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Questions Answered by John B. Palley
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I'm not the sole next of kin. I have a brother and two sisters.

They have each told me they want me to keep the money for taking care of my mom. I was her power of attorney, although I realize that ended with my mother's death. Thank you very much.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jan 6, 2020

I suggest you have them sign something that simply says they assign their interest to you. That way when you sign the small estate affidavit you will be signing honestly that you are legally entitled to the whole account. Good luck.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Hello, my mother passed away in December 2017. she lived with me for the last 10 years of her life. She had no will.

she had $1,400 in her checking account when she passed. I recently received a letter from her bank stating that after three years they may transfer her property to the state of California. Can I get this money and how do I get it? Thank you very much.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jan 6, 2020

Assuming you are entitled to the money (sole next of kin or named in will) then do a small estate affidavit. Forms available at some banks but, if not, then online. That should be it. Just google "California free small estate affidavit form" or something like that. Good luck.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I there a procedure called bequeeze or bequest that can avoid probate and heggstad?

*Is not I.

My grandmother recently passed away. I am now the trustee of the family trust. There are a couple of properties that didn't make it into the trust. Is there a legal procedure that can avoid probate and heggstad? My father believes this is called bequeeze or bequest.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Dec 13, 2019

A bequest is when a gift is made in a will. That would not avoid probate or Heggstad. Feel free to shoot me an email with other questions. I handle probates and heggstads throughout California and even own the domain name heggstadpetition.com

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Hello, Mom passed away without a will nor a beneficiary for her bank account.

I've been taking care of her in her home for 10 years (Alzheimer's), and my sister wants me to inherit the remaining funds in her bank account of less than $5000 and the family home, which has a reverse mortgage on it The loan on the house is at $320,000 and the house is probably only worth about... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Dec 13, 2019

Me Berge summed things up well. I would encourage you to find an experienced probate attorney as we could get the probate started right away as that is needed since the clock is ticking. Be sure you ask the reverse mortgage company, in writing, to delay starting a foreclosure. Reverse mortgage... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: We are opening intestate probate in Ca. Decedent owns property in Co. Do we open probate in Ca and Co at the same time?
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Nov 24, 2019

If there are no assets in California I might skip the California probate and just do the Colorado. The main issue, assuming no assets in California, is if you want to put creditors on notice in California to protect yourself from later claims. Also, I should add, I do not know Colorado law but if... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mother was beneficiary but she died before the insured. Who does money go to?

The insured died after his sister who was the beneficiary. He lived in national city California

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Oct 16, 2019

I am sorry for the loss of your mom and aunt. I would say your mom would not receive the money. I would say the money goes to the contingent beneficiary if one is named on the policy. If one is not named then the money would go as the policy dictates which most likely would be to the probate estate.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for California on
Q: My mother inlaw passed away 16 years ago in California and one of her daughter's took possession of the property, is it

To late for my husband to file probate?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 7, 2019

It depends. You say she took possession of it. Did she actually legally transfer it to herself in some fashion (trust, deed, probate) or has she just been living there? If not legally transferred to her I would definitely get probate started now. I'd need to look at the deed history to know more.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My dad passed away in March, my sister and I are his only children and his wife has passed. He didn't have a will.

I know he had property and assets how should I proceed?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 28, 2019

Depending on the type and value of the assets will determine which type of probate is needed. I have completed about 1,500 probates and would be happy to discuss your options. Feel free to call or email or post more facts like what type of assets, what values, did wife die before dad or after him,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Married couple both die intestate within a year, and the estate is a house owned in joint tenancy, whose heirs inherit?

The estate is in California. The couple have been married over 15 years. The couple had no children. The wife, who died first almost a year earlier, has living siblings. The husband, who died second, has living cousins. Who would get the house? Obviously, the husband would if still alive, but... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 22, 2019

Sounds like a case where 1/2 will go back to wife's family since death within 15 years and surviving spouse didn't have surviving spouse or issue. I believe it depends on how closely related the cousins are. Read probate code 6402 and 6402.5 very closely.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Probate? What do I need to do to in Alameda Co. to process my Mother's estate of less than $1000?

My Mother passed in mid-July at age 95... Only assets are a Bank account of less than $300 and a 1998 car worth about $500. I'm the only child, age 70... and would like to handle this with as little hassle as possible. We paid final expenses ourselves, and have official 'Certificate of Death'.... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 13, 2019

I am sorry for your loss. 40 days, or more, after death you can do a small estate affidavit with the bank (some banks have their own forms so ask them) and also, 40 days after death, you can do the DMV "transfer without probate" form. Best of luck. -John

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: My sibling and I were in escrow on our parents home when my brother passed away.

