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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My husband will not set up a trust, our assets are about 1.75 million. What happens if he should suddenly die?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 24, 2021

Generally, and understanding the details matter: Assuming all your property is community property, and he has no will, his estate (his half of your community property) will go through probate. Probate is a court process. You will receive the property, minus costs of administration. If there is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for California on
Q: Mom has dementia. Husband refuses to pay for care. How can she have access to community property to pay for her care?

Due to Covid and mom's progressing condition, she is no longer living with dad in their shared home. Dad controls rents from RE rentals, and has made more money than mom. He will not pay for any care. My sisters and I are struggling to pay for mom's care. I have power of attorney to... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jul 22, 2021

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I am not a family law attorney, but I can tell you this: Your mother owns half of the community property in the marriage and all of her separate property.

Community property is property that was earned during marriage (assuming there is no...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Banking for California on
Q: How do I become beneficiary over my deceased dad's estate cause my mother was the bene but she died unexpectedly no wil

I've taken over his asbestos trust since my mother passed but the attorney didn't have the affidavit notarized stating that I have been made beneficiary over the trust. Now a bank has closed my acct since March 2021and refuse to release the funds back to the other bank who sent my... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jul 22, 2021

You may be using the wrong legal terms and, if so, it's OK, but it just makes it harder for a lawyer to know what you're asking. A "beneficiary" is a person who benefits by receiving assets from someone else's trust. In other words, a beneficiary inherits assets as a... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother died. She left no will. I am only child. My daughter got her to sign POA. Now has taken all??

'Nana' recently died quite suddenly, and unexpectedly. I am her only child, and I have two children. From the time that we discovered she had brain tumors, to when she died, was only one week. She was very confused and disorientated. During this week, my daughter got her to sign a P.O.A.,... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Jul 20, 2021

My condolences for the loss of your mother. You most likely do have recourse, but you should seek the assistance of a trust and estates litigator as soon as possible. Even if the quitclaim was valid, which likely it was not, that deed would have applied only to the home and not the contents or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law and Social Security for California on
Q: I would like to shelter my lump-sum SSDI payment from further taxation. I am currently in an "uncollectible" status.

A lawyer friend suggested an irrevocable trust. Does that make sense?

Thank you,

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 17, 2021

It is not clear what “further taxation” concerns you. Is it income tax? Estate tax? Real property taxes? Something else? It could be that you yourself do not understand the taxation of SSDI benefits. You should consult with a tax advisor about that. Most likely you will not need any kind of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Our executor has taken the insurance claim $$ we need to rebuild after storm. I purchased, paid for, & own the insurance

I need to know if she can legally do this. I bought the policy, paid for it, signed all the paperwork. It took us months to file the claim, and just as the check was issued she had her lawyer call to declare her as “the contact”. This would not have happened as it did if our agent was involved,... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jul 13, 2021

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. If you have already demanded the executor repay the money she has inappropriately taken, you can have a lawyer send her another demand letter. But my guess is that you will need to file a Petition in the Probate Court. Once a probate matter has been... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Immigration Law, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Estate Planning for California on
Q: If I’m a US citizen does that mean I’m also US resident even if I have residency abroad?

My Grandparents have made a condition on their Trust that no funds should go to issues of my Mom who are not permanent residents of the United States. I have been living in Germany under temporary residency permits and now I’m in California considering moving back to US now in order to protect... Read more »

Agnes Jury
Agnes Jury answered on Jul 9, 2021

The term "permanent resident" of the U.S. in immigration law context refers to someone who is NOT a U.S. citizen but has obtained the right to permanently reside in the U.S. (a.k.a. Green card) and is physically present in the U.S. typically at least 6 months out of any year (so not to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Dad died & had unpaid loan . I got sued and now have a lien on my property is that legal

He used home for collateral then dide before pay it off .. the property is still in my grams name .. but I was sued for the loan he had wirh someone else now I have. Alien on my property.. he never put the property in his name it’s always been in my grandmas

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Jul 7, 2021

If your grandmother's home is still in her name, and I'm assuming she is deceased, you must file for probate. It is the only way title to the property can pass to her heirs, typically children, then grandchildren. It's not clear when you say there's a lien on your property.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My parents living trust was sent back to them from the recorders office stating it was too dark to read. What do I do ?

5 things were checked off in the box for them to fix before the trust can be filed and the entire package was completed and signed when the agent was present. I don't know who to contact , can you explain to me who I can contact to help.

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jun 26, 2021

A lawyer would need to know why you are trying to record the trust because that isn’t the normal procedure. Does the County Assessor want to see the trust g(as opposed to the County Recorder)? Most estate planning lawyers should be able to help you with administering the trust (assuming your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: The trustee is discriminating against several benificaries and will not inform them of details of an accepted offer.

