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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: See more information below

I'm looking into a shared living trust with my wife to cover property we own in California, and have a number of particular questions:

1 - in a revocable shared living trust, is it the law in California that after BOTH the original grantors die that the trust must become irrevocable? Is... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 26, 2019

Yes, in a traditional revocable living trust created by husband and wife, the trust would become irrevocable and non-amendable upon the death of one or both of them depending on how the trust is structured, not as a matter of law or convention, rather because the right to revoke and amend a trust... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on

Q: Can i be Admin/pttioner of Est & also file850 prbt code to quiet title? bcuz A home incld in estate is mine,not decedant

Is it ok to be Administrator of Estate if i have conflict with the decendant ownership to a property? This is whats going on....My uncle is the only living son and he figured this was an easy way to inherit something. By changing title to one of my properties into his mothers name who was dying.... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 16, 2019

In California, you can file a petition for the appointment of an independent administrator of the estate but you cannot be the administrator because you have a conflict of interest.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Foreclosure and Probate for California on

Q: Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed and sold a property after the owner died. Can they do that without waiting for a probate ?

After the owner died the caretaker stayed living in the house. Caretaker changed all locks and changed phone number. After the house got sold by bank the caretaker received money to move out and she took decendants personal belongings, valuables and all furniture with no accountability. Caretaker... Read more »

Kenneth Sisco answered on Jun 15, 2019

Few things happen automatically, without someone putting things in motion. Most likely, Wells Fargo did everything required of them by the law and the Trust Deed under which the home was sold. It is up to an heir, a friend, or even a creditor to open a probate if they have some interest is doing... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: I live in California. I am disabled. If Both parents pass without a will., Will I inherit their homes automatically?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jun 12, 2019

That depends on whether or not you have siblings. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are disabled.

If one spouse dies intestate (without a Will) then all of the community property passes to the surviving spouse. If that surviving spouse then dies intestate, the estate is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on

Q: Can a court judgement be vacated later if it was determined that all of the witnesses and the lawyer lied in court?

There was a court trial back in 2006 about a property that was gifted to a beneficiary. The other siblings filed in probate court to have the property returned to the trust and won. Later it was determined that the siblings that filed the petition lied in their testimony to the settlor on the... Read more »

Richard Samuel Price answered on May 31, 2019

Why did you wait 13 years?!?! Any statute of limitations or right to appeal is expired.

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 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 Estate Planning for California on

Q: Can anyone advise me where I may be able to find a living trust,I was told it was lost,never had a chance to view it .

To Whom it may concern, thank you in advance for responding to this message,I need to honestly know,if there is any way,I can track down a living trust, my Dad passed away and because at the time, I was in the US military special ops unit,I was unaware of his passing, once the mission was... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on May 24, 2019

There is no good answer to this one.

Are you sure he had a Trust? Did he have the house titled in the name of a Trust? Or bank accounts?

It is possible that the bank or brokerage house will have a copy if he held an account there in the name of the Trust.

It is remotely...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Estate Planning for California on

Q: CAN A LIZ PENENCE BE FILED AGAINST PROPERTY IN AN LLC THAT IS IN DISPUTE

A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED FOR ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE. IF THE PROPERTY ASSETS ARE FROZEN WHO DO THE TENENTS PAY RENT TO

Thomas A. Grossman answered on May 23, 2019

Without knowing all the facts, I would assume that rent payments should be put in a trust at the bank, to be released when the final results of the court hearing are known.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on

Q: Can HOA dues be collected after death?

My mother has property in California that is essentially worthless (no house, just land), but she is still paying her HOA dues and taxes. When she passes, can I close out her estate and abandon the property completely, or can the HOA and tax collector force me to pay dues and taxes? If so, do I... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 15, 2019

If you do not want to keep your mother's land your plan to let it go will work just fine. Or she can sell it now.

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?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on May 14, 2019

When someone dies intestate (without a Will), then their property is divided per the statute.

The surviving spouse inherits all community property.

