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Questions Answered by John B. Palley
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.

2 Answers | Asked in Banking and Probate for California on
Q: I am sole heir and administrator. I am in chexsystems and cannot open bank account. What will happen when house sells?

I am the petitioner in pro per. I do not have an attorney representing me. Could I amend my order and add a co-administrator?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 5, 2020

You could have the title company pay the money to your lawyer's attorney-client trust account. They could then make the distributions at the end of probate.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Do I need to file as personal representative of the Estate before filing petition of small estate166,222 or less?

Would like to file for determination of succession of real and personal property under 166,222 in California. Home has mortgage of 150000 and no other assets. Small amount in checking but that's all.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 3, 2020

You do not need to file to be PR before filing a small estate petition. However, you do need to get the house valued by a California Probate Referee for that county. Also, the mortgage does not play into the valuation. The $166,250 value is just based on the gross value of the property. So you can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I need a probate lawyer ASAP. I live in Modesto,ca I dont have much money, but am willing to pay what I can.
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 1, 2020

Can you summarize the situation? A lot of times there is no money needed to start probate. Really depends on the facts. Feel free to post here or email me directly your summary.

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Insurance Bad Faith and Probate for California on
Q: Is a son or daughter of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy entitled to the proceeds if the the benefiary dies?

And son or daughter is not listed as a beneficiary on the policy?

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

No. If the beneficiary dies BEFORE the person whose life the policy was on then the beneficiary's estate/heirs do not take. However, if the beneficiary dies AFTER the person but before they claim the life insurance proceeds then yes their estate/heirs would take.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Started probate for parents property before my brother passed away.

I'm Living in the family home my parents had no will it is paid off. Before my brother passed we started a probate never completed I am the only child living The house is still in my parents name because it's been difficult having no will. Does the house go to me and my parents... Read more »

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

Yes he could make you move out. Should probably try to work out a deal to buy him out. If you have a probate attorney helping with mom/dad's probate they should be able to help with brother's probate and a buy-out. If not, I encourage you to find a qualified and experienced probate... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Hello my brother just past away. It was just me and him as children of our parents

Hello my brother just passed away we were the only 2 children. My parents passed away with no will before my brother passed away we had an attorney start a probate to divide my parents been property between us 2 but my brother passed before it was completed still in process. Now do I divide it with... Read more »

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

Brother's son gets brother's share. I am sorry for all your loss.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: How long does a family member have time to file for probate in the state of Ca
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jun 18, 2020

You are supposed to file a will within 30 days of death but you are allowed to file later. If there might be a competing petition by someone else I like to file first. If there is no fighting then delaying is usually ok. I have filed cases 20 years after death.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Collections and Probate for California on
Q: Is the surviving spouse liable for the deceased spouse's credit card debt if only in the deceased's name?

If credit card debt was taken out by the deceased spouse in their name only and without the surviving spouse's knowledge, what rights does the surviving spouse have? Are they still liable for the debt? There is no will or estate.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Apr 29, 2020

That's tough to answer as there are many variables and ways it could go. A general rule in probate is that a person (spouse or otherwise) is liable for debts (even if they didn't know about it) to the extent they received assets from the decedent. So if the spouse received money/assets... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my mom notarized a letter, to sell her home (with mortgage) and split proceeds equally with siblings. Is Probate needed
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Apr 17, 2020

It sounds like the transaction was not completed. Did the buyers sign anything where they agreed to pay the mortgage? So that would be one of my several concerns. Also Without going through a title company I doubt the buyers would have good title so that might not be able to sell in future. I thus... Read more »

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