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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How do I know if I'm suppose to get money from my grandpa passing

Daniel kaher resided in Pacifica ca. Died in same he had money that I thought was to go to me and my brother and my 2 aunts

Martha Bronson
Martha Bronson answered on Nov 28, 2020

You would know because the requires the administrator give you notice of the fact that you are a beneficiary, unless no one has your current address. I would suggest that you contact the county of death and check the court's case index to see if a case has been opened. Best of Luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for California on
Q: In 1996 mom married a man in prison for life. They lost touch yrs ago. She now wishes to divorce him,as she has the

Onset of dementia. She wishes to protect her home, inherited from my grandparents. Who purchased it for her and I in 1972. In Ca can she legally exclude him from her will or trust? How would she go about this?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Nov 17, 2020

Your question crosses over into both family law and estate planning. Your mother's interest in that property would be her own separate property that she is typically allowed to pass to anyone she chooses. There are occasions, however, when the other spouse may gain a community property... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Does a co-signer of a home need waiver of bond by heir or beneficiary to refinance?

Our father passed away a year ago and left no Will. One of my brother did co-sign on the home two years ago. He is now looking to refinance and is asking to sign the forms to do so, which if I understand would make him the executor of the estate. Is that required to be able to refinance the home or... Read more »

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich answered on Nov 16, 2020

Is the property in a trust? Revocable or irrevocable? If revocable, heirs/ beneficiaries don't have any rights yet unless the other co-signor passed away and made that portion irrevocable. Since the question is specific to a co-signor, you also need to clarify if the other co-signor(s) is in... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: When a person with dementia signs a trust how is competence determined?
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm answered on Nov 15, 2020

If they are suffering from dementia it probably indicates lack of testamentary capacity. However, if that person has periods of lucidity that indicates the ability to do estate planning, then the document may be valid. You need to get with an estates attorney in the area where the person in... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation and Probate for California on
Q: Living trust amendment not signed before death but...Dad gave power to amend to trustee ???

15401. (a) A trust that is revocable by the settlor or any other person may be revoked in whole or in part by any of the following methods:

(1) By compliance with any method of revocation provided in the trust instrument.

(2) By a writing, other than a will, signed by the settlor or... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 13, 2020

If a trust amendment has not been signed by the trustor or an agent acting on behalf of the trustor under a power of attorney before the death of the trustor, it is ineffective.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My dad died before he signed amended trust, even though confirmed with estate planner, during covid?

My Dad received amended copy of his living trust 3 days before he died and had not signed them. He did contact estate attorney and confirmed draft. I don't believe signing them was exclusive, but I do know that my dad would want his last wishes honored. I know there must be mitigating... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 13, 2020

If he didn’t sign the amendment, it’s ineffective. It doesn’t need to be notarized, but it does need to be signed by the trustmaker. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but to tell you otherwise is just wishful thinking.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How do you find out when a law was enacted? We have a will signed in 1968.

Witness declaration does not include "under penalty of perjury" verbiage. Drafting attorney says it was not required in 1968. Probate examiner says will is not self-proving. All witnesses are deceased.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 11, 2020

It's true. The words "under penalty of perjury" were not required in 1968, but the probate examiner is also correct (at least they are interpreting the rules these days): to be a self-proving Will, the magic words must appear in the witness attestation clause, or you'll have to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law, Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: May my father legally declare on taxes rental income from renting out rooms in his house, if he transfers house to me?

My widowed elderly father and I live together in his house. He isn't doing well healthwise. Without going into detail, he will be seeing a lawyer to transfer the house to me. Ownership will go from 100% in his name to 100% in my name.

After the transfer, I will be in the unusual... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Nov 8, 2020

You are definitely jumping the gun with this transfer which will result in potential re-assessment, increased property taxes and potential capital gains taxes to your father. Additionally there is the loan. The lender may call the loan balance if your father transfers the property out of his... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My uncle passed away during the summer. He left a Trust which is being handled by a Trust Company.

How long does the Trust Co have to turn assets over to those who are in this trust? Was originally told 3 months but am now hearing it could be longer. No reason given.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 6, 2020

It really depends. In California, a formal notice must be mailed to all beneficiaries of a trust when a revocable trust becomes irrevocable upon the death of the trustor which gives the recipient up to 120 days to contest the trust. Until that notice period ends, a trustee would be at great risk... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: Can a husband leave real estate to an adult child instead of his spouse so it can be sold without capital gains taxes?
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Oct 31, 2020

The husband can leave his half of the community property and all of his separate property to whomever he wants.

