Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Child Custody for California on
Q: Hi my son is a beneficiary of my father in law for his life insurance

Now my father in law passed away then my son is still minor, the insurance ask us court appointed guardian to get my son’s claim. We went to court and they did not help for guardianship estate, we cannot afford to get a lawyer. We dont know what to do to get certificate from the court stating... Read more »

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

The insurance company is asking for letters of guardianship which can only be granted to a guardian by a probate court. Merely being the parent of a minor is insufficient authority to claim insurance money belonging to a minor.

A court cannot give legal advice, nor can a legal document...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Hello, I need to hire a Lawyer and I don't know what kind of Lawyer I need. Please advise

My Brother is Successor to my fathers trust. My father passed in August. He left us both Equal parts. My brother seems to have disappeared. I need to make sure we don't lose the house

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 13, 2020

You are looking for a trust administration attorney. Even better would be an attorney that also handle trust litigation. The attorney can review the trust and advise you as to what needs to be done to replace the MIA trustee.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Does a probate need to have all assets assigned into it to close?

Only parent dies with trust. Multiple properties have to be sold. Beneficiaries are 3 brothers and one sister. Sister dies unexpectedly a month after parent dies. Now we have to go through probate as sister left no trust or will. Her share of parent's trust will have to go through probate.... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jan 10, 2020

More than likely a probate will need to be opened for sister's estate before you're allowed to close parent's estate. Once an executor is appointed to sister's estate, perhaps a deal can be struck among the beneficiaries of sister's estate allowing for an in-kind distribution of estate assets to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: How to set up a trust for your beneficiaries, while waiting for payment on a parents trust to be distributed?

Mom died, properties need to be sold to distribute to beneficiaries. I am a beneficiary due to inherit about $500,000. I have cancer. How can I make my own trust for people I want to be my beneficiary, when I don't yet have the amount I am due to receive from my moms trust? It will take a long... Read more »

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

Assuming it's possible in your mom's trust, assign in writing all of your right, title and interest in your mom's trust to your revocable living trust. It's possible if your mom's trust does not have a standard spendthrift provision in it. If it does, then you'll have to create a standard Will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: What is the best way to go about buying out my stepchildren's share of jewelry my late husband inherited from my late M?

My mother in law died in 2008 after a long illness, the only thing of value she left behind was two pieces of jewelry valued around $25k. My husband died two years later and I expect to have the jewelry in my possession shortly, as it was misappropriated at the time of his death, but has been... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 8, 2020

You can start by obtaining written appraisals from a reputable jeweler. Show the appraisals to the children and offer to pay them each 1/6th of the appraised value. Be sure to get signed receipts from them when you pay them. The receipts should specifically mention that in exchange for the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can an exactor of an estate sign off on a reconveyance
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jan 7, 2020

It's the lender who signs off on a deed of reconveyance when a loan secured by real property has been paid in full. If the decedent and/or the decedent's estate loaned money to someone and received payment in full, yes, the executor of the estate would sign off on the deed of reconveyance. No... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: brother with two children and sister inherited house from mother in california, brother died who does his share go to?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 7, 2020

It is not possible to answer your question without knowing whether the decedent was married, whether he had a will and exactly how the house was titled.

View More Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Hello, my mother passed away in December 2017. she lived with me for the last 10 years of her life. She had no will.

she had $1,400 in her checking account when she passed. I recently received a letter from her bank stating that after three years they may transfer her property to the state of California. Can I get this money and how do I get it? Thank you very much.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Jan 6, 2020

Assuming you are entitled to the money (sole next of kin or named in will) then do a small estate affidavit. Forms available at some banks but, if not, then online. That should be it. Just google "California free small estate affidavit form" or something like that. Good luck.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My husband received a letter from fidelity investments expressing their sympathy over the loss of his ex girlfriend.

They asked for a copy of the death certificate to process a beneficiary claim. It doesn’t say specifically he is the beneficiary but this letter came 3 years after her death out of the blue. We sent fidelity the death certificate after getting it from the state of her death. We have heard nothing... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jan 5, 2020

It sounds like he was still listed as a beneficiary on a 401K or IRA or something.

Don't be shy! Call Fidelity and ask for a status. They wouldn't have sent that form just for fun.

He wasn't married to her was he? Divorce automatically cancels naming your ex as a beneficiary....
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Testamentary Trust established in 1975.

Father died with Testamentary Trust. Mother was managing. She has now died, and had a trust also. Her trust is now irrevocable. Does his Testamentary Trust have to go through probate again, since it had already been in probate to establish it from his Will?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 1, 2020

Some facts are missing so it is not possible to answer your question, but the short answer is if anything was distributed from the testamentary trust outright to your mother, then those assets would be part of her probate estate. Otherwise, no, all you need to do is follow the process spelled out... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: can a trustee settle the estate and distribute to beneficiaries if there is still one property that hasn't sold?

