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Scott C. Stockwell

Scott C. Stockwell

Ad Astra Legal LC Law Office
  • Business Law, Estate Planning, Probate...
  • Kansas
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Scott C. Stockwell has a general practice of law with a focus in estate planning, probate, business law serving the Lawrence, Kansas and Douglas County, Kansas area as well as the surrounding counties of Jefferson, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson, Franklin, Osage, and Shawnee. Scott is a 1984 J.D. graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, Kansas, a 2015 M.B.A. graduate of the W. P. Carey School of Business in Tempe, Arizona and a 1981 B.A. graduate of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

Practice Areas
  • Business Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Real Estate Law
  • Elder Law
Additional Practice Areas
  • General Civil
  • Probate Law
  • Wills and Trusts
  • Free Consultation
    A free consultation for estate planning and probate clients.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • German: Spoken
Professional Experience
Scott C. Stockwell, Attorney at Law
- Current
Private Legal Practice in Lawrence, Kansas
Director, Utilities Division
Kansas Corporation Commission
Assistant to Commissioner Keith R. Henley
Kansas Corporation Commission
Arizona State University
MBA / Information Management, Marketing, and International Business (2015)
International Study in France and Spain
University of Kansas School of Law
J.D. / Law
Activities: Law Clerk Johnson County District Court; Traffic Court Attorney; Chief Judge of the Traffic Court
Kansas State University
B.A. / Political Science, Pre-Law
Professional Associations
Douglas County Estate Planning Council
- Current
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
19 Questions Answered

