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California Probate Questions & Answers
3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Brother lived/died in Ca. Had bank accts in Ca<$166k & NJ about $90K +small IRA. Is small estate w/o admin only needed?

I am only sibling, he was never married/no children. Our parents died. No will. Will I qualify for Small Estate in Ca? Will NJ honor determination? Or will I need administration? Get it here or there? Do I have to travel to NJ?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 21, 2020

I would say you need to total all the accounts that don't have named beneficiaries on them and see if total is under $166,250. If so, then the small estate affidavits should work. Usually, but not always, they will work regardless of where the banks are. However, some banks will require... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: im in CA, are there any exceptions to paying inheritance taxes??
Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 18, 2020

The State of California does not have inheritance taxes. The federal estate tax applies when you inherit more than $11,580,000 in 2020. Should the property that you are inheriting be located in another state, you may have to pay that state's tax. You should ask an attorney in that state about... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: in CA, do i still have to do probate if all my grandma owned was her home? im on the deed already
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 18, 2020

I would need to see the exact language of the deed to know the answer to that. Sorry.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: i am in CA.. i am on the deed of my recently deceased grandmothers house that she owned outright.

does this guarantee i am now the owner?

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 18, 2020

I would say there are few guarantees in life. It depends on how you are on title (as a joint tenant, sole owner, tenant in common, beneficiary, etc...) and if anybody contests by suggesting undue influence, fraud, mistake, etc.... I am sorry I can't give you a more solid answer than that.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What wording should beneficiaries use if they want to reassign part of their inheritance?

I'm the executor of my father's estate. He meant to divide his estate into six equal parts, for his five living children and the widow of his one pre-deceased child. He wrote the will without the help of a lawyer, and inadvertently left out his daughter-in-law by referring to her as his... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Sep 16, 2020

I think you have two ways to accomplish this:

1) Have the other 5 people each sign an "assignment" of 1/6th of their inheritance to the DIL. That would cause everybody to get 1/6th each I believe (assuming everybody signs off).

2) Have all 6 people sign a...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can a mortgage lender sell a home before probate is finished ?

My father recently died with no will and no transfer on death deed on his home. Could the mortgage lender sell his mortgaged home before probate is finished ? If they can or do, will the estate receive the sale amount minus outstanding balance ?

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Sep 16, 2020

Yes. If there’s a deed of trust recorded against property, no permission is required before a property can be sold by the trustee, assuming normal notification protocols are followed. If there’s a profit, the estate will get the profit.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I live in CA. Who is responsible for apt lease if my husband died and his mom signed the lease with him?

I’ve been separated for 7 yrs but was still married to him. I’m not on the apartment lease Nor lived there. My late husband’s mother signed the lease so that he could get the apartment. She did not live at the apartment.

Who will be held liable for paying the apartment lease, the... Read more »

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

Since both signed the lease agreement, both are jointly and severally liable for all lease obligations, including payment of monthly rent. If mom cannot pay, a probate estate for the decedent can be opened by the creditor by a petition for probate in order to have a legal representative appointed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I have been in probate for for 2 years in los angeles. The judge states in writing that I cannot make any claims

Probate code 21622 prevents me from being a beneficiary. He did not mention my name in his will. His name is on

my birth certificate. He left a will and trust. He did not disinherit me in the will

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 12, 2020

Thank you for sharing your experience. There is no question here. This sounds like the Court made a decision based on the facts and Law.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: How do I get my name off the loan after ex files the quick claim deed?

My ex husband filed our quick claim deed a few months before passing. But my name is still on the loan and getting effectived with my credit. We also split our assists during the divorce.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Sep 9, 2020

Have you tried contacting the bank? They may have a solution for you... It is more likely that your ex-spouse will need to refinance the loan in order for you to get your name off.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My ex husband has allowed me to use his pickup for the past year. His son says he will tell police I stole it.

