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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My wife is likely to pass soon due to cancer. Is there any benefit to getting a Trust in place for tax purposes?

We don't have a Will at present.

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jan 27, 2022

It is imperative that you hire an attorney to put a trust in place immediately, in order to avoid unnecessary tax implications, and to avoid the time and expense of Probate court.

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: Executor of unfunded trust would not inventory or fund trust after death
Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 27, 2022

Your question isn't clear to a lawyer because "executors" are the responsible people for Wills. "Trustees" are the responsible people for trusts. The trustee of the trust would not need to provide an inventory of what is in the trust because an "unfunded trust",... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for California on
Q: As next next of kin, do I have authority to secure property for decedent estranged from her only son, whereabouts???

Cousin passed (indigent), estranged from son lost to CPS and adopted; no other heirs but 4 cousins. Contacted through medical records, I was the closest. Can I legally act as agent to secure her property, make decisions, and conduct discovery for legal docs? Son expressed no interest in the estate... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 20, 2022

If your cousin had signed a Health Care Directive, that document would say who has the right to make her final arrangements. If you don't know whether she signed a Health Care Directive, the hospital may know and/or the Coroner may allow you to make the call. You can pay for the cremation and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Brothers suing me over house I live in. Our names on deed. Plan on evictingbme to sell

everyone off of the land.

If you chose the second option, the costs of evicting you and the rental value of the house for the entire time you’ve been there, plus attorneys fees, will be taken out of your share of the proceeds when the property is sold.

There is no option where... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 19, 2022

If the house was inherited by another person and you, then that other person has just as much right to the house as you do. So, by you taking 100% possession and not allowing the other owner to benefit from the inheritance, you are taking and using someone else's asset. Think of it this way:... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: Is there a way to claim a house from a trust and then transfer the deed of a house without it showing up on taxes?

A family member of mine was bequeathed a house from a living trust. He has not claimed it because he doesn’t work so he can get medi-cal to cover the medical care that he needs. Would he be able to claim it and transfer it to someone else without it affecting his qualifications for medical or his... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 19, 2022

No. Deeds are public records that anyone can see and receive a copy of simply by asking the County Recorder and paying the copying fee. Many counties have their deeds online for easy access. Also, be aware that there is a “look back period” before someone can qualify for some needs-based... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: How do my fiancé and I set up our financial plans and estate plans when he has a minor child by his late wife?

My fiancé and I live in California and are about 40 years old. We hope to marry and have children soon. He has one living ten year old son by late wife. I will likely need to reduce or even quit work to care for his child once we marry. My fiancé has significantly more money, including retirement... Read more »

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane answered on Jan 19, 2022

I agree with you that as a new couple, you need a financial plan to be put together with the assistance of a financial planner. I also recommend a pre-nuptial agreement aka "prenup" to address your commingling and financial planning concerns. Prenups are typically handled by family law... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Father has left his trust to 3 sons. Personal and commercial properties in the trust. Estate lawyer changed the prop

Properties in the name of one son, executor. Is the interest of the other brothers protected? He said he did this for tax purposes

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 19, 2022

First, please know that no one has an automatic right to another person’s assets. If a parent chooses not to give money to one child or another, the parent has that right — just like you have the right to choose to whom you want to give your assets. There is no law forcing anyone to give their... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: There is a court date of January 24, 2022 in Redding, CA superior court. My sister and I have been misinformed and

We were told that there were no more funds in our family trust. We took their word. Now we find out about a court hearing and we need to know what form or forms to fill out before Jan.20,

2022. I am next in line for co executor. But we really need to know what we need to do to enter... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Jan 18, 2022

I suggest you hire a lawyer with probate experience in the appropriate venue before the next court date.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. For specific advice about your...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: I am the trustee on my grandparents living trust. Who are their beneficiaries?

I am listed as the trustee after my mom who is deceased. My grandparents trust only lists their children, my mom (deceased) and my aunt. I can find nothing on the trust that lists a 'beneficiary'. I am assuming that my aunt is a beneficiary and is entitled to half the value of the... Read more »

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane answered on Jan 10, 2022

I'm sorry to hear about your mom's passing. I recommend that you have an attorney review the estate planning documents to help you understand the content. Due to COVID, it may be best to scan the documents so that they can be emailed to an attorney for review. It is also a good idea to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: For health reasons, a father wants to transfer full ownership to an adult son and daughter effective immediately.

There is a 2nd adult daughter that he is excluding. How can he do this? Will a quit claim deed suffice? I believe the house is free and clear. Hispanic family but full citizenship. Please advise me what to tell him or where I can send him for legal advice. He is definitely low income.