The escrow lady says his intrest has to go to probate and she can not close escrow till a exeator/administrator is assigned by the courts to his estes. What do we do now ?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 6, 2019

Was the property still in parents name or in kids names? If in parents names then sell in their probate. If in kids names then yes probate deceased child’s estate. If under $150k small estate options available. I do probate throughout California if you wish to discuss. My practice is 100% probate... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: If you are the legal trustee to an estate in a will must the inheritance first go through probate?

My grandmother recently passed, and my sister and I are the named trustees in her will for her estate (we were also her only living relatives). We are currently in the process of selling her home, and we can't seem to find a clear answer as to whether or not our inheritance of her estate will need... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 5, 2019

If the house is not properly deeded into a trust then yes some type of probate court action will be required. If the property is worth under $150k you can utilize quicker procedures but if the property is worth more than $150k in value (no account for mortgage) then a full probate is required. You... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my father died intestate and there are five children no spouse and the assets are under $150,000. need california code §

we are donating things to a museum and they need a letter that states the code that says we inherit automatically as the children . I just want to quote the code but can't find it. and your web site structure requires one to click on numbers to read the code and this system means i could be hunting... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 3, 2019

The laws of intestacy of California (meaning for people dying without a will) start at Probate Code 6400 with 6402 saying assets go to "issue" (or kids). The other code I would point to is California Probate Code 13100 and the following sections which talk about the other $150k requirements. Good... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: In a probate case in CA where there is not a will when does the Inventory and Appraisal have to be done?

I am a beneficiary of an intestate probate case, my sister is administrator and we are estranged-letters were issued on 3/26/19 and the house sold last month. I'm trying to understand the process because my attorney is not really being helpful. I thought the Inventory and Appraisal had to be... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jul 31, 2019

Yes, pursuant to Probate Code 8800 the inventory should be filed within four months. Since you have an attorney you should talk to them about what options you have for taking advantage of this error by your sister. If your attorney is not as responsive as you think they should be then perhaps you... 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.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jul 10, 2019

I would start with a California small estate affidavit. That is technically the correct thing to do and most banks (regardless of what state they are in) will honor that. Just google "California small estate affidavit form" and you'll find a free form to use. If the bank rejects that (and some... Read more »

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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 »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jun 9, 2019

This can be done by assignment in most cases and generally is not a problem at all. There can, theoretically, be gift tax consequences so one should always talk to a lawyer to confirm that is not a problem. Also, in some cases a disclaimer will work which likely does not have tax consequences but... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Is the former trustee's attorney obligated to modify an order that contains mistakes?

The newly appointed trustee of my late mom's trust is unable to open a trust bank account because the order prepared by the attorney for the former trustee names the newly appointed trustee incorrectly (correct last name but incorrect first name) and the check is made out to the newly appointed... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jun 7, 2019

This is unfortunate but it's probably cheaper to file for an amended order than it is to try to compel the other attorney to do it. I would just have the current trustee's attorney get it done. Beyond that, however, I would try multiple banks first. Usually there is a bank that will be friendly. I... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Im tired of trying to do this probate! I give up Can somebody help please Its out of LA Cali dept 11

Im Admin i want to finish this

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 30, 2019

I’d like to discuss your case to see if I can help. 888-920-5983

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my brother passed away with three or 4 vehicles and a bank account. how can I access this to pay for funeral expenses?

he was basically homeless living in his van or one of his cars. he owned two camero's Iroc-z (torn up inside but one runs one is registered in his name the other he never registered and I have no clue who he bought it from), a van (that some broke into and trashed, again not registered and no pink... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 28, 2019

I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like a small estate case (under $150,000) and thus utilizing small estate affidavits is best. Unfortunately you don't get access to the bank or cars until 40 days after death. This all assumes you are not named as beneficiary/POD and/or co/joint owner on the bank... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Mom's home appraised 7 mo. Prior to her passing. Since appraisal 5 homes have sold in immediate area sold for far more.

Is executor of will responsible for having appraised again due to fair market value has gone up?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 27, 2019

If In probate a date of death appraisal by the probate referee is required. If the case is not in probate a date of death appraisal is highly recommended but in certain cases can be avoided. Beyond that there are a lot of issues that an attorney will advise the executor or trustee on. I would... Read more »

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