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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Any interested party can request removal of an administrator? So if I am a sister in law can I petition the court?

My husband has 6 siblings all beneficiary’s of an estate in probate. My husband wants me to handle the probate and so do 3 other siblings because their sister the one in charge is mishandling things. Am I allowed to do that being that I am only a sister in law ?

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
answered on Jun 23, 2022

It will be more air-tight if your husband or one of his siblings petitions for the removal of the existing administrator per Probate section 8500 and at the same time, nominates you as the successor per Probate Code section 8520. Here is a link to the code sections:... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Does each beneficiary have to sign a petition to have the administrator removed ? Do all 6 have to be in agreement?

Also one of the beneficiaries has passed away was paperwork suppose to be submitted to the court to show this? The current administrator is not trustworthy at all can she hide the money once property is sold by any chance?

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
answered on Jun 23, 2022

No. According to Probate Code section 8500, any interested party can petition the court to remove an administrator. The language of section 8500 is as follows:

8500. (a) Any interested person may petition for removal of the personal representative from office. A petition for removal may...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: On a Grant Deed of the vacant land lot property belongs to Trust

On a Grant Deed of the vacant land lot property belongs to Trust, the trustees are Husband and Wife, but they are currently divorced, the ex-husband has court documents the lot belongs to him.

To purchase this property do we need to record just a new Grant Deed with only his signature or... Read more »

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
answered on Jun 23, 2022

I am an estate planning/probate attorney and also a licensed real estate broker. I recommend entering into a proper Purchase Agreement for Vacant Land and having a title/escrow company issue title insurance. The title company may require additional documentation before they issue the title... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for California on
Q: As an out-of-state son (#1) and named beneficiary, how do I get a trust accounting from an uncooperative executor?

As an out-of-state son (#1) and named beneficiary, is it possible to get a trust accounting and a copy of the current (I've seen an older one) trust from a completely uncooperative other son (#2) who is the executor and POA? He keeps moving my mother to different facilities (early alsheimers)... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Jun 22, 2022

Unfortunately, you may have an elder abuse situation on your hands. Elder abuse includes both physical abuse and taking advantage of someone with limited mental capacity by spending all their money. I'm sorry to say it sounds like you need to hire a lawyer because your brother won't... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Can my mother as “next of kin” get access to my brothers bank account even with a will?

My brother passed on Sunday. He left a holographic will and named an executor. He was also a lawyer so I don’t have any reason to question the validity. I am in contact with the executor and she’s going to file the will today or tomorrow. My mom is next of kin and has been estranged from my... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Jun 22, 2022

No one can legally access another person's bank account without specific authorization. If your brother had assets with a total dollar value of more than $184,500 (excluding retirement and a few other items), then your family will have to go through a court process called Probate BEFORE... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: Changing the asset of a QPRT.

I placed my residence in Virginia into a QPRT two years ago splitting it between my two children. My son has since become disabled. I bought a house for me and my husband in California this month and am currently in the process of selling my house in Virginia under the QPRT. I want to buy another... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Jun 20, 2022

Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs) are irrevocable trusts, which means they are not easily changeable or dissolvable. Whether or not your QPRT can be modified will depend on the language in your particular document. There is something called "decanting" that might be used to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My brother passed away on Sunday. He left a handwritten, holographic will that was signed and dated.

He was also a lawyer so I’m not to worried about the validity of his will. My mother is making it seem that because she is next of kin that everything goes through her. But he wanted her to have nothing. It says it in the will. An executor was named. He left everything to me and my brother. My... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
answered on Jun 15, 2022

Sorry for your loss. Your question is posted in the California law section, and this answer only applies in California. Whoever has the will must "lodge" it with the Superior Court in the county where your brother was a resident at the time of his death. Consult with a probate... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can one signee on a small estate affidavit for Louisiana get their signature notarized in California?

The home is in Louisiana, I live in California but I am 1 of 2 signatures required per the form. Must the signators reside in Louisiana?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 14, 2022

I very much doubt Louisiana would require you to reside there in order to sign the affidavit. Notarizations are always completed in the state where the signer is signing, which most often is their residence.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can one signee on a small estate affidavit for Louisiana get their signature notarized in California?

The home is in Louisiana, I live in California but I am 1 of 2 signatures required per the form. Must the signators reside in Louisiana?

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Jun 14, 2022

It's not common for signers of Small Estate Affidavits to be required to live in the state where the deceased person's property is located. But, that having been said, the answer to your question would be based on Louisiana law, which is very different than the laws of the other 49... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: The Trustee of the Trust has dementia, so her son is the Executor and has Power of Attorney

The Trustee of the Trust has dementia, so her son is the Executor and has Power of Attorney. To do a self-closing transaction for the purchase of the vacant land lot, should I prepare documents where she is a Grantor and he just signing documents for her as an Executor?