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jan 9, 2022

It’s almost always better to give real estate to children through a trust at death than to give it to them during the parent’s life because the taxes will be so much higher. If your home has not gone up in value since you bought it, or you have a high tax basis on the home, you can weigh the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My mother has a trust for her house. She has recently sold the house. If she passes away is the trust valid.

will the funds need to be disbursed to the people named in the trust. The house was the only item in the trust.

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane answered on Jan 6, 2022

Trusts and estate plans need maintenance just like a car or home. It sounds like your mom's estate plan needs some attention now that the house has been sold. A properly created trust typically remains valid even if no property is currently contained in the trust. Your mother can set up a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Estate Planning for California on
Q: what legal document do I need to get?

My girlfriend and I bought a house and she is the one who is on the title I have put $100,000 so far into this home increasing property value and plan to put much more into it. I am worried that if something happens and we split I will be out of everything I put in. What can I do to bind a contract... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 6, 2022

You are very wise to be concerned about this. There is more than one way to handle this, and the correct choice depends on a lot of factors that you should discuss with an attorney. Maybe you need to be put on title with a percentage interest in the house. Or, maybe you should have your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Our dad passed recently his home he owned is occupied by my exboyfriends and not sure what our options are

Is it legal for him to sell or take the home from the biological oldest daughter and keep or sell or rent it out??

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane answered on Jan 2, 2022

Your ex boyfriend cannot sell or take the home from the biological oldest daughter, especially without a court order to do so. If your father's property was in a Trust, then the Trust will say what happens to the house now that your father passed. If the property was not in a Trust, then I... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Contracts, Banking and Probate for California on
Q: Co-admin of intestate estate removed CA PROB §8500, is estate still liable for assignment of beneficial interest?

My brother took inheritance advances and then stopped communicating with myself and the court; he and his lawyer have since been removed under CA PROB §8500. I am now the only heir to the estate and would like to know if the estate will still be liable for the inheritance advances that my brother... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 30, 2021

Your question is not entirely clear because you are using some incorrect legal terms. The person in charge of administering an estate (the "Administrator" of the estate) is the person whose job it is to pay the decedent's final bills, ensure the final tax return is filed, and do many... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Can niece sue for the missing inheritance after all these years? Grandmother was in charge of money.

My niece is 38 yrs old, parents died in accident at 15 months old. Money was left for her, but didn't know. Has a statute of limitations run out on her ability to get restitution? Thank you for any help you can give me so we can guide her in whether to pursue civil action.

Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 27, 2021

The answer to your questions would depend on a number of facts that are not included in your question. For example, was the money was left in a trust and, if so, what did the trust document say the money had to be used for? If the money was left in a trust and the trust document said the money... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: If a home is left to me would I still have to go through probate if the owner had put me on the deed? Thank you,
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Dec 26, 2021

If you hold title with the owner as "joint tenants", no probate would be required. If title is held as tenants in common, half of the property would have to be probated.

However, adding an individual's name to real property is typically a very bad idea and has adverse...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: Irrevocable trust has three sibling equal beneficiaries - one sibling is trustee. Are IRS rules for grantor trust met?

The original settler is deceased. The trustee has power to distribute his 1/3 of income and principal to himself. The question is whether the Trustee-beneficiary is considered a substantial owner under IRC 678(a)(1) and therefore taxed currently on his 1/3 of trust income.

Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 23, 2021

It is most likely a non-grantor trust, but there is no way to know unless a lawyer reads the terms of your particular trust. Each trust contains different language. The main question will be whether the settlor/grantor of the trust has any control or powers. Take your trust to an attorney in your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: my mother passed away and she I am her successor trustee What steps do I need to execute to transfer of her assets?

I am trying to use her funds to pay her bills after she passed away this thanksgiving...Please advise

I have the trust papers designating me as her trust successor. what is the process for closing out her bank accounts and certificates of deposit? transferring her real property so that I... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 20, 2021

You're asking how to administer a trust, which is a detailed process that cannot be easily explained in a sentence or two. This website is meant for quick questions and answers, not explaining a five month process that involves formal notices required by law (the content of which is very... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Do I need to write a will to let my nephews get my Mobil home after I pass.? What kind of from do I have to full out?

My mobile home is small & not a new one.... Thanks

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane answered on Dec 17, 2021

In California, Mobile Homes are registered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. You should contact If there is a transfer on death beneficiary designated on the title of the Mobile Home, you can use the Department's internal form to transfer title.

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for California on
Q: Does a notary have to be from California if Ex is living overseas?

1. My Ex-wife is living in Korea and will need to complete it there designating our son as her PoA representative. Can a notary at the US Embassy sign the form or does the notary have to be from California?

2. If she completes the form can a scanned and printed copy be used by my son to... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Dec 16, 2021

When an individual signs a US document in a foreign country that would typically require a notarization, they should seek the assistance of the local US Embassy who will provide the equivalent of a local notarization. Once that is completed, a good quality scan should be all that any institution... Read more »

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