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Questions Answered by Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Is Freewill a reputable service for a straight-forward will and trust? I only have one beneficiary.

No children or living parents. Sibling is beneficiary, niece if sibling dies before me. Only assets in the trust will be my share of a home and personal financial assets.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Dec 5, 2022

Nothing beats an attorney giving you personal service tailored to your needs, because mistakes are very expensive in this field. BUT, yes, FreeWill is reputable and honest.

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2 Answers | Asked in Domestic Violence, Elder Law and Family Law for California on
Q: My 65 year old retired mother is being physically, mentally and financially abused by her 49 year old husband.

She is on a fixed income and recently refinanced the home because he demanded she pay him back for the down payment which was over 20 yrs ago. She has been the only one paying mortage, utilities. Hes been there freeloading. Now hes demanding she leave, its his house. Shes not allowed to eat his... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Aug 17, 2022

It is past time to go to the court and ask for a restraining order. Your local courthouse will have a free clinic that can advise mom on how to do it, they will prepare the papers and point he in the right direction. Financial abuse, violence or the threat of violence and isolating from family... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I have Living revocable trust. Can I legally/ethically amend beneficiaries myself without hiring attorney?

This would involve removing one who has died, adding names and changing % distribution; other text would be copied remaining as is.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Aug 1, 2022

Yes, but be VERY careful.

Some trusts are very complex and some aren't. The trick is to make sure that you only change what you want, without effecting any other part.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: For health reasons, a father wants to transfer full ownership to an adult son and daughter effective immediately.

There is a 2nd adult daughter that he is excluding. How can he do this? Will a quit claim deed suffice? I believe the house is free and clear. Hispanic family but full citizenship. Please advise me what to tell him or where I can send him for legal advice. He is definitely low income.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Jan 8, 2022

Don’t gift away large assets!

This is all about your tax basis in the asset. The tax basis is the amount the IRS uses to figure out your profit when you sell, so they can tax the profit. Usually, this amount is the purchase price.

If you give someone an asset, you also give...
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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: If a home is left to me would I still have to go through probate if the owner had put me on the deed? Thank you,
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Dec 26, 2021

That depends on how the deed is worded. If it lists you as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship then you are now the full owner and skip Probate, but you need to file an affidavit with the county clerk and show them the death certificate to get the house recorded in your name alone.... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: If my mom died and in her will left me the house how do go about legally getting the deed and house

Clearlake not San Lorendro

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Dec 15, 2021

If she left it in a Will then you have to go through the Probate Court and get the court to order the new deed.

If she used a Trust then you could skip that step.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I live in Calif. My husband and I arre jopmt tennants on a deed. He passed away, Am I his successor or do I need probat

The value of the property is under 300 K.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Dec 2, 2021

You bypass Probate. But you need to file an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant with the County Clerk. The clerk's web site will have the form.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Jack and Jill transfer property to Jack and jill as trustees and then again as individuals to Trustees of later Trust

Jack and Jill transfer property to Jack and Jill has Trustees of 2005 trust later jack-and-jill transfer to Jack and Jill as Trustees of 2010 Trust which trust is the property in is any corrective action necessary where would the hang-up be at the title company the recorder the Assessor and does... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Oct 15, 2021

It sounds like only the first deed is valid. Jack & Jill were not the owners as individuals at the time of the second execution, that is, if the second transfer was as individuals as you imply.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My brother recently died, him and his wife have been separated for about a year now, is she entitled to everything?

There is no will. She started the divorce paperwork but didn't finalize anything. Is she entitled to everything. My brother does have a daughter.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Sep 23, 2021

Probably she gets everything if there is no divorce and no Will or Trust that says differently.

If they are divorced then she gets nothing.

If they have children then they get a share.

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Elder Law for California on
Q: How do I get Power of Attorney over my mother's finances?

She is unable to pay her bills and refuses any type of help or to go to the doctor. I fear for her safety. Wellness checks from the Department of Public Safety in La Mirada have resulted in reports that state that she should not be alone. Home visits from SASSFA have stated that she is confused... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Jun 22, 2021

She can grant you Power of Attorney if she has the capacity to.

It sounds like it might be too late for her to sign anything. In that case you have to get the court to grant you a conservatorship. It will require a form from her doctor plus a pile of papers, and an investigator will...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Is it better to choose an estate lawyer who is located in or near the county where parent died?

