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Questions Answered by Jonathan Purcell
3 Answers | Asked in Elder Law and Estate Planning for California on
Q: My 89 year old father (widower) in Arizona wants to set up a living trust for his mobile home and car.

My father still has a small mortgage on the home. He already has a Will and Durable POA. He is interested in creating a mechanism such as a living trust by which his home and minivan can be transferred to me as his sole heir without the necessity of the property going through probate. His Will... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Sep 25, 2020

I'm not familiar with Arizona laws. A quick internet search reveals that Arizona has a form for beneficiary designation of automobiles. Please refer to the link below.

https://apps.azdot.gov/files/mvd/mvd-forms-lib/96-0561.pdf

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My Dad just passed and left me a house in a trust. What is my next step to obtain the house in my name?

Do I pay the mortgage until it is in my name? Or is it covered by his trustee?

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Sep 22, 2020

Sorry for your loss.

During life, most trusts are revocable, and there is no distinction between the revocable trust and the person, for tax purposes. After death, the trust becomes an irrevocable distinct entity, that will require a separate tax identity i.e. an EIN. The irrevocable...
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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My mother has land that she is trying to get placed into her name. The property is in my deceased grandmothers name

The land was left to my mom and her other two siblings. The two other siblings are deceased now and my mom wants to put the land in her name now to write her will. what documents and paperwork does she need to get this process going? Also she has more land that she has that is in my brother's... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Sep 15, 2020

To begin with you will need to gather together the testamentary documents (wills, trusts, and property deeds), pertaining to your deceased Grandmother and Uncle, and hire an attorney to review the documents, organize the information, and write a report on the current ownership of the properties,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Can successor co-trustees name successor trustees if this power isn't specifically given in the trust?

Settlors created the trust in 1988 naming themselves trustees and then their two adult children, a son and a daughter. The primary trust asset is property in California. The two "children" are now in their 80's. The daughter lives out of state and has never participated in the... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Aug 4, 2020

If the 'children' are mentally competent to the extent that they would understand that they are granting a power under the trust, and the trustees also have enumerated powers under the trust that include the power to engage an agent, or attorney-in-fact, (power of attorney); you might... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: If I reside in California but my family all live in Pennsylvania, in what state should I make out a Will?

I am a 50 year old woman living in California. I never married, have no kids and minimal assets (I own my car and have about $1000 in the bank). Both of my parents and my siblings all live in Pennsylvania. I'm starting the process of "getting my affairs in order" and think the first... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jul 27, 2020

Joint tenancy is a form of ownership that involves two or more owners. Upon the death of the first co-owner, the remaining portion of the property is transferred to the surviving owner(s) by law. A bank account may be owned in joint tenancy*. A car may also be owned in joint tenancy. At death... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: I have a house that I inherited that is in a trust, it still has a mortgage but I want to start using it as a rental.

I'm the trustee, Will I pay more in taxes if I claim it on my taxes, or should i get a ein for the trust and file it's own taxes and leave the house in the trust

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jul 20, 2020

Federal income tax rates for trusts are compressed. In 2020, trust net income that exceeds $12,950 is taxed at a rate of 37%.

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How to distribute of an estate?

A trust has all cash plus a primary house. Trust calls for equal distribution among 4 co-beneficiaries (same 4 are also co-trustees). House will not be sold. Option 1: Single beneficiary "A" takes house, and only house, no cash, as her sole share. Option 2: All beneficiaries take equal... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jul 14, 2020

There are private sources of money that provide liquidity for this type of situation.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: My mother wants to gift my wife and I her house. She has under 1 million in assets. What are the tax considerations
Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on May 21, 2020

There is a requirement to report gifts more than $15,000 per year on form 709.

The tax will be levied only if at the time of death, the combination of all lifetime gifts and donor's decedent estate, exceeds the the gift and estate tax exemption, then in effect, currently $11.58...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for California on
Q: My mother and father are both alive but ailing. If my father passes away before my mother when is his/their will read?

I anticipate issues with my siblings over my parents' estate, specifically one of them influencing my mother to change their will to exclude me if my father predeceases her. But if the will were to be read after he passed away (if he were to pass first) at least we would know his intentions... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on May 12, 2020

Most modern estate plans use a trust instead of will to transfer assets at death.

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Elderly parents have 6 year old will and trust. Will a holographic codicil be o.k. in California to make changes?

The lawyer put himself as executor before heirs. Now they want to make an heir their executor. Also in their trust the lawyer is listed as a trustee. Do they need 3 separate codicils? One each for their wills and another for the trust? They don't want to spend money to do it all again.

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on May 11, 2020

If parents intend to replace the executor and trustee, it is a good idea to review all documents beforehand. A change in the trustee will minimally require an amendment to the trust.

