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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Can a verbal lease agreement stand for a non-spouse of 30 years after the partner dies?

A man made a verbal commitment to his non-martial spouse of 30 years to allow her to live in his home that is willed to his daughter until she dies, free of charge. The daughter verbally agreed to this agreement with her father, but is now reneging. She is requiring the surviving non-marital spouse... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 24, 2022

A good theory of law that would likely apply is what is called "equitable estoppel."

"The venerable doctrine of equitable estoppel or estoppel in pais, which rests firmly upon a foundation of conscience and fair dealing, [fn. omitted] finds its classical statement in the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My question is complicated but maybe easy but hopefully someone of you can help me out or give me advice I’ll really app

I am only allowed 1 “weekend”a month (1st weekend of every month) which is not even a full weekend just one night and couple hours next day. We don’t have set schedule never communicates the time off pick up and drop offs. I either pick up or drop her off we each do one of the other was an... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 23, 2022

You can file a motion to modify custody and justify it by the facts that you presented here.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: planning to move out of california to another state - should I amend my existing living trust before or after ?
Julie King
Julie King
answered on Sep 22, 2022

You should have a lawyer in the state into which you are moving review the trust and any power of attorney you have, since those documents could require additional or different language to be added. It doesn't matter if you meet with the lawyer before or after you move if you are certain that... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for California on
Q: My son had 1 years worth of 401k from employer when he passed away along with debt. As next of kin do I pay all bills?

California residents

Howard E. Kane
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Howard E. Kane
answered on Sep 21, 2022

I am so sorry to hear about your son's passing. Did your son designate a beneficiary for his 401K? Was that his only asset? If so, the 401K should pass directly to his named beneficiary, and it would be difficult for creditors to levy that asset. Notice to the creditors of your son's... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: If I have my name on the deed of the house and so does my grandma when my grandma passes away can my aunt take the home?
James R. Dickinson
James R. Dickinson
answered on Sep 20, 2022

It would depend on how the home was held. If a property is held in joint tenancy, the decedent's share passes to the surviving joint tenant. This is known as the right of survivorship. If owners of the property hold title as tenants in common, then the decedent's share would pass in... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I am a beneficiary and successor co-trustee in a family trust. The other trustees are threatening to exclude me;

We are feeding and my sibs insist they can not give me my inheritance, if they choose not to. Can I prevent this?

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Sep 20, 2022

If the trust names you as a co-trustee and beneficiary, then the other trustees cannot exclude you. Trustees are obligated by law to follow the terms of the trust. If trustees ignore the trust and do whatever they so desire, they can be sued for breach of their duties. Tell your siblings that they... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I am the last surviving member of my family, do I need to share my inheritance with my parents grandchildren?
Rebecca Sommer
Rebecca Sommer
answered on Sep 19, 2022

This question is a little confusing so I'll do my best to answer the different ways it could be interpreted.

If you're asking if you have to leave your own personal estate to your parents grandchildren, the answer is no. You can choose to leave your estate to whoever you want, but...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Shouldn't my brother be paying me rent since he is continuing to live in the house after my mom's death?

He has been living off her pension for 12 years and took over her finances. We had a will done in 2006 which was 50/50 between my brother and I and in 2020 my brother had my mom do a new will giving him 60 and me 40 making him the executor and hid it from me for two years. He is selling and... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Sep 18, 2022

Since your mom owned a home, I am going to assume the total value of all of your mother’s assets exceeds the probate limit. That means your brother or you MUST file a Petition in Probate Court in order to transfer title to the property from your mom to both of you, unless title to the home was in... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Is it possible to leave a house in a trust after the owner of the house passes (in California
Howard E. Kane
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Howard E. Kane
answered on Sep 16, 2022

From your questions, I'm assuming the property was properly funded into a valid trust prior to passing away. If so, I highly recommend reading the relevant trust document provisions to see if there is any particular directive regarding the disposition of this asset. Frankly, it's... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Is it possible to leave a house in a trust after the owner of the house passes (in California
Julie King
Julie King
answered on Sep 18, 2022

Once someone dies, the trust becomes unchangeable (irrevocable) simply because the “owner” of the trust is no longer around to change it as the person sees fit. If the trust in your case has an attachment (usually called Schedule “A”) that lists all the person’s assets and that attachment... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: If I was with someone for 13 yrs and he passed away we had animals together do. I HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO THEM.

