Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Does a Revocable Living Trust need to be filed with the County Recorder's office in California

The Trust does contain real property (a home)

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Aug 14, 2020

Generally, no. The trust agreement does not need to be filed (recorded) with the county recorder's office, but any deed which is intended to convey legal ownership of real property to the trust needs to be recorded. It's generally not good enough to simply list the property in a... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My dad passed away. He has a trust. He has 4 daughters. 3 are named with their children. I am not. Fight it? or not?

Document says I am specifically not named. What information do I need to provide to fight this and get named in will?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Aug 11, 2020

If you are specifically named as getting nothing, then all you can do is challenge the mental capacity of your father to make that decision. If he was in his full senses, then he has the right to exclude you if he wants to.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: What rights do I have from my deceased mother's vacant real estate if I have greedy siblings?

I've been the sole caretaker and tax payer of the property for about 10 year's (at my mother's request), before and after she died, and I'd like to claim ownership. Problem is, the deed is missing, and my mother was only named as a co-owner by my grandparents before they died.... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Aug 9, 2020

Deeds are recorded in the County Recorder's office. You can contact your local Realtor to do a property search for you based on the address and get a copy of the existing deed. Can you claim the property as your own? Not as against your greedy siblings who will fight you if they think there... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Can successor co-trustees name successor trustees if this power isn't specifically given in the trust?

Settlors created the trust in 1988 naming themselves trustees and then their two adult children, a son and a daughter. The primary trust asset is property in California. The two "children" are now in their 80's. The daughter lives out of state and has never participated in the... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Aug 4, 2020

If the 'children' are mentally competent to the extent that they would understand that they are granting a power under the trust, and the trustees also have enumerated powers under the trust that include the power to engage an agent, or attorney-in-fact, (power of attorney); you might... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Divorce and Domestic Violence for California on
Q: My husband has hidden our marital assets in a "place where you will never find them", a direct quote from him.

He has told me that I am having an affair, am planning to kill him and steal everything from him. I am innocent of these accusations. I need to leave him but cannot afford a lawyer. Our home is still in both our names. We have been married 20 years. What can I do? I am in California and am very... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 2, 2020

I am sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you are ready to file for divorce. Assuming this is the case after your divorce has been filed and is underway, you can begin the process of what is called Discovery. Through Discovery, each party has to disclose all of the information about all... Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Gma died my father passed away before her and my dad was only son and I am only child. Can I get my dads portion?

I have 4 aunts which got a large portion and I got 10,000 out of hundreds of thousands

Genene N. Dunn
Genene N. Dunn answered on Jul 30, 2020

The biggest question is did your grandmother have a will or trust? If so, the answer lies there. Also, if you dad was the only child of this grandmother who are the aunts? If there are aunts then I would assume they are also children of the grandmother and they would have a right to the estate as... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Grandpa passed away 14 days ago, he was a widow. Uncle now says everything is his & demands access to our house. Can he?

My mother also passed away approx 8 years ago. We've been living with grandfather for last 5 years. He's only be gone for 14 days, we haven't even had the funeral. Uncle keeps just showing up whenever he wants to our house. I woke up to him asleep in his car in our driveway yesterday morning.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Jul 28, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like your uncle is making a hard time even worse. Let's assume your uncle is correct and he "gets everything" including the house belonging to your grandfather. That being the case, he would still have to follow California's landlord-tenant... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: If I reside in California but my family all live in Pennsylvania, in what state should I make out a Will?

I am a 50 year old woman living in California. I never married, have no kids and minimal assets (I own my car and have about $1000 in the bank). Both of my parents and my siblings all live in Pennsylvania. I'm starting the process of "getting my affairs in order" and think the first... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 27, 2020

California. You live here and that is where the Will would be Probated.

Your estate sounds like it would use Simplified Probate (less than $160,000 and no real estate) so the Will won't go thorugh "real" Probate anyway.

View More Answers

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Insurance Bad Faith and Probate for California on
Q: Is a son or daughter of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy entitled to the proceeds if the the benefiary dies?

And son or daughter is not listed as a beneficiary on the policy?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 26, 2020

The money goes to the estate of the deceased beneficiary. Then it is distributed based on their Will or the law (if they died without one).

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I have a question about the retirement account of a deceased spouse.

In 2001 I married xxx, and she took my name. She died of leukemia in 2005. She had no will, but also no significant property so whatever she had just came to me. From time to time over the years I’ve received mail addressed to xxx from the IBEW (she had been an electrician at one time before I... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 24, 2020

First of all, tell Fidelity that she passed away. If it was a retirmenet account then there is a beneficiary named by her and Fidelity will want to send that person the money; no fuss, no muss. If that person is NOT YOU then you might want to get angry if the money was earned during your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law and Banking for California on
Q: Transferring large sums of money to US citizen spouse

Here is the situations. Husband and wife are both US residents. Husband is a Green Card holder, wife is a US Citizen. Do we need to file any tax form when the husband transfer large assets assets (e.g. money and stocks for $300K) to the US citizen wife? is it best to use a joint account or can the... Read more »

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Jul 22, 2020

This question would be best answered by a tax expert so that they can advise you of any possible gift tax repercussions.

