California Estate Planning Questions & Answers

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.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 18, 2019
Richard Samuel Price's answer
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 petition and order.

Call or email an attorney for a full consultation.

Q: Wat is IAEA powers & gettin bonded mean? I'm Admn.of estate and had previously asked how can i use money frm block acct?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Banking and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 13, 2019
John B. Palley's answer
Generally speaking only people who have not planned end up with a blocked account and without full IAEA authority. I typically see this done by pro pers and by lawyers who don't know what they are doing. There are other situations but that's a generalization by me.

IAEA means the Independent Administration of Estates Act. Without FULL IAEA authority you need to go back to court to confirm the sale of real estate. This is hugely problematic as you can lose buyers in the process. Full...

Q: Do i need a reason or show probate judge why i need to withdraw funds frm block acct.,how long does this process take?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 12, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
When you file the petition form to get funds from the blocked account, you have to fill in exactly who will be getting the money and the purpose of the payment.

How long it will take depends on your court and how backed up they are. Expect a few weeks at most.

Q: Do i need to get a court date just to ask probate court to release partial funds from block acct ?

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 12, 2019
John B. Palley's answer
Honestly I would petition the court and ask to switch to IAEA powers, get bonded, and get rid of the blocked account. It will be easier to handle estate business including, eventually, selling the house. There is a judicial council form to make the switch to full IAEA powers. If you don't have one I would advise hiring attorney. Should make your life easier. -John

Q: Can you distribute property in an estate without resolving the debt when there's a will

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 9, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
Yes you can, but it would be a very bad idea anyway you look at it. The executor would be personally liable for any debts or taxes if he gave away too many assets.

Normally it requires the assent of all the parties involved, so any one person can block it.

A final account and petition for distribution can be filed by the Personal Representative when there are sufficient funds available to pay all debts and taxes, the time for filing creditors' claims has expired, and the...

Q: Re:probate case when i file a Declaration can i also include what i want the court to do.Like exclude and release funds?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 8, 2019
Richard Samuel Price's answer
No, a petition and an order to withdraw funds from a blocked account are separate forms. Use Judicial Counsel Forms MC-357 and MC-358 to request withdrawal of funds from a blocked account.

Q: Los Angeles probate case, I hired lawyer because I want to Object/ file 850.Lawyer never filed 850 but said he did....

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Federal Crimes and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 3, 2019
Richard Samuel Price's answer
I'm sorry that you are going through this. You should have a sit-down discussion with your attorney to understand what has happened. If you don't get satisfactory answers, you can switch attorneys.

Q: How are property taxes reassessed if only half of the house is sold?

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Answered on Apr 3, 2019
Bruce Alexander Minnick's answer
Although I do not practice in California, unless I miss my guess the taxing authorities will continue assessing taxes on the entire piece of property because they are only interested in collecting the taxes and do not care who owns it. You might want to engage the services of a real estate lawyer in the county where the property is.

Q: My sister just filed our mothers probate paper work to become executor. Shouldn't me and my brother have been informed

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 2, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
The Probate process begins with someone filing a Petition with the Probate Court, along with the Will if there is one. A court date is assigned 15 to 30 days out. The petitioner is required to give notice of ths to all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors and persons of interest so that they can object to the proceedings.

If she did not ever give you notice, you can go complain to the judge. If the hearing still has not happened, you can appear and make your objections.

Q: If my friend gives me power of attorney or If I am appointed his payee ..I should be able to have co trole over his mone

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for California on
Answered on Apr 1, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
If your friend executes a Power of Attorney it will list specific authorities that he gives you over his property. He may have made a very limited one, or a very broad one. If he gave you a broad Power of Attorney then he gave you the authority to handle his taxes, buy and sell real estate, pay his bills and do his banking. Most Powers of Attorney have a laundry list of powers that can be given or withheld -- you will have to look and see what this particular Power of Attorney grants.

Q: How do i become a payee on a trust account for a friend who is aasking for help

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Answered on Apr 1, 2019
Genene N. Dunn's answer
If you are asking how you get on a trust account at a bank, you generally have to be a trustee in order to be on a trust account. There are many different options if the current trustee needs help that an attorney can assist with.

