How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Tina Your Own Question

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31985
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
4460311
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Tina is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

A 67 (+/-) year old male friend died in a Houston, Texas hospital

Customer Question

A 67 (+/-) year old male friend died in a Houston, Texas hospital on 28 June 2013. He had no known living relatives. He was an extremely private person. Several of us who knew him for up to 30 years believe he had served a 6-year tour in the US Air Force during the Vietnam war. We have slowly and painstakingly learned his SSN and DOB -- and that his estate consists of a condo he owned, a car, and a retirement account.

The hospital where he died apparently only had his wallet, home and car keys -- no other documents. They turned the body over to the funeral home that has a County contract for pauper burials. It has been embalmed, and presumably will be buried as a pauper since nobody has produced documentation of his veteran status.

We, the friends, would want to have access to the condo to look for a will, DD Form 214, and whatever other documents may be present there. None of us has any known interest in his belongings, other than perhaps books and personal papers.

We have been told that the funeral home has an attorney who is handling everything.

How can we gain legal access to the premises to search for those documents? We hope to ensure our friend has a proper, dignified funeral, that his wishes are followed, and that his estate will not be consumed for legal and funeral expenses (plus the State) if he had other plans.

Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

No one has a key to the condo that you know of? Do you know if your deceased friend has any relatives or whether a probate case is being filed to distribute his property?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks, Tina.


- To our knowledge, the only key is at the Hospital.


- One of us (friends) remember him as particularly glum one day several years ago, asked him if he was OK, and he said "my sister just died; she was my last living relative". There may have been a brother-in-law with whom he probably had no contact.


- If a probate case has been filed, we have not been told about it.

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
I see. Thank you for providing this additional information, Ariel.

Since none of this individual's friends have legal access to his property, the only way to gain legal access typically would be to obtain a court order granting you access unfortunately.

You could call the clerk of the court in the county where your friend resided and inquire with the clerk as to whether a probate case may have been filed there. If not, then you or one of the other friends could file a petition in probate and request that the court appoint an executor of the decreased's estate and permit entry to his condo so it can be determined whether he has a will or other documents can be located to support his status as a veteran.

I wish there were any easier way, but unless you can get the key from the hospital, it would normally take a court order to gain entry to the condo or you could be prosecuted for breaking and entering, even though your intentions are very admirable.

Here is a link which provides probate forms but it would be best to retain a local estate law attorney to assist you with this.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't see the link for the estate forms. Are these County-specific, or applicable state-wide?

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, Ariel.

My sincere apologies for not providing that link. Here it is:

http://texasprobate.net/forms/

The forms are state approved and not specific to any county.
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31985
Experience: JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
Tina and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you -- we'll pursue that avenue.


Will you be available for follow-up questions on this issue -- still under the same initial fee?

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome, Ariel, and good luck to you.

The site's policy is that a new question thread must be started for new questions (with a new deposit posted), but if you have a brief follow-up or need clarification of my answer, then that may be posted in this thread.

Please remember to provide me with a positive rating so I will be compensated for my time. Thank you very much!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks, Tina. I hope we can take it from there. If I need to contact you further about this, I'll try do so soon and very briefly, hoping to get it "under the wire" of the original fee / deposit.


And, yes, I'll rate you very positively.


Peace


Ariel

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
Peace to you too Ariel and thank you in advance for the positive rating!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK - "over and out"


Ariel

Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
:) OK have a wonderful afternoon!
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much for your positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me should a future legal need arise.

If you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please consider scoring me a 9 or 10. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.

Tina

Note: Please feel free to request me if you have future legal questions by typing your new question in the question box on my profile page. Here is a link to that page, which you can bookmark or add to your favorites: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-tina/. I look forward to hearing from you again should the need arise.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.