Tax advice disclosure: To ensure compliance with Treasury Department Circular 230, we inform you that unless otherwise specified, any federal tax advice contained in this...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My sibling has moved in with my elderly mother. She would like something stated in her trust that he has to vacate the

property after her passing. He does not pay rent or have a lease. Can I do this without paying a lawyer. Funds are tight. Thanks

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Jul 22, 2020

Revising/amending a trust without the legal advice of an attorney is not advisable. Even if the trust is amended, you should note that your sibling may still overstay his or her welcome. The successor trustee may have to file an eviction case to get the sibling out. Even relatives living for free... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What is the process for appointing someone as a substitute in the case of property shares in a living trust?

My grandmother left her home to her five children in a living trust, and my mother and uncle are requesting to leave their shares to me. The property cannot be sold unless all five children agree to sell it, and currently my mother and uncle are living at the property with myself. They would like... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 22, 2020

Is the property still held by the Trust? If it is, then only the Trust can say how it may be passed.

If the Trust closed down then the Trustee should have deeded the house to the five siblings; then if they want to pass you their 20% interest they can do so with a deed.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Has Arkansas revamp their HIV laws or are they still what is printed here on this website

I'm a student at Delta College in Stockton California writing a paper on the laws in regards to HIV and I need to know are the laws in Arkansas current or have they been revised

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 21, 2020

Google it. Post your inquiry in Arkansas, not California.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: married person has debt in only their name, but there is a trust, once they die is the spouse responsible for that debt

MIL mother in law just died. FIL Father in law, is in a rehab facility they both caught covid a day apart. There is a trust stating all assets go to FIL if MIL passes. The family is worried about credit card bills only in MIL name. Do we notify the CC companies of her death? Will her debt be FIL... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 19, 2020

Are you writing questions for the Bar exam? Sorry for your loss. You need to consult with an attorney specializing in Probate and Estates. MIL estate is the NET of her assets minus her liabilities. She cannot just pass the plus to the FIL and avoid all her creditors, but you need help... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Do estate lawyers need marriage licenses or birth certificates to setup a living trust?

My parents are setting up a living trust and they stated that the estate lawyer is requesting my marriage license and my children's birth certificates "establish family lineage". I feel that it is my parents just trying to see if my wife and I are actually married and if my name is... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jul 17, 2020

No, there’s absolutely no reason why an estate planning lawyer needs that kind of information from you.

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Do I have the right to a copy of my deceased parents will of whom my brother has failed to give me?

My brother is the appointed executor of the will. He failed to let me see it or even give me a copy. That goes with both of my parents death certificates. I also have questions regarding the estate left behind.

It has been nearly 1 year now and I've asked him for it and no response.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 17, 2020

Sorry for your loss, and sibling troubles. You have a right to know what is in the Last Will and Testament of your Parents, if there was one. As for Death Certificates, you can obtain copies of them from the County Recorder's office where your parents were residing before they passed on, but... Read more »

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Estate Planning for California on
Q: Victim of unlawful retaliatory eviction. All my fam stuff sent 2 dump. Spent 5yrs homeless on streets bc of it. Options?

I had sec 8. He sued me for back rent I didn't owe. Before we made it to court, his lawyer's office called to tell me they found documents proving my innocence and they were dropping the suit but landlord wanted me to pay his attorney fees anyway, I declined. Short time later, the... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 17, 2020

Very sorry to hear you had to go through these problems. The problem that I have regarding what you describe is that there are limitations on how much you can delay on bringing an action based on most of these facts. Ordinary torts are 2 years, Fraud is 3 years. I am not aware of any statutes for... Read more »

View More Answers

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Adding beneficiary

Hello,

If i am adding a beneficiary to my trust and wish to assure them I will not remove them as beneficiary ever, is there a legal agreement that can be signed stating they and I must mutually agree before they can be removed?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 16, 2020

So you want to protect them from you ever changing your mind?

They only way I can think of doing that would be to have a new irrevocable trust (I am assuming your current one is a Living/Revocable Trust). As long as you are alive you can always change your Living Trust.

You could...
Read more »

View More Answers

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: if a will says to split the assets but the asset is in another sibling name, does she have to honer the will?

the asset is a home that is now in my sisters name.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 15, 2020

If the deed is in two names, the person who died and your sister, then the home probably is now 100% your sister's. She must get the old deed transferred into her own name exclusively. To do this right she should have an attorney. It is not expensive. The first deed should be checked by an... 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.