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Questions Answered by John B. Palley
2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my mother passed away I know the property needs to go to probate but I don't know where to start this process
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Apr 9, 2021

The key is getting started! Get that ball rolling by filing the initial petition. We usually have the initial documents ready the same day and can be on file in most counties in California within two business days. Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss the particulars.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: If a person dies intestate and has two heirs, do you have to put the assets in probate in both of their names?

The PR only has limited authority under the IAEA or they would have handled this another way but both heirs agree that one of them ( heir A) will take ownership of the vehicle and will pay the other ( heir B) half of it’s value once sale of the family home has been completed. The family home is... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Feb 25, 2021

You can sell the assets during probate. Would probably be easier to switch from limited to full IAEA. Then give out cash, 50/50, at end of probate.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Does California probate code 10800 apply if there is a will and a revocable trust in place?

My mom is 93 years old. She has bank accounts worth approximately $50,000.0, and her home is worth approximately $500,000.0.

We are setting up a revocable trust for all her assets. We have also created a last Will and Testament.

Ca. probate code 10800 implies that the executor shall... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Feb 12, 2021

No. If a trust is set up AND properly funded then probate is avoided and thus the executor fees are avoided.

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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.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Feb 6, 2021

Hard to say for sure but typically most probate assets are received tax free. The exception are things like 401ks and retirement accounts. Happy to chat about the details if you contact me directly.

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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?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Feb 1, 2021

There is not a set order among the kids. Yes another child can contest one of their siblings doing it and then that sibling should also file a competing petition for them or another sibling to serve as the administrator. That would create the contest or competing petition situation. The courts... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Court postponed the first hearing my brother's probate. What is the proper form to give notice of postponement?

The court notice requested we inform omitted parties.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jan 17, 2021

Typically you do not have to give continued notice as long as you gave proper notice to the first hearing. If you aren't sure then just give notice of petition for probate. Good luck! -John

P.S. You might hire an experienced probate attorney to make sure your life easier.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: What court order is needed to access my missing brothers house?
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jan 17, 2021

If you think he is still alive then a petition for a temporary conservatorship might work. If you have to reason to think he is dead then a petition for special administration in probate might work. Hard to know based on the facts given. Best of luck finding him and I hope all works out fine!... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I am trying to find a Probate attorney. Unfortunately my boyfriend left a holographic will that names me as executor.

Because he listed so many beneficiaries I am running into a problem finding someone who will take it. What happens then?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Dec 23, 2020

If there are assets, and the will is valid, someone will take it I would think. You should lodge the will in the probate court of the county he resided at death. Happy to chat with you if you contact me. Good luck. -John

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Grandmother passed in Calif, she had two sons. One (my father) passed away years ago. Does that make me an heir?
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Nov 3, 2020

If she had no will I would say yes. If she had a will I would say maybe.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for California on
Q: I have a check from PayPal from a deceased relative's accounts. The check is drawn from a Wells Fargo account.

I submitted the California Small Estate Affidavit to PayPal with a notary attachment. However, the check was made out in my deceased relative's name only. Which is not how other checks have been made out.

Two banks that I do business with, including Wells Fargo, have declined to... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Oct 7, 2020

I would send it back to PayPal along with a California Small Estate Affidavit (free forms online) filled out by the person who legally is the next of kin (or beneficiary of a will if there is a will). Ask them to re-issue to the correct person or persons. Good luck.

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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 »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 23, 2020

I would start by looking up the deed to the house. Shoot me an email with the address and your dad's name and I can look it up for you in about 30 seconds.

If it's in dad's name then we could start probate. If your brother has a will he would need to produce it then. However,...
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?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 21, 2020

I would say you need to total all the accounts that don't have named beneficiaries on them and see if total is under $166,250. If so, then the small estate affidavits should work. Usually, but not always, they will work regardless of where the banks are. However, some banks will require... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: in CA, do i still have to do probate if all my grandma owned was her home? im on the deed already
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 18, 2020

I would need to see the exact language of the deed to know the answer to that. Sorry.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: i am in CA.. i am on the deed of my recently deceased grandmothers house that she owned outright.

does this guarantee i am now the owner?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 18, 2020

I would say there are few guarantees in life. It depends on how you are on title (as a joint tenant, sole owner, tenant in common, beneficiary, etc...) and if anybody contests by suggesting undue influence, fraud, mistake, etc.... I am sorry I can't give you a more solid answer than that.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What wording should beneficiaries use if they want to reassign part of their inheritance?

I'm the executor of my father's estate. He meant to divide his estate into six equal parts, for his five living children and the widow of his one pre-deceased child. He wrote the will without the help of a lawyer, and inadvertently left out his daughter-in-law by referring to her as his... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 16, 2020

I think you have two ways to accomplish this:

1) Have the other 5 people each sign an "assignment" of 1/6th of their inheritance to the DIL. That would cause everybody to get 1/6th each I believe (assuming everybody signs off).

2) Have all 6 people sign a...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can a mortgage lender sell a home before probate is finished ?

My father recently died with no will and no transfer on death deed on his home. Could the mortgage lender sell his mortgaged home before probate is finished ? If they can or do, will the estate receive the sale amount minus outstanding balance ?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 16, 2020

Probate does NOT automatically stop a foreclosure so they could foreclose any time.

Generally with a house in probate, if you notify the mortgage company, they will agree to hold off on foreclosing for a few months. If it's a reverse mortgage you need to ask repeatedly. Not sure if...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: In CA, husband’s will listed alternate heirs if the spouse does not survive him. She did. Must I list these alternates

in my petition to probate even though they do not inherit anything because spouse is still surviving?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 27, 2020

As the other attorney stated you do need to put on notice of your initial petition. In my opinion when in doubt send it out! That's my rule of thumb. Over-noticing protects the executor more than under-noticing in my opinion. Good luck.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Ex husband passed with naming me as alt. Executor daughter as beneficiary in will do I have rights to our property

His sister is executor and she is resigning

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 26, 2020

If the will was written during marriage then I believe you would be omitted from will. If will was written after divorce then it would be valid as to you. It's unclear if you are asking about being executor or beneficiary!? Also, is daughter a minor or an adult? Lastly, will anybody object... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Is it best to go to the original lawyer that wrote my mother’s will for probate?
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 20, 2020

You should go to the best probate attorney you can in my opinion. The writer of the will may or may not be a great probate court attorney. Look for someone with extensive probate court experience and a focused probate practice not a general practitioner.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Father passed away with no will, POA or beneficiaries. Assets are less than 150k. Only survivors were two daughters.

My father passed away in July 2020

He passed away with no will, no beneficiaries and no POA. His assets are less than 150,000. I’ve researched that this would be a small estate but want to make sure we don’t have to go to probate. My sister and I are the only surviving children and he... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 19, 2020

No probate. Just do transfer without probate at DMV for car and similar forms at department of housing for manufactured home. Do those 40 days after death. No probate court. Good luck.

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