The son inherited all assets in a trust. I am 72 and guardian of my great granddaughter since her mother and grandmother both died. I have told the son he can come and get the truck. He says that I must return it or he'll tell the police I stole it. I told him he could come and pick it up,... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Sep 9, 2020

No, you've not stolen the vehicle. You were permitted to use it while the vehicle owner was alive. Now that the vehicle owner has died, his heirs are entitled to ownership and possession of the vehicle. There's nothing that you're doing to prevent these heirs from picking up the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can you file a Heggstad Petition without being in probate or filing Petition for Probate with court?
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Sep 2, 2020

Yes. A Heggstad petition is a request filed by the trustee of a trust with the probate court to confirm the validity of a trust, the name of the trustee, and the existence of trust assets. It’s often used to avoid a full probate of the estate which can cost thousands of dollars and take 12-18... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How to get name on deseased dads deed for house he owned outright

Theres 3 sibling s im the oldest

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Sep 2, 2020

To get a deed changed you need an order from the Probate Court, unless the property was in a Trust.

The Probate Court will look at the Will and hold hearings to make sure there are no problems, and then give an order for authority to distribute the assets. If there was no Will then you do...
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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: what can i do if a court appointed probate attny doesnt file a motion to dismiss in a contested conservatorship hearing?

A competent elder was awarded court ordered alimony from their ex-spouse, but, this ex-spouse was refusing to pay them ...so, the elder took them back to court to have them charged with contempt...but before they were charged with contempt the ex-spouse wrongfully claimed that the reason why they... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 1, 2020

Apparently the Court Appointed attorney was worth just what you paid him/her. Sorry to hear that you have to go through this as an elder. IMO you need to hire your own attorney to represent you re: the conservatorship and to investigate potential attorney malpractice by the other attorney.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What if provisions in a will are impossible?

The provision in my uncles will were impossible to do. It stated in the will that i was to return all the money that was given to me by my uncle before his death. My uncle cashed in all his cds and he put this money in a checking account in my name only. I paid all his bills ( property tax , phone... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Aug 31, 2020

You need to contact a probate attorney to represent you. It may be possible that the Will could be invalidated as a result of undue influence on the Testator, and that you might be a pretermitted heir. The Law does not require the impossible.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I have high risk Leukemia. How can I ensure that my kids stay w/ my partner if I pass? I have full legal/physical.

Their father has felonies, drug addiction, multiple prison sentences, has not been a part of their lives in over 5yrs.

Shawna Murray
Shawna Murray answered on Aug 29, 2020

I am sorry that your are in this predicament. Unfortunately, your children’s other parent would be first in line to get custody. Your should consult with attorneys about adoption and estate planning. If partner would consider adopting the children then the biological father would be out of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Appeals / Appellate Law and Probate for California on
Q: California supreme Court ruled against a estate beneficiary now beneficiary wants to sue a waste of money?
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Aug 28, 2020

It sounds like this person is on the road to being declared a "vexatious litigant." Have a glass of wine and relax, you cannot stop them from doing what they insist on doing, you can only defend yourself with a good probate/Civil Litigation attorney. Best of luck to you.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: In CA, husband’s will listed alternate heirs if the spouse does not survive him. She did. Must I list these alternates

in my petition to probate even though they do not inherit anything because spouse is still surviving?

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Aug 27, 2020

Yes. Everyone named in a Will must be given notice of your petition for probate (whether they get anything or not).

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Ex husband passed with naming me as alt. Executor daughter as beneficiary in will do I have rights to our property

His sister is executor and she is resigning

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 26, 2020

If the will was written during marriage then I believe you would be omitted from will. If will was written after divorce then it would be valid as to you. It's unclear if you are asking about being executor or beneficiary!? Also, is daughter a minor or an adult? Lastly, will anybody object... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mother added my brother as owner of her property. Does it go to him at her death?

My mother passed. Recently she added my brother as joint owner of her property as I confirmed with the county assessor. I am not sure if they contacted the mortgage lender to add him on the loan as he is unemployed and I doubt would qualify. If there is no will or trust does the entire property go... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Aug 25, 2020

If he was added as "joint tenants", he gets it all. If he was added as "tenants in common", you and your sister get 1/3 of her half (probate likely required). If he was listed as "transfer on death", he gets it all. This assumes you, your sister and your brother are the only heirs.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Is it best to go to the original lawyer that wrote my mother’s will for probate?
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 20, 2020

You should go to the best probate attorney you can in my opinion. The writer of the will may or may not be a great probate court attorney. Look for someone with extensive probate court experience and a focused probate practice not a general practitioner.

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