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Questions Answered by Bill Sweeney
2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can I be the petitioner in my Grandmother to Mother's succession

Everyone has passed on in life but there is not a succession in place. All of my Grandparents kids which are my parents or uncles/aunts, can I be the petitioner in the succession.

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Mar 18, 2021

A more detailed answer to your question might be found at: https://probatestars.com/who-can-serve-as-a-personal-representative-in-california/

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: If I am named a beneficiary in a trust does the trustee have to provide me with a copy of the trust?

My dad died a couple years ago and I just found out he had a trust set up before he died that names me a beneficiary but my stepmom won't give me a copy or tell me anything about it. She has already sold off a lot of his things and I just discovered she sold their home and moved across the... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Mar 12, 2021

I agree with the other attorneys who commented. However, It may be possible that your father created a revocable joint trust with your stepmother that becomes irrevocable only on the stepmother's death. California Probate Code § 16061.7 allows certain persons to obtain a copy of a trust if... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Identity Theft and Probate for California on
Q: Family member passed away, discovered money was stolen courtesy of the bank. What can we do?

A family member recently passed away while settling affairs we found out a family member was stealing his money by forging checks. What legal recourse do we have based on financial exploitation? He was 64 and disabled and required assistance. The banks informed us of the questionable activity at... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Mar 3, 2021

Presumably, identify theft has occurred. If so, you might find the following web address helpful.

https://oag.ca.gov/idtheft/facts/victim-checklist

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3 Answers | Asked in Tax Law and Probate for California on
Q: Is the property sale of a deceased child considered an inheritance and if so does it exempt them from some or all taxes?

A family friends son passed away. They are in probate to sell his home and pay off his debts, they are the only heirs. They live in CA as is the home being sold.

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Feb 7, 2021

Generally speaking, inheritance is not subject to tax in California. Therefore, a beneficiary will not have to pay tax on his or her inheritance. However, there may be U.S. estate tax (for probate estate assets in excess $11.58 million dollars in 2020.) In that event, the estate tax is paid out of... Read more »

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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?

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Feb 1, 2021

The priority for the appointment of a personal representative is set forth in §§8461-8469 of the California Probate Code. You might find the answer there. Upon receiving a notice of administration, if an interested individual feels that the personal representative who is to be or has been... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: For California probate, is the decedent's home equity a separate asset from their interest towards their house?

For example, the decedent is a tenant in common with 2 other people, with 1/3 interest in the house. The house's gross market value is about $400,000, however only 1/3 of that counts towards their estate. So does their estate also include 1/3 of the equity as a separate asset in addition to... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Feb 1, 2021

In probate the "Fair Market Value" of real property is appraised by a probate referee. After 1/1/2020, if the total value of the estate (including the FMV of real property and tangible and intangible personal property) exceeds $166,250 formal probate will likely be required. The appraiser... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: What to do when Dad dies with no will in California. Homes listed as separate property.

My father left no will. One home was in a trust from my grandparents. His re married wife sold that home and got all the money. The two other homes are listed in my dads name and separate property. Do I need to hire an attorney to make sure I get my fair share in his estate? What do I need to do to... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Jan 22, 2021

You might find answers to all your questions at https://www.sweeneyprobatelaw.com/articles/what-happens-if-a-person-dies-without-a-will/

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Probate for grandfather closed. Found more assets. Can we get a small estate affidavit to claim assets of 50,000?
Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Dec 23, 2020

The final order for distribution of the estate may contain a provision that states that any later-found assets are to be distributed without requiring a further order from the court. That provision is common in final orders. If that is not the case you will likely need to seek assistance from the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My best friend of 13 years became I'll leaving a note that he has no other will leaving his interest in property to me.

Is that valid

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Dec 23, 2020

You may find your answer at https://www.sweeneyprobatelaw.com/articles/california-holographic-wills/.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: What are the rights of a possible heir who was raised as own from young age but deceased never tried to legally adopt?

My oldest brother was raised by our father as his own from the age of 4, but my father never tried to legally adopt him. He is now an adult and I am wondering what legal rights he has to the inheritance since my father died without a will? We live in California, and my oldest brother has stolen... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Dec 4, 2020

You might find an answer from this article: https://keystone-law.com/equitable-vs-statutory-adoption/

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Disabled husband admitted ICU, 7 weeks later revokes trust , new will executed 100% assets to daughters, now what?