...because they know how things work in that county, they know county staff if document issues arise, and their travel fees will be lower?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on May 9, 2021

Do you mean to do the Probate, or to do the planning?

For Probate, then yes local will be best.

For estate planning, find someone you are comfortable with. Location won't matter.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Social Security for California on
Q: Mom is 78 and rec'v monthly Survivors Benefits from SS. She is a beneficiary for an IRA/401K. Will she lose her SS?

Her brother died, he was 75 and had no dependents. Mom is the next of Kin. She receives her deceased spouses SS Retirement benefits that started when she retired at 62. She was left to take care/close out his banking and found out he had a 401K and an IRA. She is a beneficiary on one and had to... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Apr 14, 2021

If she is receiving SSI then sudden money will kick her off, probably. If she is getting regular SS then that won't stop, but it may make some of it taxable.

The Special Needs Trust would have to be a Pooled Trust because of her age. A charity runs it and decides how to spend the...
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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Should my partner and I purchase our home as a joint tenancy or TIC? We are unmarried; He has kids from prior marriage.

We both want to be able to remain in the home, make improvements, or sell if the other passes away. He wants to ensure his children to receive his share of the proceeds if the house is sold after his death. We may get married and have more children in the future. What is the best ownership... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Apr 12, 2021

TIC, or put it in a Trust.

Joint tenancy would mean that when A dies, B gets it all. B may not remember or want to give assets to the children of A. B might just meet a new person after the funeral and forget A completely! It happens, and poor A's kids get left out in the cold....
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Hi...I live in California (LA County). My wife was the sole beneficiary on her older brother's 401k account.

Her brother died of Covid on January 19th. My wife then died of Covid 4 days later. What happens to the 401k account? Her brother had a daughter, but she wasn't listed as a beneficiary. Does the 401k pass to the daughter, or does it go to my wife's estate?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Mar 29, 2021

It should go to your wife's estate.

A Will or a Trust normally has provisions regarding this sort of situation, but unless the 401K administrator had the brother sign something unusual, then the money would still go to the estate of your wife. But check with the administrator.

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2 Answers | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: Mom with Alzheimer in assisted living. I'm trustee of the trust. Sister needs to be appointed Guardian of medical.

In california, can my sister be appointed just guardian of living/medical conditions? Mom definitely cannot be at her home.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Mar 13, 2021

In California you need to have your sister appointed Conservatorship. There are two ways to do it: of the Person and of the Estate. The Person is way easier and will take care of all you say you need.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I'm in Calif. and I'm doing a Revocable Living Trust. My grown kids are Trustees. Do they have to sign this doc?

I'm confused about how many people need to be in front of my Notary Public. My wife and I as "Grantors" - OK .

My grown kids ??? Both of them are named in the document as Successor Trustees or just trustees. Please specify if all of need to be present in front of the Notary during the signing.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Mar 2, 2021

Grantors and Trustees.

Nobody else gets a say in the matter.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: California - my mother plans to leave me her house (paid-off) when she dies, what taxes will I need to pay when I sell?

She's setting up her estate planning with a lawyer in Nevada where she lives.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Feb 26, 2021

None. Ish.

When she passes the house to you, it gives you a stepped up basis with regard to capital gains taxes. Her tax basis was what she paid but yours will be what the value was when she died (good for you financially). So you will only be taxed on any gain from the date of her...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: Can I gift shares to my daughter for estate planning?

I just started a company (a Delaware C-corp). It is worth basically nothing at this point since it just got started. There are no investors so far, so I own most of the shares in the form of restricted stock that has been early-exercised. The shares will be vested over 4 years.

I have a... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Feb 9, 2021

One solution I have seen is to issue her non-voting shares. These will have 40% less value than a regular voting share because they have no control. That would allow you to give them to her at $25,000 per year without filing a gift tax return.

5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: In the state of California, if the decedent has 6 surviving children and no will, how is the exe or admi determined?

6 children, no will. Does oldest child automatically become administrator of any estate? If yes and other children wish to contest that appointment, is that possible?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
answered on Feb 1, 2021

Being the oldest doesn't help. Someone petitions the Probate Court to be the administrator. If the siblings object then the judge will yell at them to find a solution they can agree on, like even a professional service.

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