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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
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,
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Dec 26, 2021

That depends on how the deed is worded. If it lists you as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship then you are now the full owner and skip Probate, but you need to file an affidavit with the county clerk and show them the death certificate to get the house recorded in your name alone.... Read more »

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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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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: If my mom died and in her will left me the house how do go about legally getting the deed and house

Clearlake not San Lorendro

D. Steven Yahnian
D. Steven Yahnian answered on Dec 15, 2021

Generally, the executor named in the will, will have to file a probate with the Superior Court of the county that your mother lived in when she died. Pursuant to that, there would be a hearing appointing the executor after notice to certain persons. Soon thereafter, the executor would file an... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My living trust includes my rental home. If I create an LLC for that rental, does the LLC need to be added to the trust

My living trust was created in the past, and it already includes my rental property. Next year, I want to create an LLC for my rental property. After the LLC is created, do I have to add the LLC into my trust?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 15, 2021

Yes, you would convey the renal home from your trust to your LLC and that would constitute your capital contribution to your LLC. But do not do anything without the assistance of counsel. A lot of people create LLCs on their own without fully understanding what they are getting into and they end up... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Civil Rights and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: As conservator can I kick someone out of my parents house that abusing them?

The two are abusing my parents and drugies!

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 3, 2021

And attorney would need to review your order appointing you conservator to see what it covers, but most likely yes, you can do that. Be sure to hire an eviction attorney to help you with that. The process and the rules are surprisingly complicated.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My father received an inheritance check but passed away before cashing it. He was not married and I am his only child.

Amount was $25k, it's been 3 months and executor says she cannot reissue check to me without court approval. I already acquired his personal belongings.

The executor was of my father's parent's estate, the executor, his sister, wrote a check to him for his share, and I am... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 3, 2021

Nonsense. The court-appointed executor of your father’s estate can deposit the check in the estate bank account and then write a check to you after all of your father’s debts are paid.

If there is no court-appointed executor for your FATHER’s estate, and if that is the only asset...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I live in Calif. My husband and I arre jopmt tennants on a deed. He passed away, Am I his successor or do I need probat

The value of the property is under 300 K.

Julie King
Julie King answered on Dec 2, 2021

You do not need to probate the estate due to the house, but you may need to probate his estate IF (1) he did not have a trust and the value of his probatable assets is $166,250 or higher; or (2) if the value of his probatable assets are less than $166,250. There isn't enough information in... Read more »

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