Can we legally sign away our interest in the property without succession?

Answer: (October, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

A joint succession for both parents will have to be opened, wherein the children can renounse the parents' successions in favor of the grandmother - if you would like, you can contact me at cogden@taggartmorton.com

Subject: overseas savings account
Question: Someone passed away and left me as beneficiary of a savings account in a central american country. Someone told me that I don't have to travel overseas to claim my the money. That I can hire a lawyer here in Louisiana and have them wire the money over here. Is this true? If so can you recommend me a lawyer who can help me in such matter.

Answer: (October, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

I presume that the account is listed in a judgment of possession? We can get the account transferred to you, please contact me at cogden@taggartmorton.com

Subject: next of kin
Question: my aunt lives in Louisiana and has been recently declared incompetent due to dementia. Her husband already died. she didn't have children only one step son. Who would be her next of kin, her full brother or her step son, to be her power of attorney?

Answer: (August, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

Since your aunt is incompetent, she cannot execute a Power of Attorney - she must be interdicted, and her brother can be the curator, and her step son her undercurator - it will take filing the proceedings in the district court in the parish where she lives, and you will need an opinion letter and affidavit from her physician, dertifying that she is incompetent and incapable of handling her own affairs - cogden@taggartmorton.com

Subject: What rights do I have regarding my father, if my half sister is power of attorney
Question: My father lives in El Paso, Tx. I currently live in Cleveland, Tx. He became ill a few months ago and was put in a nursing home. My half sister became power of attorney for my dad. But now she is playing hard ball. They want to sell my dads house. What rights do I have being his daughter as well. Do I have any rights to the house or any of the possessions inside the house.

Answer: (July, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

This sounds like a question of Texas law, but there are too many questions to respond appropriately. Being a Louisiana lawyer, I don't know the nuances of Texas law, and I don't know whether your father left a will, naming you as a legatee of his property. If you would like, you can contact me at my e-mail address cogden@taggartmorton.com, for further questions and answers, thanks

Subject: OPEN SUCCESSION
Question: Quik question....My father passed away a year ago and his wife & my half sister still reside in my father & step mother home, if she decides to sell the house does she have to open succession??? What is are rights with all of this, my father had me and my brother from his 1st marriage & remarried and had a child. Also, my father never had a will. So what are me and my brother entitled too????

Answer: (June, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

First of all, the house cannot be sold without transferring your father's interest to his heirs - how the property devolves intestate (without a will) depends on whether the home was community property or separate property. If it was community property, your step-mother would get her 1/2 share of the community property, and you and your siblings would each get the naked ownership of the other 1/2 in 1/3rd shares each of the community property, subject to the usufruct (the right to use and enjoy the income from) in favor of your step mother. If the house is your father's separate property, the house would transfer to the 3 children in equal 1/3rd shares - if you have any further questions, my e-mail address is cogden@taggartmorton.com - Charlton B. Ogden III

Subject: Succession
Question: What if all children do not want to do succession? It it required by Louisiana law?

Answer: (February, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

A succession is required under LA law to transfer the assets of the decedent to his or her heirs. If a child does not want to take his share of the assets, he or she can renounce the succession in favor of the other heirs or his or her children,if the case may be

Subject: Succession
Question: Father died 2009 stating legal residence in Chalmette, LA. Died while staying in Mississippi at the house of one of his children. Mother died Jan. 2011 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Only property located in Chalmette, LA. Must we do succession in Lafayette or New Orleans? Can all be settle together?

Answer: (February, 2011)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

Your father's succession could be opened in St. Bernard, since that is the place where his immovable proprety is located, and he died while domiciled in Mississippi, but your mother's succession needs to be opened in Lafayette, the place of her domicile at the time of her death. We can do a joint succession of both parents in Lafayette and get the Chalmette property transferred to the heirs.

