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Questions Answered by Sally Bergman
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can one signee on a small estate affidavit for Louisiana get their signature notarized in California?

The home is in Louisiana, I live in California but I am 1 of 2 signatures required per the form. Must the signators reside in Louisiana?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 14, 2022

I very much doubt Louisiana would require you to reside there in order to sign the affidavit. Notarizations are always completed in the state where the signer is signing, which most often is their residence.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: The Trustee of the Trust has dementia, so her son is the Executor and has Power of Attorney

The Trustee of the Trust has dementia, so her son is the Executor and has Power of Attorney. To do a self-closing transaction for the purchase of the vacant land lot, should I prepare documents where she is a Grantor and he just signing documents for her as an Executor?

Or there should be... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 9, 2022

If the vacant lot is titled in the name of the trust, there is a very specific process that must be followed that complies with the terms of the trust with respect to incapacity of the trustee. If the vacant lot is in the name of the individual trustee who is now incapacitated, then the son will... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Does a Trust have to be signed and notarized under California law to be valid?

A distant relative created a Trust in 2012, and another Trust in 2016. He funded the 2016 Trust with some real estate.

We have found copies with hand-written edits to the 2016 Trust. It has a place at the bottom for his signature, but the deceased never signed any of them. There is a... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 8, 2022

While a California trust does not need to be notarized, it does need to be signed. However, you seem to have evidence that in fact a trust document was signed (notary records) and the 2016 trust was funded with real estate. Depending upon a lot of other facts and factors, it is possible a court... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: my 22 yr old son died intestate in Marin county california. How do I as his parent get appointed as Administrator of

his estate. He was not married and had no children. His estate is valued at less than $150,000. I need to get Letters

of Administration signed by a court in order to get his medical records. Thank you

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Mar 2, 2022

My condolences for the loss of your son. You do not need to file for probate for that amount of money as it is below California's small estate affidavit limit of $166,250. You must wait 40 days following your son's death. If you contact the financial institution holding the money, they... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I need to sell my house quickly I am a widower and have no children do I need to put the house in a trust.

My wife died four years ago and the house is still held in both our names, no trust.

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Feb 27, 2022

While you may not need to place your house in a revocable trust before you sell it, I would caution you that you likely should place the proceeds of the sale in a trust. As well, particularly as a widower with no children, it's extremely important that you have a health care directive and... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: If a home is left to me would I still have to go through probate if the owner had put me on the deed? Thank you,
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Dec 26, 2021

If you hold title with the owner as "joint tenants", no probate would be required. If title is held as tenants in common, half of the property would have to be probated.

However, adding an individual's name to real property is typically a very bad idea and has adverse...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for California on
Q: Does a notary have to be from California if Ex is living overseas?

1. My Ex-wife is living in Korea and will need to complete it there designating our son as her PoA representative. Can a notary at the US Embassy sign the form or does the notary have to be from California?

2. If she completes the form can a scanned and printed copy be used by my son to... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Dec 16, 2021

When an individual signs a US document in a foreign country that would typically require a notarization, they should seek the assistance of the local US Embassy who will provide the equivalent of a local notarization. Once that is completed, a good quality scan should be all that any institution... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Can a spousal property petition override rules of succession in California?

My mom bought her house before she married my stepdad and then added him to the deed without right of survivorship 15 years after they were married. They were married for 25 years. My mom then died without a will. If my stepdad files a spousal property petition, could he be granted my share of my... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Oct 11, 2021

It would be helpful to have some additional information, including exactly how the deed adding your stepdad was titled, as well as how long they were married. Assuming you are the only child, you would be entitled to fifty percent of your Mom's separate property and that would have to be... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Elder Law, Intellectual Property and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Hi there, I'm sorry to bother you...I don’t know what to do…

… I have an older sister that is a meth addict and her daughter also following in her footsteps. They both live with my parents that are from the age of 77 to 84. In the short, my sister and loser daughter are stealing money from my parents, blackmailing my dad and pressuring my dad to help them... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Sep 10, 2021

You should immediately call Adult Protective Services who will investigate. Your parents can file for an Elder Abuse Restraining Order and can likely have your sister and her daughter removed from the home. If your parents will not support that action, you may need to consider filing for... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother died. She left no will. I am only child. My daughter got her to sign POA. Now has taken all??

