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Questions Answered by James Edward Berge

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: In santa cruz county how long does a conservator have to generate a final accounting following the death of the ward?

My half brother's mother died in November of 2018 and her financial conservator still has not ended her management of the ward's estate in any respect.

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 16, 2019

There is no hard and fast rule. A conservator must file his petition for approval of account when all the information required to be disclosed in the account has been obtained and summarized. A conservator may delay this petition until a probate has been opened in the name of the beneficiary of... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: My mom died and resided in California. She has an account in Ohio I need to close. Total assets 25,000. Probate?

California does not require probate but Ohio does. I'm in California and not sure how to proceed to close her account.

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 10, 2019

It’s not the law of the state where the account is located that matters. It’s the law of the state where your mom resided at the time of her death. She resided in California at the time of her death, so California law governs this situation. As John suggests, you should be able to collect... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: My mother passed and left me a will Incase my father did not carry out her wishes

My mother died with joint accounts with my father. I have the original and only will of hers that states that she leaves 100% of her assets in her bank accounts to me. I also have a letter that she instructed me to present to my father stating that the joint accounts were only joint for convenience... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 5, 2019

You're correct that joint tenancy implies the right of survivorship and to dispute the form of title requires clear and convincing evidence. You might have that evidence, but you'll need to prove it in court by a petition filed under CA Probate Code section 850. A bank will not release joint... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: California: In hoarder cleanup for deceased, only will we found was from 1988 that doesn't reflect current $1M+ assets.

I'm pro tem administrator with probate hearing in August. Home is fully paid for but damaged, furniture is trashed, but estate accounts worth about $1.2M. Decedent left one valuable item to a friend, but had a falling out & haven't spoken to that friend since at least 2013. Now only 2 surviving... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 3, 2019

It’s the job of the attorney for the executor to help the executor in carrying out his or her duties as executor. If you’re in doubt about what those duties are, re-read the Duties and Liabilities form you signed when became executor. It’s the job of the executor to carry out the terms of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: 1 SIBLING DIES WHILE INHERITANCE IS BEING DISTRIBUTED. WHERE DOES HIS PORTION GO? TO THE ONLY OTHER SIBLING? OR HIS KIDS

My father passed away and had settlement money coming in. He wrote a will stating that he left everything to me, including any monies from suits. My brother passed away while there is still money coming in. We were splitting the money 50/50 between us. Where does his portion go now? To me or do I... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 1, 2019

Since your father left everything to you through his Will, everything goes to you. It's up to you to decide whether or not to share it with your brother's children. If you haven't already done so, you should consider doing a Will for yourself.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: Inheritance Time Frame

My husband has a terminal illness in which he is expected to live 2-3 weeks, I called his only sister to inform the family (his sister and father)about his prognosis, only to be informed that my father in law had passed away in late April. My father in law and my sis in law are located in New... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 1, 2019

I completely agree with Jeff’s answer.

If your husband does not live long enough to collect his inheritance, a probate estate can be opened for your husband and an administrator appointed (presumably you) to collect his inheritance. Either you and/or your children will be entitled to...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: How do I get my mom's truck when both mother and stepfather have passed away and a friend of his has power of attorney

The truck was my moms registered in her name until after she passed when my stepdad said it goes to me when he buys new truck which he never did before he recently passed away. His friend is claiming he has power of attorney over his stuff even though most was my moms. He made me out to be the bad... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 28, 2019

First, if your mom was survived by a husband and a son, and died without a will, there is a good chance that her truck and personal belongings passed intestate to her husband and not you. But if her belongings were her separate property acquired before marriage or by gift, you might have some... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: judge set trust aside conservator said it was lost. i have the trust what do i do

the conservator isnt doing her job, she lies, harasses, threatens me and others. The court would not re ask my mom questions about if she wanted to keep the conservator and court appointed lawyer after it was known that my mom could not hear the questions because the headphones had got turned off... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 28, 2019

File a petition to set aside the judgment based on new facts or fraud or some other grounds assuming your petition is timely.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: Can I distribute estate assets before having signed order from judge? Petition approved to distribute at hearing

Petition for final distribution and waiver of accounting approved at hearing. Have submitted order for judge to sign. Have been advised I can distribute estate account now as it takes 6-8 weeks for signature. Is this true?

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 27, 2019

I would advise you to wait for the signed order. If the order does not reflect what you believe was approved at the court hearing, further actions may be necessary.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: See more information below

I'm looking into a shared living trust with my wife to cover property we own in California, and have a number of particular questions:

1 - in a revocable shared living trust, is it the law in California that after BOTH the original grantors die that the trust must become irrevocable? Is... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 26, 2019

Yes, in a traditional revocable living trust created by husband and wife, the trust would become irrevocable and non-amendable upon the death of one or both of them depending on how the trust is structured, not as a matter of law or convention, rather because the right to revoke and amend a trust... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on

Q: Can i be Admin/pttioner of Est & also file850 prbt code to quiet title? bcuz A home incld in estate is mine,not decedant

Is it ok to be Administrator of Estate if i have conflict with the decendant ownership to a property? This is whats going on....My uncle is the only living son and he figured this was an easy way to inherit something. By changing title to one of my properties into his mothers name who was dying.... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 16, 2019

In California, you can file a petition for the appointment of an independent administrator of the estate but you cannot be the administrator because you have a conflict of interest.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: How do you "quiet title" and why or what is this good for? -going thru probate in los angeles

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 14, 2019

To quiet title, you file a petition in the probate court to determine the true ownership of property and to remove title defects. The procedure is typically used when record title is incorrect and does not reflect the actual ownership of property. The statutory authority for the procedure can be... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on

Q: Property in probate can everyone sign their right to one person if they want nothing to do with the property?

My grandfather passed away now the property is in probate the court have assigned a administrator which is my aunt. If all the heirs decide they do not want any thing to do with the property and want to sign their rights to just one heirs is that possible? My mom is one of this heirs they want to... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 9, 2019

Yes. An Assignment is a way to voluntarily transfer your interest in an estate to someone else where you get to pick the name of the assignee. A qualified Disclaimer is another way to voluntarily get rid of your interest in an estate but you cannot pick the name of the transferee. When a... Read more »

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