Husband and I had a trust, he was receiving SSDI for impaired memory due to stroke. Our daughter was able to manipulate him and acquired POA medical and legal. after 7 weeks fighting pneumonia in hospital dies. The day after his death, I get a certified letter he had revoked our trust, and one... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Oct 16, 2020

I recommend you retain an attorney who can assist you in this contested matter.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: How do I go against a rejection of my creditor’s claim in California probate court?
Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Aug 1, 2020

If your claim was rejected by the personal representative, you may bring a civil action on the claim. To preserve you creditor rights, you must file suit within 90 days of the later of the date the notice of rejection is given or the date the claim became due. The procedure is summarized on the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mom left house equally to me & my sister. My sister died same day as mom. Do i get house or do her kids get half?

Mom has a will leaving both myself and my sister equally 50/50 her house. But my sister and mom both died on the same day. Do i inherit the entire house or is my sisters husband or kids entitled to half of the house? My aunt was assigned the executor of the will. The grandkids were left specific... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on May 2, 2020

We do not have enough information to determine who will inherit the house. For example, you mentioned that your mother and sister died on the same day. We would need to know which one survived the other. If survival cannot be determined, the probate code can provide the answer depending on the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Collections and Probate for California on
Q: Is the surviving spouse liable for the deceased spouse's credit card debt if only in the deceased's name?

If credit card debt was taken out by the deceased spouse in their name only and without the surviving spouse's knowledge, what rights does the surviving spouse have? Are they still liable for the debt? There is no will or estate.

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Apr 29, 2020

California is a community-property state. Therefore, property and debts acquired after the date of marriage and before the death of the spouse are community property and usually community debts. Creditors may be able to enforce and collect a community debt against your late husband’s estate or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Banking and Probate for California on
Q: I’m the trustee for a special needs trust the beneficiary is my sister inlaw

I am trustee my husband is co trustee of his mothers trust and each share one half the sisters half will be a 3 party SNT FOR 21 years she was not on ssi age 37, she suffered from depression and her mom was worried and wanted to make sure she would qualify for assistance. I am the executor /... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Apr 28, 2020

A California special needs trust that has been validly created avoids probate. Pursuant to the provisions of the special needs trust, a trustee has a fiduciary responsibility for the management of trust assets. A breach of that responsibility can create liability for the trustee. If the special... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: in California is it true that all assets get split equally between the beneficiaries without a will?

a parent recently passed away unexpectedly and they never got around to updating their pension, retirement accounts or will. The Will that we had was “dismissed” so that all of the children get equal shares however nothing was said about his pension which (because it was created so long ago)... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Feb 27, 2020

Generally, beneficiary designations become active immediately after death and the beneficiary automatically becomes the lawful owner, by operation of law.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Is the waiver of bond necessary when there is only 1 beneficiary?

I am the only living heir and there is no will. I have petitioned to administer estate.

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Feb 10, 2020

You should refer to the information contained on the applicable form: DE-142/DE-111(A-3e); Waiver of Bond by Heir or Beneficiary (Probate - Decedents Estates). The form can be found online.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Theirs an abandoned house for 2 years the lady died that's on the deed she had no kids no known family can I claim the

Taxes are paid until she died

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Feb 6, 2020

Please refer to https://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-adverse-possession-laws.html

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Father lived in Nevada with no assets to distribute in Nevada so probate was never opened, but he owned land in Arkansas

Can I open probate in Arkansas if it was never opened in Nevada? I have his Will which designates me as executor of all assets. The land is worth less than 25k

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Jan 24, 2020

I agree with Mr. Berge in that you should contact an attorney in Arkansas. If a small estate procedure is not available, since your father was not domiciled in Arkansas on the date of his death, you should inquire about the ancillary probate rules applicable to a non-domiciliary's ownership of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate, Banking and Identity Theft for California on
Q: How can i prove the probate administrator commited fraud for stealing 220k pod account by way of false court order ?
Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Jan 11, 2020

Owners of bank accounts can designate beneficiaries by adding a "payable-on-death" (POD) designation. At the death of the account holder the POD beneficiary can claim the money directly from the bank without probate court proceedings. Similarly, owners of investment accounts can designate... Read more »

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