LEGAL CORNER: My brother was declared dead, but is actually alive

VIDEO: LEGAL CORNER - My brother was declared dead, but is actually alive

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QUESTION: I am not Dead! My brother was declared dead nearly 20 years ago after he disappeared. His ex-wife asked a judge for the declaration after he went missing so that his daughters could receive Social Security benefits as well as the property he once owned and inherited. He had merely drifted for a number of years and was living on the streets. He wants a driver's license and needs a valid Social Security number.

ANSWER: If the person who is presumed to be dead or who has been declared dead reappears, he shall be entitled to recover his inheritance in the condition in which it is found from those who succeeded in his default and from their transferees by gratuitous title. He may also recover the net proceeds of things alienated and for the diminution of the value of things that has resulted from their encumbrance. (LCCA 59) He needs to make an appointment at your local Social Security office. Show up with lots of identification. You'll want to bring a photo ID, your birth certificate and your amended death certificate (if one exists). Once Social Security has verified your ID, the agency ought to be able to remedy the Social Security number problem.

QUESTION: Do I have to file for a divorce? I met this woman at the Casino in Vegas. We were both drinking and having a really good time. We saw a little chapel that stays open 24 hours and decided to just go in and get married. It was fun and funny until we both sobered up and realized what we had done. We live here in Louisiana. Can't I just have this marriage declared null and void?

ANSWER: A marriage is relatively null when the consent of one of the parties to marry is not freely given. Such a marriage may be declared null upon application of the party whose consent was not free. The marriage may not be declared null if that party confirmed the marriage after recovering his liberty or regaining his discernment. (LCCA 95). Once both parties "sobered up" and you realized what you had done, how much time lapsed before you decided to have the marriage annulled? If you continued to go on living as husband and wife, you may have to file for a divorce.

QUESTION: Unsolicited merchandise. There are a lot of packages being delivered this time of year. I received a package at my home. I did not order this. Am I obligated to pay for it?`

ANSWER: No you are not obligated to do so. RS 51:461 — Unsolicited merchandise; obligation of recipient (A). No person, firm, partnership, association or corporation shall offer for sale in any manner any goods, wares or merchandise if the offer includes the voluntary and unsolicited sending of such goods, wares or merchandise not ordered or requested by the recipient, either orally or in writing. All such goods, wares or merchandise shall be deemed to be an unconditional gift to the recipient, and he may use or dispose of such goods, wares or merchandise in any manner he sees fit without any obligation to the sender. (B). If the sender of such goods, wares or merchandise continues to send bill statements or requests for payment therefor, the recipient may institute proceedings to enjoin such action. In addition, the sender may be liable for reasonable attorney fees and the costs of court.

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC-TV.

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