Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Consumer Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: How long can a home remain in a deceased persons name?

My grandmother died several years ago leaving 2 houses paid for. How Is it possible for a house to still be in her name today, and with a loan on it in her name as well? The properties were inherited by her one surviving daughter who did not want either of them in her name (she had an automobile... Read more »

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman answered on Jan 14, 2021

This sounds like two things:

- An obvious attempt to cheat the system re: someone they harmed;

- Some sort of potential sour grapes on the part of the asker, who, by the fact pattern, had zero interest in either of the properties, leaving it unclear as to why the question is being...
Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My dad financed a car in his name only.He recently passed away, there is $14000 owed, mom doesn't want, can she returnit
Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 12, 2021

Most likely, but it will depend on the terms in the finance agreement. If she can sell it for more than $14,000 and pay off the balance, she just might make some money in the process! Otherwise, she should read the terms of the finance agreement and/or call the finance company to make other... Read more »

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 »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 11, 2021

You have asked a lot of very good questions! First, non-probate assets are not listed on the schedules. Although it may seem straight-forward, placing the right assets on the right schedule is not as easy as one might think. If you put an asset on the wrong schedule, the entire document will be... Read more »

View More Answers

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Hello, my question is about how I might be affected by Prop 19 in Southern California.

My parents have passed on this last August and my sister is now the trustor. If I were to buy her out and take ownership of the house prior to February 15, 2021 would I qualify for a reassessment exclusion? It would not be our primary residence.

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Jan 8, 2021

you need to speak to a trust administration attorney. if your parents already passed, the trust itself governs the transfer of properties and given your stated dates, you may not be subject to prop 19 but you need to speak to an attorney regarding the specifics to know your options.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Is the typical cost for administering a Trust in NC done at an hourly rate or as a % share of the assets?

The trust is for a deceased relative. I am the Trustee, live out-of-state, and may need help to administer it correctly.

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 7, 2021

Most trust administration is invoiced on an hourly basis, but you could certainly speak with different attorneys to determine if one is willing to handle the matter for a percentage of the assets. It would really depend on how much work there is to be done and whether the percentage share of the... Read more »

View More Answers

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Elder Law for California on
Q: An elderly neighbor offered to will me her home if I managed her care for the next few years. What are the issues here?

My elderly neighbor's husband just passed, and she finds herself overwhelmed by paperwork, by legal matters, and so forth. She is getting quite on in years and has no living family. She offered to will me her home if I would become power of attorney on her behalf and helped manage her affairs.... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jan 5, 2021

The main issue is that it is not enforceable. Also, you are trying to take payment for something without calling it income.

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Is power of attorney all that's needed to get access to deceased mothers bank account

My mother recently passed away. I have a will and a power of attorney signed by my mother. I am her sole survivor. The bank will not allow me to access her bank account saying that I need to go to the county and get a small estate affidavit and/or appointment papers as the... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jan 2, 2021

Sorry for your loss. A power of attorney expires when the person who gave it dies. So, you can not use the power of attorney to access the bank account. You can use a small estate affidavit if the estate is small enough, but it is not something the County will provide for you. Otherwise, you... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How can I get a copy of a will filed in Orange County court, to know the beneficiaries of the descendent’s estate.
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Dec 30, 2020

Just go to the courthouse (the county Probate court should work best) and look it up on their computers. You should be able to search the Probate files with just the name of the deceased; if not the clerk can help you. Then look at the File and print up the Will that was entered into the court.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Do I need to record with CA County Recorder's office on a "Waiver of community property rights" that has been notarize
Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 29, 2020

The answer would depend on what the deed(s) say. Send a copy of the deed(s) to a lawyer and he/she/they can let you know very quickly. Best wishes!

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Approximately how much does it cost to put a property in a living trust? Thank you.
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Dec 28, 2020

If yo ualready have the trust, all you have to do is make a new deed and record it with the County Clerk. The clerk will charge you about $25 if it is your residence and $100 if it is not. If you want the deed written for you then it is probably about $250.

