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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I need to transfer my property from a trust to myself after the death of my mother. I don’t know how to do this .

My mother passed 5 years ago. She gave me the house upon her death, it was in the family trust before this. I need to change the title.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 16, 2019

The best way to do this is to hire an attorney to assist you. Most estate planning and trust administration attorneys (such as myself) do this on a regular basis. The fee is usually quite affordable compared to the litany of problems you could experience in the future if this is not done... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I have a question on CA prop 13 transfer between parent and child.

My mom relocated to a managed care facility last year. If I purchase the home she lived in for 50 yrs, will I be excluded from reassessment of the property and be able to continue getting the prop 13 tax advantages and if so, does it need to be my primary residence?

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 14, 2019

Whether it's a sale or gift of property to you by a parent, you should still qualify for the parent to child reassessment exemption under Proposition 58 which extends Prop 13 protection to the child, regardless of whether that child is a minor or an adult. If the property being transferred is the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for California on
Q: Additional questions to: What is the cost of a POA in CA? My sister resides in CA, had a stroke in July, in rehab in CA.

Thank you for your previous answers. Ms. Whitehurst, what other "eventualities" are you referring to? And, Mr. Gaffney, so, is it necessary and/or advised to obtain a physician's letter stating she has "the mental capacity to understand what she is signing"? We are also awaiting approval for SSI... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Nov 14, 2019

If a person has some impairment, then you are right to worry that someone may later claim that they did not have the capacity to sign the document. We usually work the other way around (getting a doctor to say someone is incompetent), but I like your defensive thinking in making sure that she has... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: What is the cost of a durable POA in CA? My sister resides in CA. She had a stroke in July; now in rehab facility in CA.

I need to obtain a POA for her. I'm in Florida. The only assets she has, to my knowledge, are 2 cars (in CA), a bank account (in CA - don't know if anything is in at this point) and some land in FL (which she was considering selling before her stroke). She also as a list of credit card accounts. We... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 13, 2019

Here is the California statutory power of attorney form available for free online: https://www.smclawlibrary.org/forms/PowerOfAttorney.pdf

However, it is very basic and does not cover many eventualities that you may want/need in the future. For a custom power of attorney, you should...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Appeals / Appellate Law and Probate for California on
Q: As the former administrator to my mother's estate I have been chargd w/contempt for not turning over documents.

My brother whom my mother ADIMENTALLY expressed he make no decisions for her was appointed. She died intestate. The judge threw out my brothers OSC for procedure in non service, however she is asking me to comply anyway. How do I respond?

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Nov 12, 2019

more info needed.

you should have a lawyer guiding and representing you.

i don't do that area of law.

hire a lawyer who does probate litigation for the court in question.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I have a will and my uncle says he has a will, what should I do for my grandmothers wishes?

Grandmother left will and testament with me her grandson put me on her bank accounts and retirements accounts. My uncle swooped in when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and took her the same day she was diagnosed to get a will done. What should I do and what are my rights to the things she... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Nov 11, 2019

In general, assets that are in the form of beneficiary designations through banks and investment firms do not pass through a will or testamentary trust. You will present your ID and a certified death certificate at the financial institutions that hold the accounts.

The information...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Gave trust to Merrill Lynch on behalf of uncle who wanted beneficiaries changed. One account wasn't changed.

Great uncle was feeling sick and wanted a trust put together before he died. He named nephew who lived with him as beneficiary for all accounts. Trustee was tasked with bringing trust to his financial advisor at Merrill Lynch who oversaw his accounts. All accounts were supposed to go to the trust... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 11, 2019

This forum is for legal questions of a general nature. Your question involves specific facts and circumstances, not all of which are present in your recitation of facts. The only way you can get a definitive answer to your question is to schedule a consultation with an attorney that litigates... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: I lived on 52 acres shared by my mother and uncle. I alone paid the $10,000 in back taxes. Do I have any rights to it?

The property was my dad & uncle's and my dad's part went to my mom when he died. I lived there for over 23yrs in the main house but moved into an RV on the property so my mother, sister, and her husband and kids coild have the house. I paid rent monthly just to help out and I alone paid the 2 year... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 10, 2019

You have a claim against the property owners for reimbursement but be prepared for them to make a counterclaim against you for rent.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Personal Injury and Antitrust for California on
Q: I lacked capacity but quit claim my 4homes and am homeless. how do I void this?damage is incalculable.
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 9, 2019

Contact the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, https://lafla.org/, 800-399-4529. They might be able to help you.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How to find out what is being done with my grandmas estate she died with out a will

My dad docent ask because he don't want his sister mad at him and the other brother which has money says he's taking care of it . How do I find out what is being done or not done

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Nov 9, 2019

If anything is being done then there should be a record of it at the Probate Court for your county.