The spouse and children share the separate property of the deceased, with the surviving spouse getting at least one-third no matter how...
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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 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

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: Four Morgan Stanley IRA accounts are listed in schedule "A", in a Trust.

Four Morgan Stanley IRA accounts are listed in schedule "A", in a Trust. Those accounts are still at Morgan

Stanley, but I noticed that the account numbers listed today, are different from when the Trust was

established in 2005. Is this a problem? If Morgan Stanley can paper trail... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on May 6, 2019

That depends ...

First of all, you almost never want IRAs or 401Ks in a Trust. Those sorts of retirement plans have named beneficiaries so that the money automatically goes to the beneficiary upon the death of the owner. Having the IRAs in a Trust serves no purpose.

You could...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: Hi Mr.Pulley not sure if you remember me my name is Vikki Crawford it's an emergency please call me @ 209.302.2091.

I have questions about my property

Richard Samuel Price answered on May 4, 2019

The best way for you to contact a specific attorney is to look up their contact information from the State Bar of California website: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/

You should contact him directly by phone or email.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on

Q: My sister took out a second mortgage out on my mom's house and at the time she had dementia ? Is,am I liable or is she

Yes I do as I'm living in this house I'm very angry that I have to deal with this now especially at a time like his, also this loan is/was for $400,000.00. Please help me sort this out as I'm disabled with my hips and I have a hard time getting around. She spent this money on vacations, new cars... Read more »

Richard Samuel Price answered on Apr 30, 2019

Your sister may have commited financial elder abuse and she may be required to either reimburse the estate or have the $400,000 in loans credtied towards her inheritance. Contact a local attorney for a full consultation.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Health Care Law for California on

Q: Will California deny a long term care application if asset money was properly gifted?

I am my 95 year old aunt's attorney in fact. She is in an assisted living home in Culver City, CA. I need to apply for long term care for her. She has some cash in the bank, but not enough to pay her assisted living bill which is in arrears. California goes back 30 months and says they will deny... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Apr 29, 2019

You CANNOT gift the money away or sell anything below fair market value without causing a penalty period for Medi-Cal to cover her nursing care bill. You can spend it but you cannot give it away.

You are not in any way liable for your aunt's care or her bills.

A nursing home can...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: RE: CA Probate Code 12003 - What is an acceptable interest rate?

CA Probate Code 12003:

If a general pecuniary devise, including a general pecuniary devise in trust, is not distributed within one year after the testator's death, the devise bears interest thereafter.

John B. Palley answered on Apr 25, 2019

I believe 7% is the statutory amount.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: After the courts approved everything why would the state of California ask for a check before we're able to use money

Richard Samuel Price answered on Apr 22, 2019

If there are any amounts owed to the State of California, such as for taxes, those amounts must be paid before any other debts are paid and any heirs to an estate receive their inheritance.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: I inherited about $100K from my great uncle when he passed away. My parents have always controlled the money.

My great uncle passed away when I was 7 and left me an inheritance. My parents have always controlled the money, telling me that it was "money for college". They spent $10K of it on a year of a private middle school they sent me to when I was 12-13. They spent the remainder on three years of my... Read more »

William John Light answered on Apr 22, 2019

By your own admission your parents spent the inheritance on private school and your college tuition. How can you say you have "never seen the money"? You got the money. It was invested in your education. Unless there is something left over, it sounds like your parents acted responsibly.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: What paper do l file to have my Granny's will put inprobate

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Apr 21, 2019

You need to go your county Probate Court's web site and they will give you very exact instructions.

There are three different levels of Probate process in California. Which level you use depends on what assets your grandmother left behind. If she left no real estate and only moderate...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: I want to ask probate judge to release some funds from blocked acct. but we dont have any bills to pay or people to pay.

Can i still ask to release some funds even if there is no bills to pay in this probate? I am Administrator.

Richard Samuel Price answered on Apr 18, 2019

If this is a probate matter for a decedent's estate, then you can file a petition for a preliminary distribution of the estate, but if there are no bills to pay, then you should just file the final distribution.

If there is a blocked account, then you'll have to file the appropriate...
Read more »

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