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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7312
Experience:  30+ yrs. handling probate estate, wills, trust, inheritance & real estate related matters
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I am acting trustee [Living Trust] neighbor's estate!

Customer Question

I am acting trustee [Living Trust] for a neighbor's estate! One of the co-settlors (the husband) died. The other co-settler (the wife) is legally declared "mentally incompetent" (senile) to manage her financial affairs. Accordingly, their Living Trust lists me as having Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA 'agent') to manage their financial affairs.
Recently, I went to the local Social Security Administrative office to file for the wife's SSA Survivor's benefits. I was told by their SSA representative that they (SSA/Medicare) DO NOT accept durable power of attorney documents (California), "even if their Living Trust (financial DPOA provisions) was drawn up by a licensed attorney in estate planning. I was told I have to hire an attorney ($$$$$) to represent ME personally in probate court to be granted 'conservatorship' over the trust settlor's federal survivor's benefits (i.e., right to file on behalf of the wife)! The legal retainer fees alone will force me into bankruptcy! Isn't a Living Trust legally designed to keep a settlor's estate out of probate court? What the hell is going on??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.
I don't understand why you think you are personally liable to pay for the appointment of a conservator. I also don't understand some of the fee quotations that I've heard coming from some California attorneys. Appointment of a conservator for an adult incompetent is a couple hour job for a competent attorney, especially if you can assist by obtaining the necessary medical report from the doctor. The attorney fees should be paid from the lady's funds, not yours , And just getting the appointment of a conservator shouldn't cost more than $1,500. The question you asked about the living trust keeping the settlers estate out of probate is a legitimate one. You tried to use your Durable POA, instead of the Powers that you Have As the trustee Under the trust agreement. You might try applying again, but as trustee not the POA. Ask for someone at the supervisor level and I think you have a good chance of getting the job done. I hope this information is helpful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Irwin thanks for your reply! When I introduced myself to the SSA, I specifically told them that I WAS A TRUSTEE of a neighbor's living trust. In fact, I presented to them (including a SSA SUPERVISOR) the entire (original) notarized trust documents for SSA to review. The supervisor handed back to me the TRUST documents without even giving it a cursory glance. She stated that notarized financial DPOA documents, even for a trustee, are "INVALID" . . . and that I needed to hire an attorney to represent ME in probate court . . . that without a declaration of "conservatorship" from a probate judge, I was NOT authorized to file an application, on behalf of the wife, for her SSA survivor benefits! Yes, SSA completely REJECTED the ENTIRE LIVING TRUST documents, including the part that is notarized, that declares me a TRUSTEE! (Surprised? I sure as hell was!!) No hard evidence (proving probable cause / fraud) was even necessary to invalidate the trust!!Law (its legal language) is an absolute obfuscatory enterprise, filled with legal IEDs (slick shyster tricks), where lawyers & judges can place you in bankruptcy with the stroke of a pen (licensed to steal). . . that is if you are stupid enough to give them a chance! Distrust of the "law" is why I think I'm personally liable to pay for the appointment of a conservator."Greedy gangsters" gave up their guns long ago, because they learned that a law degree works much better!
Wayne :(
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.
Sorry that you've had such bad experience with lawyers. You should try one of the lawyer listing services: Martindale or Find Law where lawyers are listed and also checked out. Filing for conservator can't possibly put you in bankruptcy, but acting without good legal advice under certain circumstances certainly can.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Irwin, thanks again for your reply! I appreciate your input! However, I was disappointed (not really surprised) that you failed to comment on the fact that the SSA CAN INVALIDATE notarized Living Trust documents ( i.e., the Trustees) without any evidence of "probable cause" (fraud).You wrote (1st email reply): "And just getting the appointment of a conservator shouldn't cost more than $1,500."$1500 . . . What's that supposed to mean? Everyone's affordable loose change? Yeah, right! (LOL)In 2013, the husband hired an estate planning attorney, who charged him $2500, to draw up a Living Trust, thinking (sucker) it will keep their estate out of probate!. The lawyer obviously did NOT inform him (legal caveat) that Living Trusts do NOT cover the settler's US Federal benefits / assets! (Surprise!!! Your trustees will need about $1500 or more to gain legal 'conservatorship' over your US Federal benefits / assets from a probate court! . . .BS, this is what I call a legalized I.E.D. = a form of "bait & switch!")After the husband died, I went to the California DMV with my Living Trust documents in order to re-register the husband's car (in the family trust's name) as "non-operative" (pending future sale!). The DMV gave me papers to fill out, and charged the estate $19 (less than 2 hours of work for me & the DMV). I did NOT get any legal BS about having to hire an attorney to represent me in probate court (i.e.,starting at $1500, with NO guarantees!) In this case, fortunately, the Trust did what it was legally supposed to do!You wrote: "You should try one