California, MD asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: My mother passed and left her estate to her living children. Since she passed three of her nine children have passed.

Does the estate get divided between the living children. My mother said she only wanted her children to have her estate or does the deceased children receive it?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • PETALUMA, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If your Mother died with a trust, the terms of the trust will determine the distribution of assets to her descendants.

I suggest you have an attorney read your Mother's trust and explain the distribution of assets when an heir dies before the distribution of assets.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement or a solicitation.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

Jackie Marie Howard
Jackie Marie Howard
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Roseville, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: My condolences for your loss. Did your Mother have a Trust or a Will? The answer to your question could be addressed by the section of the Trust/Will regarding distribution. Seek legal counsel to get a specific answer to the facts in your situation.

Julie King
Julie King
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The answer to your question depends on whether your mother had: (1) a will; (2) a trust; or (3) nothing. If your mother had a will or trust, then whatever your mother put in her will or trust document will be the deciding factor as to who gets which assets. Most commonly, trusts say that when a beneficiary/child passes away, their inheritance goes to that deceased person's kids, but not all trusts say that. Each trust contains different language based upon what each person wants to do with their assets.

If your mother had assets that have a total value of $166,250 or higher AND she had a will or had no signed document, then your family will need to go through the Probate Court and get a court order before your mother's assets can be distributed. However, if your mother's assets are valued at $166,250 or higher AND she had a trust, your family likely does not need to go through probate before distributing her assets. That's why planning is so incredibly important. Probate is expensive and takes a year or more -- and that's before most assets can be distributed.

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