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Questions Answered by Shawna Murray
3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Once someone dies who starts the process of the will?

My single Dad passed away in June leaving 3 offspring in our 50's. My brother moved in with Dad several years ago due to no home

For last 3 years Dad needed care provided primarily by brother. Sister/me assisted 2 days/wk. After Dad died, bro claims Dad left all to him, discontinued... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 22, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. If there was a will, it should have been lodged with the court in the county where your father resided. The law says it must be lodged within 30 days after the death. If it was lodged, you can then view at the court. Of course, there might not be a will and perhaps your... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Brother lived/died in Ca. Had bank accts in Ca<$166k & NJ about $90K +small IRA. Is small estate w/o admin only needed?

I am only sibling, he was never married/no children. Our parents died. No will. Will I qualify for Small Estate in Ca? Will NJ honor determination? Or will I need administration? Get it here or there? Do I have to travel to NJ?

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 21, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. It can be difficult to figure out on your own whether you can use a simplified informal process to transfer property. Getting a personal consultation with a California lawyer is recommended after the death of a loved one. The California assets of residents who died with... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for California on
Q: How do I request my original file from my CA atty?

I have not hired a new atty. Can they charge me for my file?

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 19, 2020

Just call the office and ask for the file. Then it could be useful to follow up with email request. If you can pick it up in person, you should not be charged for the original file.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for California on
Q: Child custody/support and relocation

My job is relocating me out of California and my ex wants to move to the same state so the kids don't have to travel for visitation. We have joint custody. Is the child custody and support order issued originally in California still in effect if both parents no longer live there? Would an... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 18, 2020

Yes, the child custody agreement is still in effect even if you both move out of California. You can and probably should register the California child custody agreement in the new state's court system. I recommend that you consult with an attorney in the state where you have relocated to get... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: im in CA, are there any exceptions to paying inheritance taxes??
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 18, 2020

The State of California does not have inheritance taxes. The federal estate tax applies when you inherit more than $11,580,000 in 2020. Should the property that you are inheriting be located in another state, you may have to pay that state's tax. You should ask an attorney in that state about... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for California on
Q: I am the custodial parent. And have 60/40 custody of our son who is 7- my ex did not drop him off saturday 10amstillgone

I am bipolar and have cried in front of my son a couple times and diagnosed epilepsy last year. Can he take. My son away ? He stated he will not bring my son back if my current bf is there. He is slated to go to rehab next week - bf Dow's not live w me nor is he violent. Is this legal?

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 17, 2020

I am sorry this is happening to you. If you have a court order for child custody, then the father must give your child back to you during your court-ordered custodial time. He cannot just keep your child during your time unless you agreed to it. You should consult with a local family law attorney... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for California on
Q: Can I stop spouses support after I retire or right before. It was a long term marriage

Married for 24 years, divorced in 2001. Can I go back to court and have the spousal support dropped. Because I'm going on social security soon income is going to change. My income is going to be a lot lower.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 16, 2020

When your income drops due to a change in circumstances, such as you describe, then yes, the court will likely reduce or eliminate spousal support. Shortly before you retire and start collecting social security instead of getting your usual pay check, then you should file a Request for Order to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for California on
Q: Can I list my husbands tools that he bought during our 24 year marriage and that he uses for work and for personal use?
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 15, 2020

By "list them," do you mean including them on Form FL-142, Schedule of Assets and Debts? Yes, list them as community property.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce and Family Law for California on
Q: Can a divorce attorney be hired only to represent you at a MSC
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 10, 2020

Yes, you can hire an attorney to represent you for just one hearing. It is called "limited representation." You can Google that term and/or "unbundled attorney" to find lawyers who do this.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for California on
Q: Re CA FL 3910-Unlike the Drake case, my adult son lives with me full-time. Can I have support payments made to me?

My adult old son is incapacitated from earning a living, and without sufficient means. His disabilities pre-dated his age of majority and are well documented. Unlike the Drake case, my son has always lived with me full-time. Can I expect that CA FL 3910 support payments are made to me? Is there... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 10, 2020

The success of obtaining a court order for support of an incapacitated adult child will be determined your evidence. When seeking a support order, one must present evidence of the child’s inability “to be self-supporting because of a mental or physical disability or…inability to find work... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: How do I get my name off the loan after ex files the quick claim deed?