Or there should be... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 9, 2022

If the vacant lot is titled in the name of the trust, there is a very specific process that must be followed that complies with the terms of the trust with respect to incapacity of the trustee. If the vacant lot is in the name of the individual trustee who is now incapacitated, then the son will... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Does a Trust have to be signed and notarized under California law to be valid?

A distant relative created a Trust in 2012, and another Trust in 2016. He funded the 2016 Trust with some real estate.

We have found copies with hand-written edits to the 2016 Trust. It has a place at the bottom for his signature, but the deceased never signed any of them. There is a... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman
answered on Jun 8, 2022

While a California trust does not need to be notarized, it does need to be signed. However, you seem to have evidence that in fact a trust document was signed (notary records) and the 2016 trust was funded with real estate. Depending upon a lot of other facts and factors, it is possible a court... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: It's not a question. The da office in Pomona has filled my file with fake and false convictions to wash money they have
Julie King
Julie King
answered on Jun 7, 2022

You need to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you. This isn't an estate planning question.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Revocable trust, can beneficiaries continue making mortgage payments as is, or must they refinance?

Leaving home to a child who will turn 18 in 17 years.

Julie King
Julie King
answered on Jun 7, 2022

If the Settlor (person who set up the trust) has passed away and, through the trust, has given his/her/their children a home, the mortgage company is almost certainly going to insist the children (if 18 or older) enter into a new mortgage agreement with a co-signer -- simply because most young... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: can estate recovery take away house?

My parents did a quitclaim deed to my brother about 15 years ago to release ownership of the house, he has been paying taxes and everything since then. Later parents were in the medicaid and medical program. If they pass away, can the medicaid or medical (CA) program take back the house?... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jun 5, 2022

Medicaid can’t take back a gift made by a Medicaid recipient unless it was made to hinder, defraud or delay Medicaid at that time, which clearly wasn’t the case. Medicaid can impose penalties for gifts made in the past, but the look back period is way fewer than 15 years, and Medicaid in... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for California on
Q: My father passed away February 7th of this year.I have been residing in my father's house since June 3rd of 2021.

My brother is executor of the trust, 75% of all assets. I'm no provisions..What are my rights as far as staying in the house? How much notice must he give me? No probate yet.

Howard E. Kane
Howard E. Kane
answered on May 31, 2022

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. If the property is in a Trust, then the Trust may discuss the issue of possession. However, if the property is mentioned in your father's Will, then your brother should file a Petition for Probate so that ownership can be transferred to you and your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Immigration Law and Probate for California on
Q: If person died on May 1, 2022, by when must I file Petition for Probate, Form DE-111? Can I file it on Tuesday May 31?
Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 25, 2022

There is no set deadline by which to open probate, but filing sooner rather than later is always best because you need to gather a lot of information and things like bank statements are harder to get the longer you wait. So May 31st will be just fine. Best wishes!

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: A small commercial building in CA is in a family trust. Can that be traded for rental homes?

In other words, the building is removed from the trust and traded for a rental house that is then placed in the trust in place of the bldg.

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 24, 2022

I believe you want to do a 1031 exchange of property. [That's Internal Revenue Code Section 1031.] If that is accurate, whether the property is inside or outside a trust will not matter. Speak with your investment advisor, financial planner or CPA to determine if your properties qualify for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: In California what happens if the Executor of a living trust dies and then the person who has living trust dies before

Executor of a living trust dies and then the person who has living trust dies before appointing a new executor

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 17, 2022

This is just a formality, but the person who pays the deceased person's final bills, handles the final tax return, and distributes assets from a Trust is called a "Trustee." The person is only called an "Executor" if the person who died had a Will, not a Trust. [To... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mom just passed away but she didn't leave a will. Her house isn't paid off. What happens?

What happens to her bills?

What happens in probate?

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 10, 2022

Unfortunately, you will have to go through the Probate Court process, which takes a minimum of one year. What this means is either a lawyer you hire or you (or perhaps another family member) needs to file a document called a Petition in the Probate Court, provide all the notices required by law,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Transfer of real property, intestate estate. 2 of the 6 heirs hope to take over the property, all heirs agree. What now?

I am the personal representative and heir for my father's intestate estate in CA. In regards to my father's real property valued over $166k, the property rights, to my understanding, defaults to be equally divided between his 6 children (heirs). There is an existing mortgage on the... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
answered on May 6, 2022

I agree with Gina. It sounds like you will need to file a petition for probate and ask for the appointment of an estate administrator before you try to refinance the property, and the six of you should be able to agree on whatever you want provided it’s in writing and your settlement agreement... Read more »

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