It won't matter for capital gains who he leaves it to though. That person, spouse or stranger, will inherit the property at a stepped up basis (erasing the capital gain...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: If my father left me money in his trust, can the trustee change that trust when he passes away
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Oct 29, 2020

No. Absolutely not. The Trustee must follow the instructions of the Trust.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother was recently murdered she owned a house in Las Vegas, Nevada. She had no will. And I live in California

Since I live out state how do I petition the state for her house property?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 28, 2020

You need to contact an Estate or Probate attorney in Nevada. Suggest you repost this in Nevada.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I signed as a witness for trust documents for my brother in law who asked me to execute his wishes if ever he passes.

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Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 28, 2020

While it is honorable that you want to see BIL's wishes carried out, truthfully you are just a witness and it is not your duty or responsibility. It is the duty of the person named as executor. You should notify the people that you know were the other beneficiaries that the documents have... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for California on
Q: What happens, and what documents will a mortgage loan servicer require when death of a spouse/co-borrower is reported?

Mother died recently. No probate. Father & mother (married) both co-borrowers (father was primary) on principal residence they owned as trustees.

Home is in revocable living trust. Mother & father are the grantors, father is successor trustee. I am sole beneficiary. No one else is... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 28, 2020

So this goes with the other question posted in probate. Apparently this check comes from an escrow on a refi and is a one time deal. Your other post said there was a joint account. Deposit the check there. The old lender is no longer involved once paid off and does not need any additional... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: Is it possible for a widower to cash a check made out to him and his deceased wife?

My elderly father is receiving a check, titled to him and my deceased mother/his wife. It is titled using AND, not OR, meaning both signatures are required.

They are the grantors of their living revocable trust, and were the only two trustees. Father became successor trustee. I am sole... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 28, 2020

What is not clear from your post is who is the maker on the check? You provide so much extraneous information that is sounds like the check is coming from the trust that your father is the trustee on. But that makes no sense. IMO you should go to the maker of the check and request that the check... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My husband changed his retirement beneficiary to his daughter.. we are married for 17 years. Who gets the money?
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Oct 27, 2020

If the retirement account was an IRA, his daughter gets the money as primary beneficiary even if the account was community property, because spousal consent is not required to setup or change a beneficiary designation on a traditional or Roth IRA account. If the retirement account was a current... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Elder Law for California on
Q: Can a check made out to the sole trustee of a revocable living trust be cashed without a trust account?

Elderly father received check after home refi. It’s made out to him as: “Name, as trustee of the abc trust”. It cannot be reissued.

Trust is a revocable living trust. Mother and father were the grantors and only 2 trustees. Mother passed away, father is sole trustee now (successor). I... Read more »

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

It’s a common situation, but every bank and credit union and other financial institution has its own rules. My experience as an estate planning specialist with over 25 years in the field is to simply have your dad endorse the check on the reverse side as follows: “For deposit only”, and then... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: CA Prop 19: After parent-child transfer, if child uses home as principal res. for years, is it reassessed if he leaves?

I have a question about CA Prop 19 that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere yet, and was hoping someone from this Q&A forum might have an answer.

Prop 19 for the most part repeals Prop 58, which allowed parents to transfer a house to their children, without the house being reassessed... Read more »

Zaher Fallahi
Zaher Fallahi answered on Oct 25, 2020

Congratulation, you sound like a tax pro and seek speculation on I believe a proposed new law. That may be tough one. Good luck. Zaher Fallahi, Esq, CPA (CA &D.C.).

Disclaimer: No solicitation is intended by answering general questions in this forum. This is for information purposes,...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: is there a time limit to get an inheritence?my parents died in 2016 milford NH
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 24, 2020

Difficult to say but it should be less than 4 years, something seems amiss. You should contact the executor of the estate. If this is insurance proceeds, certainly a lot less than 4 years. You will need to contact a probate attorney in NH.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

3 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: What are the steps on revoking a durable power of attorney from a spouse. The partner is no longer able to speak.

I'm the son of the partner who is unable to speak. Her spouse is not making choices in her best interests and our family believes he is using his power for his benefit. We believe he is using her money, credit cards, and has mentioned he is using our elderly grandmothers (now deceased) bank... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 24, 2020

If the power of attorney is NOT durable then it was automatically revoked when your mother became incapacitated. If it is durable and your mother is no longer able to revoke it, then you would have to go to court to get a guardian and conservator appointee. The conservator would then be able to... Read more »

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