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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney
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My mother had work done to her home that was not done properly.

Resolved Question:

My mother had work done to her home that was not done properly. The person who arranged for the work to be done agreed in writing to return the $3250.00 that she paid for the shoddy job on January 27, 2012(that was never completed, by the way). He continues to put her off, saying that he doesn't have the money, that business isn't good, etc. My mother is 92 years old and not in the best health. Through text messages, I told this person that I will be taking him to small claims court to recoup her money ( I have power of attorney for my mother's finances).
My question is, if my mother dies prior to court, does this person still owe her estate?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to answer your question.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to represent your mother in court on a Power of Attorney and if you decide to pursue this matter in Small Claims Court you would have to hire a licensed attorney.

If this person is sued by your mother/your mother's attorney, the estate will be able to further pursue this lawsuit and collect on any judgment that results from the lawsuit.


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Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Do you have any related follow up questions or do you need for me to further explain my answer to you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
According to my mother's trust, I have a general POA that allows me to make any transaction, finacila or legal, for her, just as she would make herself....so it seems that I should be able to represent her in small claims court, correct?
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately that is absolutely incorrect, but a common misconception that many people make when it comes to POA.

While you are your mothers attorney in fact and can make decisions and take actions on her behalf, only licensed attorneys at law can represent an individual or a legal entity in court, as otherwise anyone can give anyone a POA and the person with a POA would be able to practice law and legally represent the grantor of the POA in court and other legal proceedings, which would amount to unlicensed practice of law.

Please let me know if this makes sense?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am talking about small claims court where there are no attorneys representing the defendant or the plaintiff, who represent themselves.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I do understand that, but you would still not be able to represent your mother in court, regardless whether it is a small claims court or the State Supreme court.

However you will be able to hire an attorney to represent your mother and sign a retainer agreement on your mother's behalf with this attorney and can accompany your mother's attorney to the small claims court and attend the hearing(s).


If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.

Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Do you have any related follow up questions?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok I copied this from another answer on this site....And unfortunately it will not paste. The answer said that if the mother is capable of giving permission to the POA to respresent her in court, then this can happen, but the POA cannot take it upon themselves to represent the mother. Correct? This is what another legal person quoted on JustAnswer. Basically if it is ok with the court and the mother the POA can go to court for the mother....

 

Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
The judges do have wide discretion, but in my many years of experience I have never seen or heard any judge permitting a non-attorney to represent even a close relative on a POA and in the best case scenario will advice the POA to come back with a lawyer and will not count it as non-appearance of the party when a POA shows up at a court hearing with the actual plaintiff or an attorney.

While the answer that you saw might be remotely theoretically possible, in the reality the chances of that taken place would be slim to none.

However, you are more than welcome to try it and if you are unsuccessful and I am correct you can always obtain a lawyer, just be careful not to upset the judge in the case from the outset.


If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.

Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, I will bring my mother to court in a wheelchair with her oxygen if the court will not permit me to represent her. Otherwise, most of the $3250.00 will go for attorney fees....Thank you.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry that I can't give you more favorable answer and I do understand your frustration, but please do understand that I do have to provide you with the correct answer, rather than more favorable incorrect one which might give you false hope or potentially point you in the wrong direction.

It is a shame that this person that you need to sue had taken advantage of a senior citizen and if he is also not a licensed contractor you should report him to the state authorities as well.


If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.

Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This person is a real estate agent who "hired" probably illegals to do work for her, and did a substandard job, and didn't complete that. This was a vacant house and my mother never saw any of the work, but I did .I made contact with this loser and took photos and have maintained all contact with him since. I would love to contact the department of real estate but I don't know what action they could take. This is elder financial abuse and perhaps I should take action based on that. Of course, she had no signed contract with the scum bag. He befriended her thinking that he could scam her.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I would strongly suggest that you do report this lowlife to the Department of Real Estate ans also to the California Justice Bureau that deals with Elder Abuse. Here is the link to their brochure on how to report elder abuse:

http://ag.ca.gov/bmfea/pdfs/citizens_guide.pdf

Both of these agencies will investigated this individual and hopefully will take some disciplinary action to prevent him/her from scamming another elderly/senior citizen.



If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.

Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you I will report him.
Ok one more question...if my mom should pass away before he pays, since I have in writing from him that he owes her the money, would he still owe the estate? And do the text messages supporting his claims of resposibility hold any water in court?
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

An estate can pursue a claim against the debtor to the deceased, however it would be easier to pursue a claim against this person if the lawsuit is filed while your mother is still alive and the estate would simply be substituted as a plaintiff.

Text messages can be admitted as evidence in court, once they are printed out.


If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.

Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.

Bonus and positive feedback are always greatly appreciated!
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13547
Experience: Experienced Licensed Attorney
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