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Questions Answered by John B. Palley
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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: We filed a petition already. Judge continued it due to a few problems. Will named 2 executors, both died years ago.

Judge wants a declination to serve. How is this possible?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 14, 2019

Is there a 3rd named in the will? If not, I would think signing a declaration that the other two have died should be sufficient. Shouldn't need to prove with death certificates I wouldn't think. Your petition should then be a petition for probate of a will with will annexed, seeking appointment of... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Banking, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother passed she has multiple bank accounts but only one is joint account with my father.

Obviously under California law my father is entitled to the funds in the joint bank account because his name is also on it. But if there is no will or the other accounts are not listed in the trust is he also entitled to 100% of the funds in the personal savings and checking accounts?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 14, 2019

Mr gaffney gave a good overview of cp and sp. I agree with him. The next question is if the total of the accounts just in his name is more or less than $150,000. For estates worth $150k and less there are small estate affidavit procedures that can be done. Over $150k then a full probate is required.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Im going thru probate now (no will) and just remembered the property owned in Mexico. What to do about that?
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 13, 2019

I would contact an attorney in Mexico to determine what they will need. Being that there is no will they may not need anything from the California probate. I am not sure. Good luck. -John

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: My husband of six years passed. Are my step-children entitled to any part of the home he owns?

My husband's intent was to quick deed the home to me, but because of his illness and sudden death, he did not do it. he verbally expressed his wishes to me. There is no will or living trust and my name is not on the deed.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on May 8, 2019

I would say it depends on when and how it was acquired. The oral agreement probably means nothing. Your name not being on title is a presumption that it is your husbands separate property but not the answer. Was it acquired before or during marriage? Was the down payment from his money from work... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I lived with my mother in the home she owned when she died. Will I be forced to sell the home to cover estate debts ?

We live in California. The home is the only asset. I am the only heir and it has been my primary residence for years

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

I am sorry for your loss. You will have to go through probate court to clear title and deal with creditors eventually but there might be no rush. However many creditors do not file claims or do not file lawsuits if a claim is rejected. Thus a person in probate can often avoid the creditors. I would... Read more »

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