When I have asked to be informed, I'm denied any info other than I'll receive a settlement statement at close. The trustee is making errors and not letting anyone help. I'm a real estate Broker with knowledge. What can be done to receive information?

Jackie Marie Howard
Jackie Marie Howard answered on Jun 26, 2021

Get counsel to assist you in asserting your rights as a beneficiary. If it cannot be resolved informally, Court may be necessary to get the trustee's accounting and report, as well as, possibly remove the trustee due to breach of fiduciary duties.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: A friend died recently and told me was leaving me a truck and trailer. His kids' mother rifled his room...

...and took the titles to everything. She hasnt been in his life for decades but knew his elderly mother who my friend was caring for upon his death. Do I have any recourse? I know he wanted me to have these items as we were good friends for a long time and were close until his demise. He knew his... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jun 26, 2021

It depends on whether he left a trust or will detailing his desires. Most Americans say they will get a trust or will “someday”, but never end up doing it before passing, which leaves a mess for their loved ones to clean up. I’ve read different statistics, but somewhere around 60-70% of our... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: When a trust distributes after someone dies, does it need to go to probate court -- how long should it take?
Julie King
Julie King answered on Jun 24, 2021

Most trust administrations do not need to involve the probate court, but there are exceptions. For example, if someone had a trust but failed to put $166,250 or more worth of certain assets into the trust, then the assets outside of the trust would need to go through the probate court process and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I need to have translation of the Estate of Heggstad (1993), 16 Cal. App.4th 943
Ernest Charles Payne Jr
Ernest Charles Payne Jr answered on Jun 24, 2021

Do you mean you need an attorney to file a Heggstad petition for you? Or you want an explanation of the case? I don’t understand your question.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation and Probate for California on
Q: Have I been disinherited for not having a conditioned set in Trust at the time it was created or can fulfill now?

My Grandparents made their Living Trust in 1993 while my Mom and I were living in Iran. In their Trust they Place a condition that my Mom has to leave Iran and become a permanent US residence before getting equal share, further it instructs no distribution to be made to children of my Mom who are... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jun 15, 2021

Unfortunately, the only way to answer your question is to read the trust. Taking a few lines out of a lengthy document is not enough information for lawyers to give their thoughts and impressions because certain terms will be defined in your document and using a different definition will change the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: When a Trust gets restated is the initial Trust still have power as a separate Trust?

My Grandparents made their Living Trust in 1993. In 1995 my Grandmother passes away , in 1998 my Grandfather makes some changes to Trust as a survivor and his Trust is known as Trust B while my Grandma’s is known as decedent Trust “A”. My Grandfather passed away in 2007. Trust A instructs... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jun 14, 2021

I suggest you hire an attorney to perform a detailed reading of the trust, write a description of the trust provisions, and explain the interaction between the trust components.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: brother was not named a successor trustee but petitioned and won. The trust required him to have our vote but went asked

My brother recently was nominated by the court as successor trustee after he filed a petition. The trust instructs that if the nominated trustee is deceased or unwilling a successor trustee will be nominated after receiving majority of the beneficiaries vote however the beneficiaries were not... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Jun 13, 2021

You need to have an attorney look at both the trust document and the petition your brother filed. You seem to raise valid objections to your brother's appointment as successor trustee. If you were properly served with your brother's petition, you would have had to file an objection to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What all needs to be filed to remove a trustee in CA
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jun 10, 2021

I'm assuming you mean an involuntary removal of a trustee. For that, you'll need to file a petition with the probate court in the county where the trustee conducts its business and prove to the court's satisfaction of the need for the removal by clear and convincing evidence of... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: File a petition to remove Power of Attorney in California

What forms do I file a petition with the Probate Department to remove a power of attorney based on financial elder abuse? I have already contacted APS and local police, they are telling me to request the courts for the POA to hand over financial records so the POA can be removed due to the abuse.... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on May 30, 2021

Unfortunately, this situation will likely require a conservatorship, which is a court-monitored process that can and will revoke the Power of Attorney. If the older adult had a trust in place, it's possible that a conservatorship would not be necessary. Either way, please consult an elder... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
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?

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on May 27, 2021

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...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate, Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can a person file probate lost will claim 10 years after they used same false documents in 2011 only to fail to show up

But took all assets and disappeared. Now back with same will after i paid off house and filed in blind behind my back duing lock down virus

Julie King
Julie King answered on May 26, 2021

It is difficult to know how to respond to your question without more information. Certainly, if someone has falsified a document and used it in court, there is no way a judge would allow the document to be used UNLESS no one testified or proved that the document was fake. On a different point, if... Read more »

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