My ex husband filed our quick claim deed a few months before passing. But my name is still on the loan and getting effectived with my credit. We also split our assists during the divorce.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 9, 2020

Have you tried contacting the bank? They may have a solution for you... It is more likely that your ex-spouse will need to refinance the loan in order for you to get your name off.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce and Family Law for California on
Q: I have a question about spousal support and child custody.

Married 18 years, with three girls age 17, 15 and 10. I net $8000 per month, have worked as a civil servant in the U.S. defense industry for almost 40 years. My wife works part time but started that years ago when our girls were small. No need anymore since they are older. She still refuses to go... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 1, 2020

It sounds like the initial ask is for temporary spousal support, which is often calculated by inputting the couple's income into one of two computer programs called "Dissomater" or "Xspouse." Most attorney's pay for a license to use this program and can give you a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for California on
Q: My daughter passed away on july 18 she had a 21 month old daughter her her husband and the baby have been living with me

its complicated but my son in law and I do not get along I told him yesterday he needed to go look for a place to live that he could leave Addy with me until he found a place he also is on the spectrum of aspergers he said if He goes so does Addy and you will never see her again

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 29, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. In California, grandparents may get visitation rights in a situation like you describe. The laws around grandparent’s rights are convoluted so I recommend that you consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I have high risk Leukemia. How can I ensure that my kids stay w/ my partner if I pass? I have full legal/physical.

Their father has felonies, drug addiction, multiple prison sentences, has not been a part of their lives in over 5yrs.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 29, 2020

I am sorry that your are in this predicament. Unfortunately, your children’s other parent would be first in line to get custody. Your should consult with attorneys about adoption and estate planning. If partner would consider adopting the children then the biological father would be out of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for California on
Q: So I’m getting kicked out from my moms house and I have the choice to go with my dad but there isn’t no rooms availa

So I’m getting kicked out from my moms house and I have the choice to go with my dad but there isn’t no rooms available but my friend did offer me a place to stay until my dad fixes the room since he rents them but my moms is saying I can’t do that and she will call me as a run away and I’m... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 26, 2020

While you didn't mention your age but it sounds like you might be a minor. Parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children until 18. You may want to go to or to call your school tomorrow and speak them about what is happening. They see these types of situations regularly and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for California on
Q: What forms need to be filed when a biological father needs to claim paternity of biological child?

Biological mother of child is married to a different man.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 22, 2020

Start with these California Judicial Council Forms: Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (FL-200), Summons (Uniform Parentage — Petition for Custody and Support) (FL-210), and Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (FL-105). You will need to file... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Adoption, Child Custody and Family Law for Idaho on
Q: nephew was just born taken into Idaho custody both parents are users. They now want to sign there rights to me can they?

I live in California and this is happening in Idaho. I know different states different laws. But she's been a drug user the entire pregnancy. My brother isn't no better and actually called CPS himself on her and has made reports and so have I. Well i was contacted by a case workwr... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 22, 2020

I recommend that you post your question in the Idaho forum since that is where the child is located. I wish you and the child the best of luck!

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: How can I legally hold ex wife accountable to Settlement agreement if I sign grant deed?

Im going through a divorce and my ex wife is refinancing the house to her name only and I am to receive my VA certificate back as well as $55k from the equity per our agreement. Ive just been contacted by her loan officer stating that all documents have been signed by her and in order to complete... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 21, 2020

If you have a final judgment signed by the court with those terms, then your settlement agreement has become a court order. She can be held in contempt of court if she fails to complete her side of the deal. Just to be sure if you have a court order to enforce your settlement, you should contact an... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for California on
Q: Visitation

Good day, I live in Ohio and my son is in California, I pay child support while he lives with his Aunt not his mother. He wants to come out and visit and I'm arranging this with the Aunt who says the mother says it's OK. Is a verbal agreement or the conversation through txt enough for... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 15, 2020

It would be wise to get written consent from your child’s mother. Not knowing what your child custody agreement says, it is safer to assume that you must get her written consent on paper (not via text messages) to take your child out-of-state.

Because you mentioned Child Support, you...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for California on
Q: Is there a list of pro bono child custody family law attorneys in the Southetn California area?
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 15, 2020

You could try asking your local Legal Aid office if they can assist you or if they have a list. Possibly, the local county Bar Association could help point you in the right direction. If you have to represent yourself, the court should have a help desk that offers assistance with completing forms.

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