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship....
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Hello, Iam the trustee off my parents propertys 1 in oroville ca 1 in florida, i need to have someone look at the trust

And will and tell me if i can go ahead and sell the propertys my brother will not move out of the florida home. Our morher passed 8/26/2019 my brother wanted to fix up the house,but now conpkains of going in delt, and is harrassing me and my children. Do i have a right to just sell both propertys... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on May 11, 2020

You will need to hire an Attorney to review the trust, will, real estate deeds, insurance, bank accounts and other relevant documents.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: The trust terms: divide the home equally one third each. Can my trustee sister demand I pay the entire existing mortgage

My two sisters and I have agreed I will buy their interest in the home. My sister who is the trustee demands I pay the entire existing mortgage or she will not sign the deed. The trust terms are the home is divided equally one third each. Can my sister alter the terms, threaten to not sign the deed... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Apr 28, 2020

There are private investors who provide liquidity to estates for exactly this situation. They provide funding to allay your Sister's apprehension, and should also provide guidance in preserving the historical property tax.

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This posting does...
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Real Estate Law, Energy, Oil and Gas and Federal Crimes for California on
Q: What happens if I don't pay for repairs on my condemned home in California I own home out right

The city came in and condemn the home due to tampering with PG&e and they said they were condemning the home due to insufficient lighting but yet they want $7,000 for the bill on PG&e that I don't have and I'm not going to pay what can happen to my home due to not paying

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Apr 15, 2020

I suggest you do what is required to keep your home. One option would be a home equity loan to pay for the repairs and upgrade.

4 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for California on
Q: common law marriage and inheritance

My father passed away and left no will. He and my mother were divorced, and he lived with another woman for 18 years unmarried. There are a few small things I would like to have as keepsakes, and his vehicle was in his name alone. As his blood relative am I entitled to these few things? or is... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Mar 6, 2020

In general, common law marriage has not been recognized in California since 1895, with one exception.

If a couple previously lived in a state that recognized common law marriage,

and in the time they lived in that state they fulfilled that state's requirements for common law...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Hello, I have a question regarding a property currently owned in an LLC (see below). Thanks for your answer. Peter

My wife and I own a condo in Los Angeles for about 10 years. It is titled to an LLC ( LLC under both our names) for about 5 years, when we put it out for rent under the LLC business.

Since 1 year, we moved back and live in it. The LLC has no other business at the moment.

Thinking... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Dec 16, 2019

In general a transfer of property between an entity (such as an LLC), to one or more individuals will trigger a change in ownership and a reassessment of property tax. An exclusion provides that transfers between individuals and entities in which the proportional ownership is unchanged are not... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I have a question on CA prop 13 transfer between parent and child.

My mom relocated to a managed care facility last year. If I purchase the home she lived in for 50 yrs, will I be excluded from reassessment of the property and be able to continue getting the prop 13 tax advantages and if so, does it need to be my primary residence?

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Nov 14, 2019

A 'change of ownership' triggers a property tax reassessment.

"... a change in ownership shall not include the following...

(1)(A)The purchase or transfer of real property which is the principal residence of an eligible transferor in the case of a purchase or transfer...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I have a will and my uncle says he has a will, what should I do for my grandmothers wishes?

Grandmother left will and testament with me her grandson put me on her bank accounts and retirements accounts. My uncle swooped in when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and took her the same day she was diagnosed to get a will done. What should I do and what are my rights to the things she... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Nov 11, 2019

In general, assets that are in the form of beneficiary designations through banks and investment firms do not pass through a will or testamentary trust. You will present your ID and a certified death certificate at the financial institutions that hold the accounts.

The information...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: As a heir, do I have to pay capital gains on money I recvd from property sold from a Testamentary Trust in California?

My mom has 6 rental homes. She just died. It appears to be a 50/50 split, with her trust and my father's who died in 1971. Trusts list me and my 3 brothers as beneficiaries. The properties are to be sold. I have heard the capital gains tax will be 33% or more.

Thank you

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Oct 25, 2019

Capital Gains are the difference between the basis of property and the sale price of property (less selling costs).

Basis of property during life is the original purchase price of property (with adjustments).

Post-mortem basis is adjusted to the Date of Death Fair Market Value,...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: My sister is my mothers conservator and the successor trustee she refuses to provide any type of accounting.

She is selling a house that is willed to me. i know she is steeling assets i have not had an accounting of the trust since she took it over can i do anything i can only afford a few thousand dollars.

I would also like more info so i can do my own will at one time the estate was worth more... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Aug 27, 2019

In California, Conservator is required to provide an accounting to the court one year after a Conservator is appointed, and every two years thereafter.

A Conservator may use 'substituted judgement' to change testamentary documents such as wills and trusts, but past donative...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Uncle and i bought house as joint tenants he was married title sole and separate property. He passed away

Wife now wants half the property and to be added to title. I paid the last 20 years of Home including bills & maintenance (home now paid off) can she still claim half no will

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jul 16, 2019

The surviving joint tenant(s) file(s) an "Affidavit of Death - Joint Tenant", along with a death certificate, and a "Preliminary Change of Ownership Report" (PCOR), as well as paying a filing fee. Decedent's share is distributed the remaining joint tenant(s) on the deed.

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