We had nothing in writing just his verbal wishes

William John Light
William John Light
answered on Sep 14, 2022

If you jointly owned the animals, then you either still jointly own the animals with his Estate; or you continue to own your interest, and his interest passed to you upon his death.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Does a beneficiary have equity rights to insurance settlement proceeds received by the estate prior to grantors dea

In California a gift (a classic car) is granted via living trust, then is totally destroyed in a fire before the grantors death whereby a $39,000 insurance claim is paid to the grantor/estate. Subsequently the trust is not amended still reflecting the gift to the beneficiary at the grantors time... Read more »

Rebecca Sommer
Rebecca Sommer
answered on Sep 12, 2022

The outcome will depend on the language in the trust document providing the gift. Generally, if a specifically listed item is given to a specific person, if the item no longer exists at the time of the decedent's death, then the gift fails. For example, "To my niece MARY SMITH I give my... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Revocable Trust created in Florida, now is irrevocable trust, both beneficiary, trustee live in CA. Jurisdiction?

Revocable trust was created in Florida but has now become a irrevocable trust. Both the trustee with financial power of attorney and the beneficiary reside in California.What state has jurisdiction? The trustee has not contacted the beneficiary and has not responded to any emails, calls requesting... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 7, 2022

Most likely California, where decedent died.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Revocable Trust created in Florida, now is irrevocable trust, both beneficiary, trustee live in CA. Jurisdiction?

Revocable trust was created in Florida but has now become a irrevocable trust. Both the trustee with financial power of attorney and the beneficiary reside in California.What state has jurisdiction? The trustee has not contacted the beneficiary and has not responded to any emails, calls requesting... Read more »

Howard E. Kane
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Howard E. Kane
answered on Sep 18, 2022

I would review the trust document in detail. Oftentimes, jurisdiction is may be dictated in the trust document. However, as a practical matter, since both the trustee and the beneficiary live in California, no one should object to California having jurisdiction.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation and Probate for California on
Q: My grandma's died in 2015,I've lived in her home for7 years after her death and now some people came and told me to move

What do I do now .she also left me papers that are legalized saying the home is mine

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Sep 6, 2022

I'm surprised your grandmother's estate (her assets left behind) has not gone through the Probate Court by now. If your grandmother had a Trust stating her desires, then whatever your grandmother said in that document will control what happens to her property, and your family most likely... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Found a promissory note signed by my mother in-law regarding the family property in Hemet California.

My mother in-law passed away a few years ago. She and her husband (step-father to my husband) resided in the property that originally belonged to her parents. We just uncovered a promissory note regarding the family wishes that the property remain in the "family" should she pass away... Read more »

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 4, 2022

Likely not. First, this promissory note would have to be either handwritten or properly drafted as a Will -- e.g., have two disinterested witnesses.

Second, a statement of intention is usually not a valid testamentary disposition. The language has to generally be more clear.

Third,...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Can a Succ. trustee, who is also a beneficiary, file an objection to the trust and still serve as trustee?

If so would they need a separate attorney or would the trust attorney do it for them.

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 4, 2022

A Trustee is duty bound to administer the trust as it is written, just like an Executor is obligated to administer a Will as written. The Trustee or Executor may petition a court for instructions if there is something about the trust or will that is unclear, but if he wants to challenge a trust or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for California on
Q: can ex wife receive $$ from deceased ex husband if that husband has remarried

Can ex wife collect any inheritance from deceased ex husband if husband has remarried?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Aug 30, 2022

Yes, depending upon the estate plan set up. Anybody can inherit anything with the proper estate plan. That said, the preference of intestate succession changes upon dissolution of marriage.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: In CA if all beneficiaries waive their claim, what happens to the irrevocable trust. Does it get terminated
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Aug 30, 2022

An irrevocable trust can become a revocable trust if all of the beneficiaries agree.

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How can i go about claiming my deceaced father inheritance if im the next of kin
John B. Palley
John B. Palley
answered on Aug 23, 2022

I am sorry for your loss. To claim an inheritance the procedures are different depending on who has the asset, what kind of asset and how title is held among other questions. I encourage you to contact a focused California probate attorney for more info. Good luck.

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