Q: My father has been married to my mother-in-law for about 40 years. She recently told my sister and me that when Dad died she would leave all funeral costs to us. Can she do this? —DF
Answer: Not really. Mike Wells, a local attorney, explained how funeral costs are handled.
“Funeral expenses are paid out of estate assets as a debt of the estate if there are sufficient assets in the estate to pay them. If there are insufficient assets, the person contracting with the funeral home and signing the contract for those services is responsible.
“If the father’s will leaves anything to his wife, the funeral expenses would be paid first. If the father does not have a valid will when he dies, his wife would be entitled to a share of his net estate as his wife, according to the law, but she would receive nothing until the funeral expenses were paid.
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“If there are insufficient assets in the estate to pay the funeral expenses and no one is contractually responsible for those expenses, the debt to the funeral home would be unpaid unless someone voluntarily pays the funeral expenses.”
Q: For the past two weeks, sanitation workers have been picking up my neighbors trash but leaving mine behind. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I live in the Sherwood West area near Robinhood Road. —CP
Answer: If there’s a problem, sanitation workers should let you know, said Johnita Campbell, assistant director of sanitation for the city of Winston-Salem.
“Waste will not be collected if in violation. However, crews must leave a door tag with an explanation of the issue. Citizens should call City Link at 336-727-8000 or 311 to report violations,” Campbell said.
Q: Is it legal to park unlicensed vehicles on the street in the city of Winston-Salem? A road I drive on frequently has three cars without license plates parked on the street. The way two of them are parked makes it difficult to see on a hill. What can be done? —CK
Answer: If you are concerned about cars or vehicles that appear to be abandoned on city streets, call City Link at 336-727-8000 or 311 to report it and they will contact the city department that handles abandoned vehicles.
City of Winston-Salem Ordinance 42-341 defines abandoned and scrapped vehicles.
“Abandoned motor vehicle means a vehicle which:
“(1) Was left on a public road or highway in violation of any law or ordinance that regulates or prohibits parking, or that requires the display of a license plate or sticker valid registration; or
“(2) is left on property owned or operated by the City for more than 24 hours; Where
“(3) Is left on a public road or freeway for more than seven days or on US Highway 52, Interstate Highway 40, Interstate Highway 40, Peters Creek Parkway, Silas Creek Parkway; or US Highway 421 within corporate city limits, for more than 48 hours; Where
“(4) Is determined by law enforcement to be a hazard to motorists.
“Scrapped Motor Vehicle” means an abandoned motor vehicle which:
“(1) is partially dismantled or wrecked; Where
“(2) Cannot be self-propelled or moved the way it was originally intended to move; Where
“(3) is more than five years old and worth less than $500.00; Where
“(4) Does not display a current license plate.”
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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101