Subject: Re: Confidental Mother desperately needed to go to NO to stay with brother due to anxiet re: weather
Question: I have the durable power of attorney and am Health Care Proxy for my mother. My mother was living independently in NYC until the horrific weather in NY this past winter. I live in NY, brother lives in NO. This past winter, my mother called and asked her son many times to come and stay for awhile. He ignored her. She had a smoke fire in her kitchen and he promised to help, but ignored her for two weeks. I completed everything with her insurance company and she stayed with me until her apartment was completely finished and liveable The apartment manager even called my brother and he said "I'm out of this." My sister who has basically done nothing for my mother in the past 10 years has accused me of abuse for not walking 10 blocks in the snow to be with my mother. I asked my mother repeatedly to take a car service, which I would pay for, to come to my apartment and stay. I also would pay for the driver to help her walk to the car. She was frightened of the wind. I've offered to share an apartment with her. One day during the beginning of this year, her other daughter talked to my brother, who she hasn't talked to in 11 years, and sent my mother off to NO. My sister FedEx's her checks and account number to my brother, donated her beautiful furniture, without my mother knowing it. Brother promised my mother that he would pay for his "babysitters for his kids" to help her too. He also promised to get her an apartment in NYC if she wants to come back. That is no longer an option. He has forged over $5,000 worth of checks, that I have copies of, since I was paying my mother's bills online and have access to her accoutn. These checks were used to pay "his babysitters." She never knew and now is telling me to "lay off." He has taken her to the bank and had her transfer money from her savings to her checking. When I told him that I spoke to a NY lawyer online, who said that he was "abusing his position and of his fiduciary duty removing from his position and to provide an accounting and return of assets wrongly removed from her accounts not for his benefits," he automatically returned a "little of her money," and told me I had to compensate him for doing this? He is telling me that he will be changing the Durable Power of Attorney over to himself. My mother said she didn't know this. I have many messages on my cell phone from my mother saying how miserable she was. Re: her health, I have gone to every doctor appointment with her in NY and her blood pressure was good. My brother now has her on blood pressure medicines, which I don't approve of. She needs exercise and little stress. I am a Master's prepared Registered nurse. I feel that my mother is being manipulated into thinking that my brother is doing the right thing. Everyone is turning her against me, because I am letting her know the truth about everything. She was even on the phone with me and her bank letting them know she wanted her account closed and to reopen a new bank account when she found out her son was writing checks. She could not open a new bank account unless in person.My brother has changed the address on her acount to his address and asked me for the password to the online banking, which I did not give. I want to end this whole thing, but want my mother to be safe. She crys and tells me that there is good food there, but lifestyle is not what she wants. I keep asking her to come back. This situation is making me ill. I am having a hard time working. Can he change the Durable Power of Attorney and HCP? My sister is verbally abusing me on the phone messages. Please help.

Answer: (April, 2010)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

If your mother is mentally competent, she can execute a new Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy to name your brother as her agent.

Subject: Successions
Question: My mother died 4 years ago, without a will. I hired an attorney because my sisters did not want to settle. I have been either non-advised or ill-advised by my attorney, and the estate is still not settled. Because of medical bills I can not hire another attorney. What are my recourses and how can I get this settled? There is also a trust for my Down's Syndrom sister which is questionable (as I read it, the thrustee can raid her trust.

Answer: (December, 2009)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

Your inquiry is difficult to respond to due to lack of details. In general, if the succession is under administration, it is the duty of the administrator to close the succession and put the heirs or legatees in possession of the property comprising your mother's estate. If for any reason you feel your current attorney is not giving you good advice, it is always your perogative to terminate his services, and hire the services of new counsel. Due to your inability to pay, and if you have a valid claim to property comprising the estate of your mother, perhaps your new counsel would be willing to defer payment until the succession is resolved. Regarding your sister's trust, without having seen it, I cannot further advise.

Subject: Power of attorney
Question: My sister named her son as her power of attorney when she was single. Now that she is married, would her husband supercede her son in legal rights to make decisions for her if she becomes incompetent? She has not changed her will.

Answer: (November, 2009)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

Your sister's son maintains her power of attorney to make decisions in the event of your sister's incompetence - there is no reason to change her will for what occurs during her life

Subject: Probate
Question: If probate is done in the state of Virginia, what is required for probate in Louisiana. What's is the cost for this service?

Answer: (November, 2009)
Charlton M. Ogden | Taggart Morton L.L.C. | 1100 Pydras Street, Suite 2100 | New Orleans, LA 70163

Louisiana courts will accept the probated will and transfer the property in accordance with its terms - what is the Louisiana property that needs to be transferred? If it is immovable property, you will need to open an ancillary succession in order to get a judgment of possession to transfer the property. The cost depends upon the time it will take to perform the services, and the costs of court and recordation of the judgment, if immovable property is involved. My hourly rate for such services can be charged at $200/hr. The court costs and costs or recordation are estimated to be $300.00

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