5 homes to sell, 3 beneficiaries, one of them has cancer. Can we let the one with cancer stay in a home and not sell it for a few years, but still settle and distribute the rest of the estate?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jan 1, 2020

If all of the trust estate's bills are paid and all beneficiaries agree, then yes you can do that. You should get that agreement in writing.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My father passed away, my mom now owns their home. Will she end up paying capital gains tax if she airbs her home out

Home in California, bought for 45k in the 1960s and now worth a million.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Dec 27, 2019

If it can be established that their home was held as community property, then the adjusted basis of their home would have been stepped up to its full fair market value at the time of your father’s death for income tax purposes, meaning there would be no capital gain as of your father’s date of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Am I considered a niece/nephew in inheritance succession if my father (who was a nephew) is deceased?

I distant family member passed away, and I've been notified that I am an heir-at-law.

They don't have any living children, parents, or siblings, but there is 1 niece and 1 nephew. Here's the slight difference-my deceased father was also a nephew.

-- Does that make me an equal heir... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Dec 24, 2019

Yes, you now stand in the shoes of your father and will receive what whatever he would have received had he lived, which sounds like a full one-third share of the estate. Specific gifts go to specific devisees. You are considered a remainder beneficiary. You will be mailed notice of the date,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Is there a form to put my real estate property into my living trust? How can I get the form?

My house is in Massachusetts.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 18, 2019

Real property is transferred by deed. Deed forms and procedures vary wildly by state. An attorney will need to evaluate various forms of conveyance to determine which deed style suits your situation the best. It could be a quitclaim deed, grant deed, bargain and sale deed, special warranty deed,... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My brother and I own our condo. I still live there. If he dies, who gets ownership, me or does the wife get half??

He moved out when he got married..

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Dec 17, 2019

PROBABLY his wife.

Look at the deed. If it says you are "joint tenants" then it means you get it automatically on his death.

HOWEVER, if he paid for it with money after his got married, then that portion will belong to both him and his wife as community property so he may not have...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for California on
Q: Yes I'd like to know my rights I have been living in my house for about a year-and-a-half with my cousin

He just passed away and his stepdaughter come in 2 hours after he passed away with two of her friends threatening me and telling me that I had to move out right then to get my stuff and move out I called the police the police told him that they could stay in the house with me and I had to stay in... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 14, 2019

If it is your house (title is in your name) and there are no co-owners then nobody can kick you out or move in without your consent. Find a landlord-tenant eviction attorney ASAP to help you kick them out. (You should have never let them in.)

If it is not your house then repost your...
Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My grandfather left a will which was a house to his daughters but my mother past away do I get her part of the house

Does my mothers part of the house/ will go to her sons and daughters since she past away

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 13, 2019

Much more information is needed to answer your question. Did your mother leave a surviving spouse? What does her will say? How much debt does she owe? Did she obtain any MediCal benefits before she passed?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I there a procedure called bequeeze or bequest that can avoid probate and heggstad?

*Is not I.

My grandmother recently passed away. I am now the trustee of the family trust. There are a couple of properties that didn't make it into the trust. Is there a legal procedure that can avoid probate and heggstad? My father believes this is called bequeeze or bequest.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 13, 2019

A "bequest" is a legacy or gift handed down to someone in a will, or the act of making such a gift by will. To "bequeath" is to give personal property by will do another. They are almost synonyms of each other. Gifts made by will require probate to transfer, with some exceptions.

In...
Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Health Care Law for California on
Q: Can funds from sale of land/vehicle be used to pay sister's debts (credit cards) then qualify for Medicaid? Options?

My sister is in a rehab center due to a stroke (occurred in July this year). Wish to move her to Florida, to be closer to family, where she will remain in a rehab center to continue her recovery process. I applied for Social Security Disability and SSI on her behalf and of course looking to qualify... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Dec 10, 2019

Yes in general funds from the sale of assets can be used to pay debts but you really should schedule a personal consultation with a local elder law or special needs attorney because there are exceptions to every rule and you want to be certain. Her individual circumstances need to be reviewed. For... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: Can a non relative who was denied conservatorship amend petition nominating a paid fiduciary for conservator?

my fathers friend (dated briefly years ago, never been married) filed for conservatorship and her petition was denied. She then amended the petition nominating a paid professional fiduciary to be the conservator. Is this legal? Can a person with no standing nominate someone for conservator??... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Dec 9, 2019

If your petition was denied, it could have been due to either of the following reasons: failure to prove the need for the conservatorship, or lack of adequate standing. A non-relative generally has no standing to request a conservatorship of another, especially if a relative wants to be the... Read more »

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.