If someone dies owning real estate or having assets over $150,000 then someone has to open a case with the Probate Court (generally), and those records are public.

If she had less...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: irrevocable trust questions it possible to attach some information regarding this irrevocable trust ? I need help under

i need help understand one of the paragraphs

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 8, 2019

This forum is for legal questions of a general nature. For advice regarding your particular situation, you should schedule a private consultation with an attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What court order do I need to claim an unclaimed inheritance?

My father was left money from and aunt. He did not claim it and he has since died. The county finance department says I need a court order to claim it. I am his daughter and I have no idea what I need to do. The amount is less then $6000.00.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 8, 2019

You may or may not need a court order. It depends on what else was in your father's estate when he died, and you are going to need to get it in his name if it is not in his name already. (It is unclear what you meant by "he did not claim it".) A California probate attorney can help you sort... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I’ve lived with my grandparents all my life. I’m 40 now. They recently just passed away with no will. So, now, I’m

Paying the house taxes and house insurance. Mind you, In 1950, my grandpa payed for the house in full. Now that grandparents are gone, my Aunt wants me to pay rent. Which I think is ridiculous. If I don’t pay rent, she is going to kick me out my house. The house is not even in her name. I took... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 5, 2019

You have not supplied enough information to answer this question. It is possible you have no claim to the house whatsoever, I which case, yes, you need to move out or pay rent. Or you might have inherited a percentage interest in the house if your parent on that side of the family is deceased, in... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: As a heir, do I have to pay capital gains on money I recvd from property sold from a Testamentary Trust in California?

My mom has 6 rental homes. She just died. It appears to be a 50/50 split, with her trust and my father's who died in 1971. Trusts list me and my 3 brothers as beneficiaries. The properties are to be sold. I have heard the capital gains tax will be 33% or more.

Thank you

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Oct 25, 2019

Capital Gains are the difference between the basis of property and the sale price of property (less selling costs).

Basis of property during life is the original purchase price of property (with adjustments).

Post-mortem basis is adjusted to the Date of Death Fair Market Value,...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Contracts, Antitrust and Probate for California on
Q: Would you challenge" integrity ""Legality" and "Un-natural"creation of a Living Trust if the following events applied?

1. Father was very successful quadriplegic who planned his estate thru a will.

2. Had a tragic accident that put him in a coma for 8 wks r.Then incapacitated by doctors reports thereafter.

3. Mom knew that his will would not pass his estate to her only 1/3 of his wealth

4... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 20, 2019

This is quite evidently a highly fact-specific situation, which is not suitable for this forum, which is for questions of a general information.

In any event, there are critical facts missing from your narrative that could change the answer 180 degrees. Your best bet is to schedule a...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: If a beneficiary on a savings account differs from those in a will ,which beneficiary prevails?
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Oct 19, 2019

Your terms are a bit mixed up.

A savings account does not have a beneficiary unless it is an IRA or 401K. You can name a "pay on death" person though. In either case, the bank paperwork will prevail, but try no to leave those kinds of confusing questions behind!

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: is there a way to get a copy of a will from the courts or something?
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Oct 17, 2019

Yes, once the Will has been filed ("lodged") with the Probate Court it becomes a public record. You can just go to the Probate Court in the county where the person died and look it up.

If the person is still alive, then no -- it is a private document and no one has any right to see it.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I need a lawyer to work with my sister who is deaf but reads lips. One who treats her with respect.

She wants to make sure her son and daughter inherit jointly the rights to her home, which is being somewhat blocked by her daughter. She is in Huntington Park, CA.

James Geoffrey Beirne
James Geoffrey Beirne answered on Oct 15, 2019

Every client deserves respect. Your sister can have a Revocable Living Trust that specifically divides the home evenly between her son and daughter. How is the daughter blocking your sister's wishes?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Thank you, Mr. Gaffney. It is an odd situation.

The plain answer is I don't know. That's why I called for a wellness check and Adult Protective Services. Last week I learned of her having signs of dementia a year ago. It was expressed to me by a family member that she may pass and no one finds out, and he would continue to collect her social... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Oct 14, 2019

Also look out for "undue influence" in changes to the Will or Trust, leaving everything to the brother. It may be reasonable if he took care of her, and if he is the neediest, but it can also be taking advantage of a sick old woman. Just keep an eye out.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Who do you contact if the trustee won't communicate?

I appreciate your time and information, Mr Gaffney, thank you. I assume my brother is sole trustee. We have no relationship. I have gotten no response from mail or phone to my mother (I live in Kentucky, she lives in California). I have done a wellness check through the police. I have reported... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Oct 14, 2019

It is VERY unusual for any agency to have a copy of a trust. it is possible so you can check with the LA County Recorder's office, it is just never really done. The Trust company would be a better bet.

Are you worried that your brother is mistreating your mother? That will be a tough...
Read more »

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