Q: Me and my mom live together in an apartment. My dad never lived with us. He never married mom, he married someone else.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Answered on Mar 31, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
That depends on whether or not your father had a Will or a Trust.

He is entitled to do whatever he wants to with his property upon his death, within the limits of his not giving away community property that belongs half to his wife.

The trick is how the property is deeded. Is it just in his name, or is his wife's name on it too? Is any of it registered as a Trust? Much of the property could belong to his widow but she has just never changed the deeds.

If he died...

Q: Could irrevocable trust from California by dissolved or amended in this example?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Answered on Mar 31, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
Yes, the trust can be dissolved under those conditions.

California Probate Code section 15403 gives permission to do so upon petition to the court (you can't just do it on your own).

You will have to show that all the beneficiaries consent and that the trust is no longer needed to carry out its material purpose (here, estate tax avoidance).

Q: My boyfriend is in custody violate probation court assign him alternate pointed lawyer he hasnt see him court is next we

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Criminal Law for California on
Answered on Mar 27, 2019
Dale S. Gribow's answer
need more info

the court will appoint a public defender or if there is a possible conflict, an alternate defense lawyer.

they are swamped and don't come to visit often at the earlier stages of a case.

if you can't afford a private lawyer you don't have much of a choice.

you can always ask the court for another lawyer but you may not get and then you have a lawyer that is not happy with you.

Q: After the grantor of a revocable trust resigns and the successor trustee takes over, may the grantor gift trust assets?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Answered on Mar 25, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
All questions like this of course depend on exactly what the Trust states.

However, normally a grantor retains rights (written this way explicitly in the Trust) to do pretty much as he pleases with every asset. This only applies to a Revocable ("Living") Trust. If the Trust was Irrevocable then the grantor retained absolutely no authority at all to do anything.

The fact that the condo was never deeded to the Trust raises its own questions. When I advise a client, I make...

Q: Must a successor trustee, now trustee due to grantor’s incapacitation, need to turn a property into a rental property?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Answered on Mar 22, 2019
Bill Sweeney's answer
Under California Probate Code Section 16007 the trustee has a duty to make the trust property productive under the circumstances and in furtherance of the purposes of the trust. The powers and duties of a trustee are spelled out in the trust instrument. Under California Probate Code Section 16002 the trustee has a duty to administer the trust solely in the interest of the beneficiaries.

Q: Can a 1st or 3rd party Special Needs Trust be used in CA to shelter proceeds of litigation payable to SSI beneficiary?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Answered on Mar 21, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
Your question of course just raises more issues.

You can certainly establish a Special Needs Trust for your daughter if she is disabled and on SSI. The whole purpose of

SNTs is to shield assets from someone on SSI or other government programs from being disqualified. They are certainly not fraud and are allowed under 42 USC section 1396(p).

The problem is that in order to qualify, the money can only be used for certain things, mostly NOT food or lodging, taxes,...

Q: How do I best give (or sell for a nominal amount) my house to one of my daughters?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Elder Law for California on
Answered on Mar 19, 2019
Sally Bergman's answer
I recommend you talk with an Elder Law Attorney as you raise many important issues very specific to elder law.

Q: May a property which passes by intestate succession pass to the deceased spouse's trust, trustee?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Answered on Mar 19, 2019
Sally Bergman's answer
If the spouse had retitled the property into the name of the spouse's revocable trust, the answer is a clear yes. If the spouse had not done so, it may still be possible to transfer the property into the trust, but you will need to file a court petition to accomplish that transfer. This would not be a do-it-yourself kind of project, but most attorneys who practice in this area of law are quite familiar with these petitions.

Q: My grandfather put his wife on the deed to his house. Both passed away and neither had a will.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Family Law for California on
Answered on Mar 13, 2019
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney's answer
It depends ...

Unless he adopted the step children, they have no rights to his property.

When you die without a Will, called dying intestate, the law steps in a divides your property based on what family you left and step children get nothing.

However, if your grandfather put his wife on the deed, then it can be assumed that was a gift to the community, making the house a community property asset (half belongs to each). If they held it as joint tenants, then the...

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