of the lawyer listing services:" [. . . i.e., eenie, meanie, miney, moe!]No, Irwin, this is as far as I go! No more 'Russian Roulette'! It's been my opinion for over 40 years: 90% of the legal profession are parasitic cockroaches! Legal ethics is the penultimate oxymoron!! Organized crime found a heavenly home in 'LAW!"So, unfortunately, I am back to my initial unanswered question to you: What LEGAL BASIS [hello!] does the U.S. Social Security Administration / Medicare have to INVALIDATE trustees of a NOTARIZED Living Trust WITHOUT ANY PROOF of there being fraud (hard evidence / probable cause)??If your professional answer is going to be the usual obfuscatory legal talk : "according to Section Code XYZ, Article###-##-#### *****###-##-#### . . . (or in other words = it's legal because it's legal)," then why aren't people, who are enticed (i.e., confused & tricked by shysters) into spending thousands $$$$$$$ for their Living Trusts, WARNED, in advance, that their trustees will STILL have to spend additional thousands $$$$$ to go to probate court, regardless!!Fair question!
Wayne :-(
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I gave the SSA the OFFICIAL death certificate of the husband, documenting his death! I also gave them a copy of the husband's OFFICIAL autopsy report, further evidence proving his death! In addition, I gave SSA a completed SSA-787 form (one of SSA's own forms: Physician's Statement) filled out by the wife's Primary Care Physician documenting the wife's senile dementia and incapacity to manage her financial affairs! I also submitted a copy of the wife's discharge report from UCLA Medical Center which also confirmed her dementia.I gave SSA my California Drivers License, birthdate, Social Security card, all PROVING my identity! I gave them the original (not a copy) of the NOTARIZED Living Trust which identified me as the TRUSTEE of the settler's estate!I only showed SSA OFFICIAL documents -- legally submittable in any court of law!!BOT***** *****NE: NAME THE LEGAL STATUTE (HELLO!) that gives the SSA / Medicare the unconditional "right" to bar me from executing my obligations, as a proven legitimate TRUSTEE of the settler's estate, WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE of fraud (probable cause) on their (SSA's) part ???????????Sorry, also a FAIR question!
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.
Wayne: I am out of ideas. Perhaps someone else will be able to assist you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Irwin, I submitted a very FAIR question, and your answer is: "... I am out of ideas."
Excuse me, but did I mistake you for being an "Estate Lawyer" who might help change my derogatory opinion of attorneys?What's the problem??Is it LEGAL for the SSA / Medicare agencies to unconditionally ignore / invalidate California's Living Trust laws?OR -- is it ILLEGAL for the SSA / Medicare agencies to unconditionally ignore / invalidate California's Living Trust laws?Do I have legal grounds to CRIMINALLY charge SSA / Medicare agencies for breaking the estate / trust laws of California by deliberately interfering with a Trustee's obligation (legal right) to assist a mentally incapacitated, surviving co-settler??Why your legal 'cop-out'??? Why can't you address this issue, like an estate lawyer?? Impress me!!!Wayne
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.
I am not in CA, but I now recall that CA has a handy set of forms for most probate proceedings. Here is the Petition for appointment of a Conservator. Here is a form of Order. You should be able to get this done pro se. Also, there is no such thing as legal or illegal when dealing with SSA regulations, so a discussion along those lines is meaningless.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Mr Law:
I am NOT going to any probate court to apply (pro se) or fight over SSA benefits, PERIOD! It's just not going to happen! Most Probate Courts are veritable dens (fraternity) of conniving parasitic cockroaches, (untouchables) programmed and licensed (drooling & waiting) to steal, especially if the court finds out an estate is ('flagged') in the millions of dollars!!!!!
However, AS TRUSTEE, I know, that I am legally obligated to manage ONLY the benefits and assets (terms & stipulations) that are SPECIFICALLY LISTED in the notarized Living Trust documents! That is the legal DOMAIN of my responsibility to the trust settlers!!
If the settler(s) have benefits or assets that are OUTSIDE the Living Trust (e.g., SSA benefits), then it is NOT my legal responsibility to manage, or to try to fight for them!!! If the settlers and their estate planning attorney FAILED (apparently) to arrange for an executor / conservator to manage their SSA benefits / assets in advance, the surviving wife is pure out of luck and will lose (rightfully) her SSA survivor benefits! And IT'S NOT MY FAULT OR ERROR!!! WHY? Living Trusts . . . CAVEAT EMPTOR!!What I am at fault with is thinking (stupidly) that a legal internet site (justanswer) is going to give me any helpful information besides (the bot***** *****ne): "get a lawyer (pick a name off a list) and go to court!" DUH! Rocket science? That's a lawyers' instinctual mantra (their bread and butter)!!"PRO SE" (LOL) is what I call just another legal IED (improvised explosive device), a slick lawyers' trick, meant to lure innocent victims over a POTENTIAL fiduciary sink hole!! NICE TRY though, Mr Law! [Proverb: When your swimming through muddy waters, keep your mouth shut and ignore the bait!]I leave knowing that you (Mr Law) sincerely ***** ***** regulations are legally ABOVE all estate laws! Okay! Point taken!Mr Law THANK YOU for your effort and patience, but unfortunately your legal advice is highly predictable and meaningless to me!! There's no need for you to reply! Discussion over!BYE! :-(
2 thumbs down!!
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.

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