If you need the trust written...
Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: If i refuse to give up my rent I'm collecting from an Estate

I inherited a house from my aunt the trustee successor wants to start collecting and putting it into a trust account there's three houses total I just want the one collected for rent if I refuse to give up that rent and the renters and the tenants still pay me can I be in trouble

Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 18, 2020

I believe you asked this question previously. The answer to your question depends solely on the language in your particular trust. If the trust says you are entitled to the rent, then you won't get in trouble. If the trust does not say you are entitled to the rent, you could be sued. A lawyer... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Hi i inherited 3 houses from my grandma I'm collecting rent for one of them is that legal

Is it legal for me to collect the rent and is it legal for the trustee successor to take that rent away from me and put it in a trust account until it's in my name... I have been collecting rent for the past year the trustee successor is wanting to step in now and take over and hire a property... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Dec 18, 2020

Ideally there should be a written agreement between the successor trustee and the property manager, that outlines the obligations of both parties.

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is...
Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How do I know if I'm suppose to get money from my grandpa passing

Daniel kaher resided in Pacifica ca. Died in same he had money that I thought was to go to me and my brother and my 2 aunts

Martha Bronson
Martha Bronson answered on Nov 28, 2020

You would know because the requires the administrator give you notice of the fact that you are a beneficiary, unless no one has your current address. I would suggest that you contact the county of death and check the court's case index to see if a case has been opened. Best of Luck.

View More Answers

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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Does a co-signer of a home need waiver of bond by heir or beneficiary to refinance?

Our father passed away a year ago and left no Will. One of my brother did co-sign on the home two years ago. He is now looking to refinance and is asking to sign the forms to do so, which if I understand would make him the executor of the estate. Is that required to be able to refinance the home or... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Nov 16, 2020

Is the property in a trust? Revocable or irrevocable? If revocable, heirs/ beneficiaries don't have any rights yet unless the other co-signor passed away and made that portion irrevocable. Since the question is specific to a co-signor, you also need to clarify if the other co-signor(s) is in... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: When a person with dementia signs a trust how is competence determined?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 15, 2020

If they are suffering from dementia it probably indicates lack of testamentary capacity. However, if that person has periods of lucidity that indicates the ability to do estate planning, then the document may be valid. You need to get with an estates attorney in the area where the person in... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation and Probate for California on
Q: Living trust amendment not signed before death but...Dad gave power to amend to trustee ???

15401. (a) A trust that is revocable by the settlor or any other person may be revoked in whole or in part by any of the following methods:

(1) By compliance with any method of revocation provided in the trust instrument.

(2) By a writing, other than a will, signed by the settlor or... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 13, 2020

If a trust amendment has not been signed by the trustor or an agent acting on behalf of the trustor under a power of attorney before the death of the trustor, it is ineffective.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My dad died before he signed amended trust, even though confirmed with estate planner, during covid?

My Dad received amended copy of his living trust 3 days before he died and had not signed them. He did contact estate attorney and confirmed draft. I don't believe signing them was exclusive, but I do know that my dad would want his last wishes honored. I know there must be mitigating... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 13, 2020

If he didn’t sign the amendment, it’s ineffective. It doesn’t need to be notarized, but it does need to be signed by the trustmaker. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but to tell you otherwise is just wishful thinking.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How do you find out when a law was enacted? We have a will signed in 1968.

Witness declaration does not include "under penalty of perjury" verbiage. Drafting attorney says it was not required in 1968. Probate examiner says will is not self-proving. All witnesses are deceased.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 11, 2020

It's true. The words "under penalty of perjury" were not required in 1968, but the probate examiner is also correct (at least they are interpreting the rules these days): to be a self-proving Will, the magic words must appear in the witness attestation clause, or you'll have to... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law, Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: May my father legally declare on taxes rental income from renting out rooms in his house, if he transfers house to me?

My widowed elderly father and I live together in his house. He isn't doing well healthwise. Without going into detail, he will be seeing a lawyer to transfer the house to me. Ownership will go from 100% in his name to 100% in my name.

After the transfer, I will be in the unusual... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Nov 8, 2020

You are definitely jumping the gun with this transfer which will result in potential re-assessment, increased property taxes and potential capital gains taxes to your father. Additionally there is the loan. The lender may call the loan balance if your father transfers the property out of his... Read more »

View More Answers

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.