Q. We are selling our home in Kansas to buyers being assisted by a relocation company. They had the inspection done on
A: A typical residential real estate transaction in Kansas is structured to provide an limited time for an opportunity for an inspection to be conducted after the agreement is signed. Typically, there is also a procedure that allows the buyer to request repairs to address issues found. The seller may agree to the requested repairs, in which case the agreement becomes fully binding. If the seller refuses to make all of the requested repairs and the buyer and seller cannot reach a compromise, then the transaction unwinds. The essential concept is that, with further information, the buyer either does not want to accept the property before potential problems are fully repaired or the necessary repairs impair the value of the property so much that the original price is not acceptable. The seller and buyer may or may not have leverage based upon the how tight the market might be. Some buyers will look at the possible repairs and not want to ask for them to be done and risk the seller saying no and walking away. In this instance, the relocation company may be simply acting like a sales manager at a car dealership. It may simply be a negotiating tactic to extract the most possible from the seller. The exact details depend upon the terms of the agreement. You should consult with an attorney to review the specific sales documents in this situation and determine whether the buyer can make a take it or leave it demand at this point in time. Your attorney would want to look at the terms of the agreement to see whether the inspections were called for in the agreement and whether the time constraints in the agrement were met.
Q. I own a small share of KS office building. I retired & what my share of the value. What can I do with no agreement?
A: If you directly own an interest in the building (your name is on the deed), there is a process called partition in which you file a lawsuit asking the judge to “partition” the property. If it is not possible to “partition” the property into seaprate, discrete parts, as would likely be the case with an office building, then the judge can order an appraisal of the property and the property is offered to the parties for the value determined. If no one wanted to purchase the building for that value, it would go to a sheriff’s sales at which the property would need to bring at least a minimum value (two-thirds of the valuation). Of course the parties may agree to some other arrangement and bring the case to a close. If you are a shareholder or member of a corporation or LLC that owns the property, the options are more limited. The controlling interests have fairly broad discretion, in absence of some provisions in the articles of incorporation or bylaws (corporation) or articles of organization and operating agreement (limited liability company). It would be best to consult with an attorney to review the organizational documents and how the company is being operated and governed to see if there is a possibility to force some action.
Q. If property is deeded in my husband's name, will that ownership pass to me upon his death?
A: There are two parts to the question. The first being the nature of the interest that was transferred to your husband. If your husband holds his interest as a tenant in common, then his interest in the property would pass subject to his will if one exists, or the laws of intestacy, subject to your rights as a spouse. If your husband is a joint tenant with right of survivorship, then his interest in the property would lapse at his death, and the surviving of the siblings would be the sole owners of the interest in the property. The second part of the question relates to who would receive your husband's interest in the property, if he holds the property as a tenant in common. If your husband has a valid will naming you as the sole beneficiary of the estate, the tenants in common interest would pass to you. If your husband had a will naming someone else, such as children, as the beneficiaries, or had no will at all, his estate would pass to those beneficiaries or heirs at law, subject to your claim of spousal rights. If the property is held in joint tenancy, your husband could take actions to sever the joint tenancy, if one exists. In either case, your husband could petition a court to partition the property, which would compel the sale of the property and the division of the net proceeds among the named owners of the property. You should consult with an attorney about the specific circumstances. You should obtain a copy of the deed or probate order that assigned the interest to share with the attorney with whom you consult.
Q. My 4 children's father recently passed away. His current wife says their is no will but he showed it to me beforehand.
A: If you or your children know who the attorney was that drafted the will, you could reach out to that attorney and ask for the original or a copy. If the original is not found, one of your children could ask the court to probate the lost will, if its contents are known. There is a presumption that a lost will was revoked or destroyed by the decedent intentionally, but that presumption may be overcome by affirmative evidence to the contrary. In Kansas, the heirs at law are the children of the decedent. The spouse may be entitled to a share of the estate, that varies to some extent based upon the number of years of marriage and several other factors. If the house or other real estate was owned by the decedent and his spouse as joint tenants with right of survivorship, she may be the sole person with an interest in the real property. Other assets may pass directly to named beneficiaries based upon transfer on death designations. If your children believe there are assets of their deceased father that require probate, they may file a petition to probate the estate and have an administrator appointed. The administrator would have the authority to demand access to assets that are the decedent's sole property including, if it exists, an original will. Your children need to consult with an attorney at the earliest possible time. The best course of action depends upon the specific facts of the situation that the attorney and the children will need to identify. The details of the situation may call for a specific course of action that is time-dependent.
Q. If my parents deed a house to me, I cash out refinance to pay them, do we pay gift taxes or they pay Cap. Gains Tax?
A: If your parents transfer the house to you, you take out a loan and pay to them a part of the fair market value of the property, the difference between the fair market value and your payment is a "gift." Your parents' gift does not create a taxable event for you. Your parents may have to file an informational gift tax return, depending upon the amount of the gift. If the amount of the gift a parent makes to a child is less than the annual exclusion ($14,000 for 2017), no informational gift tax return is required. Each parent may make a $14,000 gift to you for the calendar year, so a total of $28,000 could be transferred to you by your parents without a gift tax return. If your parents made a gift to you and your spouse, a total of $56,000 could be transferred to you and your spouse without a gift tax return being required (if the paperwork is properly drafted). If the amount given is more than $14,000 per individual-individual gift, then a gift tax return needs to be filed. Each of your parents may make gifts in excess of the annual exclusion during their lifetime and at death in a combined total amount of $5.49 million (as of 2017). So, in summary, each of your parents must report to the IRS each year they make gifts to individuals in excess of $14,000 (adjusted annually by law). If the total of the gifts they have reported and the amount distributed in their estate totals less than $5.49 million (as of 2017, adjusted annually by law), there will be no unified gift and estate tax owing. You and your parents should have the assistance of an attorney and an accountant to ensure the transaction is handled and reported correctly.
Q. how can i find out about my dads estate
A: My condolences for your loss. If a probate case has been filed, the Clerk of the District Court in the county in which he resided can provide the file contents to you. As an heir at law, you should have received notice of any probate estate that has been filed in the district court. If there is a will, the person in possession of the will has an obligation to file the will with the court within six months of the date of death (and you should receive notice of that filing as well). As an heir at law, you may file your own petition to probate your father's estate. The person appointed as administrator would have the power to collect up the assets your father had. Your father may not have significant assets that would be subject to probate. If there were a transfer on death designation on a deed or accounts or beneficiary designations on brokerage or insurance accounts, those assets could transfer directly, outside of the jurisdiction of the probate court. If there was a revocable living trust, the trust could hold assets that are to be distributed directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust. You should seek the advice of an attorney to plan a specific course of action based upon your father's personal circumstances.
Q. I need help on how to get my mother'ss property.
A: You describe a situation in which you believe "fraud" may have occurred and that possibly a person who acted in a fiduciary capacity may have taken advantage of your mother who was in a diminished capacity. As an heir at law of your mother, you have an interest in her estate and may file a petition to probate her estate. If no will exists, your mother's estate would pass under the laws of intestacy and would pass to you and any siblings you may have, or to the heirs at law of any predeceased siblings. If a will exists, the person who has possession of the will has six months from the date of death to come forward with the will and file it with the court. When an administrator is appointed, that person will have the power to demand that your step-sister provide an accounting of all activities she performed as a durable power of attorney for your mother. The administrator would also have the power to obtain records to try to piece together what happened with your mother's assets. If transfers took place while your mother had diminished capacity that improperly benefitted someone besides the proper beneficiaries of the estate, there may be procedures to seek to have such transfers declared void and of no effect. You are currently working with limited information. With the assistance of an attorney, you could begin proceedings to get answers to questions about the estate and ensure the assets are properly distributed.
Q. Can I file a petition to get one of the properties involved if the administrator neglected to pay taxes for 4 yrs
A: You describe an estate in which the administrator has (a) failed to pay taxes and caused a property to be at risk for loss; (b) converted estate property for personal use; (c) lost another property to repossession due to unpaid obligations; and (d) failed to conclude an estate in a four-year period. You should immediately consult with an attorney about possibly filing a petition to either remove the administrator and substitute someone else as a new administrator; or have a special administrator appointed to deal with those responsibilities the existing administrator has failed to address. The administrator had a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the assets and not use them for his or her own purposes. The court could compel the administrator to pay back into the estate the assets wrongfully spent or lost due to the administrator's inaction. If there is a bond, the bonding company may be held responsible for the assets misappropriated or lost due to inaction. You and your attorney may also want to demand that the administrator not be paid for services rendered or receive anything as a beneficiary of the estate until all other beneficiaries are made whole for the administrator's mistakes. You should act quickly to retain counsel to protect your interests.
Q. i just found out my home has been sold for unpaid taxes, and i didnt know anything about it what can i do?
A: The initial sale of the house is to the county for the back taxes. There is a period of time in which the owner of the property may redeem the property. You should contact an attorney immediately to determine (a) when the sale took place; (b) the exact period of redemption you have; (c) the procedure for paying the amount owing for the judgment, interest and costs; and (d) the procedure for making that payment before the period of redemption passes. The period of time could be one to three years from the date of the initial sale, depending upon the circumstances. There is not enough information in your question to be sure as to the exact circumstances. You should contact an attorney immediately.
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1201 Wakarusa DR
Suite E-222
Lawrence, KS 66049
Telephone: (785) 842-1359
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