'Nana' recently died quite suddenly, and unexpectedly. I am her only child, and I have two children. From the time that we discovered she had brain tumors, to when she died, was only one week. She was very confused and disorientated. During this week, my daughter got her to sign a P.O.A.,... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jul 20, 2021

My condolences for the loss of your mother. You most likely do have recourse, but you should seek the assistance of a trust and estates litigator as soon as possible. Even if the quitclaim was valid, which likely it was not, that deed would have applied only to the home and not the contents or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Dad died & had unpaid loan . I got sued and now have a lien on my property is that legal

He used home for collateral then dide before pay it off .. the property is still in my grams name .. but I was sued for the loan he had wirh someone else now I have. Alien on my property.. he never put the property in his name it’s always been in my grandmas

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jul 7, 2021

If your grandmother's home is still in her name, and I'm assuming she is deceased, you must file for probate. It is the only way title to the property can pass to her heirs, typically children, then grandchildren. It's not clear when you say there's a lien on your property.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: brother was not named a successor trustee but petitioned and won. The trust required him to have our vote but went asked

My brother recently was nominated by the court as successor trustee after he filed a petition. The trust instructs that if the nominated trustee is deceased or unwilling a successor trustee will be nominated after receiving majority of the beneficiaries vote however the beneficiaries were not... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 13, 2021

You need to have an attorney look at both the trust document and the petition your brother filed. You seem to raise valid objections to your brother's appointment as successor trustee. If you were properly served with your brother's petition, you would have had to file an objection to... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: File a petition to remove Power of Attorney in California

What forms do I file a petition with the Probate Department to remove a power of attorney based on financial elder abuse? I have already contacted APS and local police, they are telling me to request the courts for the POA to hand over financial records so the POA can be removed due to the abuse.... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on May 30, 2021

Unfortunately, this situation will likely require a conservatorship, which is a court-monitored process that can and will revoke the Power of Attorney. If the older adult had a trust in place, it's possible that a conservatorship would not be necessary. Either way, please consult an elder... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I have a Trust and Living Will with an Amendment. I want to revert to the original. Can I simply tear up the Amendment?

The Amendment was done about 7 years after the original Trust by a different lawyer. It was a change to my beneficiaries. Now I want to reverse that. Do I need to see a lawyer or can I simply tear up the Amendment so that the original stands as is?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Mar 7, 2021

I agree with my colleague that you should do what is called a restatement of your original trust, particularly when there have been major changes in beneficiaries between the original and the amendment. Those beneficiaries in the amendment could otherwise try to make claims that the Amendment was... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: How do you revoke power of attorney from someone who has abused their power?

If you have an elderly family member who gave his child power of attorney to assist them with their financial affairs and you discover the person who has power of attorney has stolen the elderly family members money. The thief also drew up a will a few years prior. Now that its discovered the... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Mar 3, 2021

You should contact an elder law attorney to immediately prepare and serve a revocation of the power of attorney. That attorney will also explore a possible financial elder abuse claim. I would not suggest you try to do the new power of attorney yourself as it's not likely the financial... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How does Step-up in basis rule apply for AB Trust if wife sells the house after husband dies?

Husband died in 11/2020. Couple had a Rev Living Trust (AB Trust). I understand all estates will get a Step-up in basis as of spouse's death date.

If wife sells the house in 2021, can she get the Step-Up in basis rule for the entire house?

Someone was saying only the 50% (B... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Feb 14, 2021

Any part of the house funded into the B Trust will not get a step-up in basis. Depending upon many circumstances, many people are deciding they do not want a bypass trust, and often times, it is not necessary. You should speak to a trust administration attorney for more advice as it may be... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for California on
Q: I'll try again. Small, I mean small estate. No family, friends to help me out. I'm alone. I need assistance for closing.

Will a ProBono Attorney, close my Estate after I pass. My total assets are under $14,000.00 year.

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Feb 12, 2021

You need to take at least some minimum steps to make sure no estate administration is required. For every bank account, make sure you have designated a pay-on-death beneficiary and make sure that person knows they are the beneficiary. Following your death, that person can bring in a copy of your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I have a very small estate to close and no one to help or guide me.
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Feb 12, 2021

If the estate is less than $166,250, you can submit a Small Estate Affidavit. This is the form: https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/Affidavit_personal_property.pdf

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Asset Inventory and Apprisal

My attorney helped me filed a probate petition in Santa Barbara County, California. I am in the process to prepare a schedule of assets and debts for inventory and appraisal phase of the probate case. 1. Should I list non-probate assets such as my dad's 403(b) plan and his individual... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jan 11, 2021

What struck me as unusual about your question is that you mention that you have an attorney, but it doesn't seem that you are receiving much guidance from him/her. I note that you are from Texas, so I'm wondering if perhaps an attorney friend there assisted you to file the Probate... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for California on
Q: In 1996 mom married a man in prison for life. They lost touch yrs ago. She now wishes to divorce him,as she has the

Onset of dementia. She wishes to protect her home, inherited from my grandparents. Who purchased it for her and I in 1972. In Ca can she legally exclude him from her will or trust? How would she go about this?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Nov 17, 2020

Your question crosses over into both family law and estate planning. Your mother's interest in that property would be her own separate property that she is typically allowed to pass to anyone she chooses. There are occasions, however, when the other spouse may gain a community property... Read more »

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