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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My uncle recently passed away and my sister & i live in his house and are both hiers to the estate.

Can the power of attorney evict us?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Mar 30, 2020

No, the Power of Attorney was only valid while your uncle was alive.

The person with control over the property now is the Trustee (if it is in a Trust), or the Executor appointed by the Probate Court.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: Will I receive a check from the stimulus?

I am trustee of my deceased parents trust and estate, mom died in 2003 and dad in 2014. The assets of the trust are a supplemental investment plan my dad had that I now have and draw money from each year; the balance in the plan is now around $80,000 and I have been drawing $10,500 each year. I... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Mar 26, 2020

No.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: I file a fiduciary tax return for my deceased parents trust every year. The income is less than $75K.

Will I receive a stimulus check?

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Mar 26, 2020

That’s not my understanding. Only individuals with limited income will be entitled to a stimulus check, not trusts.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: thinking of all this COVID business going on am I still allowed to give tenants 60 days notice?

We are in the middle of settling my father in law's estate and that includes getting rid of the people living in the house. He was living in the property but renting the main house. Without a contract. They have been paying monthly but less than similar rentals in the area. They also are subletting... Read more »

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez answered on Mar 26, 2020

Just to be safe, wait for 60 days and see what the new regulations are at that time. Then, if you must, you could send them the 60 days Notice. However, be advised that certain cities have regulations regarding buyout of tenancies in the form of relocation packages. Make sure you have an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate, Contracts and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: I need a attorney that’s willing to take a probate case as on pro bono or a contingency of 50/50 split

My mother died and I gave the will to my father who did not lodge it. He had me sign a contract that if I take action that he will stop my monthly stipend my mother set up before she died. After signing the contact I found that she had a trust but he nor the trust attorney will give me copies of.... Read more »

Naomi Stal
Naomi Stal answered on Mar 22, 2020

You probably need to clarify what you are hiring an attorney to do on your behalf. If you are claiming a right as a beneficiary in her trust then there were/are steps the Trustee of the trust had to take, including sending you some notices after your mom died as well as a copy of the trust. An... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Once an estate has been liquidated, how long does executor have to distribute funds to heirs?

There is no contention as to the status of funds. They are in accounts available to executors. First and second executor are siblings to rest of heirs. Primary executor just says he’ll get around to it sometime.

Sean David Ethington
Sean David Ethington answered on Mar 21, 2020

More information is necessary to properly answer your question. Is this a trust estate or will probate be necessary? In either scenario beneficiaries are entitled to information and certain documentation. You may need to consult an attorney to insure the estate is being handled appropriately and... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother in law died and left my husband and I over $200k. She didn’t put my name on the account.

Before passing, she showed me how to access the account and that she was glad it would help us. My husband didn’t know about the account value until I told him about it after she died. His grief pushed him over the edge, he got a girlfriend and left me after obtaining this account. Divorce has... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Mar 20, 2020

If she never put your name on the account and never left it to you in a Will or Trust, then it belongs to him and him alone. Any inheritance like that is Separate Property and not Community Property, so you do not have any rights to it.

Sorry.

But if you are hiring a divorce...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: For listing assets in a trust, how specific does it have to be? Can I list "Chase Bank account"? Whole account number?
David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Mar 20, 2020

The more detailed and specific the better; (within reason); the location of the bank or brokerage, or property. The balance of dollars is not necessary; But, you do want to make it as easy as possible for the person who will be managing your estate or trust or company to locate and marshall all of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My wife died,her exhusband was notified his mortician friend listed her as single and their son next of kin. What do

She died out of state so mortuary in new mexico took ca mortuaries word (which was exhusbands friend and knew she was married) that she was not married they cremated her against her wishes held services and then contacted me

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Mar 16, 2020

MORE FACTS NEEDED.

THE LEAST I WOULD DO IF I COULD NOT AFFORD A LAWYER WOULD BE TO SUE IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT.

SUE WHERE YOU LIVE AND LET THEM ARGUE OVER JURISDICTION. IF SHE LIVED WITH YOU I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE JURISDICTION.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: It's been over 11 years since our attorney started probate, but he won't finish. What remedy do I have? Trapped in CA.

It appears that he has completed almost all the steps, but won't complete the petition for distribution.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Mar 14, 2020

You can always terminate his services and hire another attorney to complete the probate, or you can try to do it yourself with the help of a paralegal or do-it-yourself book. I suspect there are complications of which you are unaware which prevent final closure. It should not take 11 years to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My brother has a will, but did not tell me his lawyer's name. How will the lawyer find out that he is now deceased?

The lawyer is probably in Santa Clara county, but could be in a neighboring county. Thank you in advance! He had no copy of the will. His estate is only a older car and a small amount of money in the bank

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 14, 2020

Your brother should at least have had a copy of his will if not the original. Try looking for it in the usual places.

If that doesn’t work hire a probate attorney who does work either in Santa Clara County or statewide. Many of us have ways of networking with our colleagues to find out...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How do I get a copy of my dad's will. My aunt has not gave me any info. I've ask numerous of times.

I am my dad's only daughter I have one brother. My dad was a cardiovascular surgeon and my aunt tells me that he didn't ha e nothing g

David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Mar 13, 2020

You are entitled to a copy of your Dad's will. You are an heir at law. You should request a copy in writing If refused and you want a copy, you may need to engage a lawyer who knows probate and trust law in CA.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for California on
Q: Is there anyone that can help me with a conservatorship with little or no money for retainer?

My husband is suffering from cognitive decline and has lost almost everything. His employees and ex business partner have stolen so much from us.

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Mar 10, 2020

It depends on what you need. The Legal Aid Society and other agencies have free conservatorship clinics (I volunteer at the San Diego one); Google around. They normally only will do conservatorship of the Person, which gives you the right to run that person's life and medical decisions.... Read more »

Q: Can I deposit my Daughters $19K Jackpot winnings into her Special Needs Trust so that SSI doesn’t stop her monthly pmnt

She is on SSI and is Bi Polar. There is a Special Needs Trust set up for her. She won this playing Bingo and the Casino took all the taxes out and gave her $5,000 cash and the rest in a check because that is what she asked them to do. I found out about it and have all of it now and wondering what I... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 10, 2020

Yes if her special needs trust is a first party SNT; otherwise no. If it is not a first party SNT the best choice is probably an ABLE account if she is eligible.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: I was left a home in trust. Can I put the home in my name although there is still a 2nd with about 20k left?

I've been paying the mortgage/bills as "the estate of" for 2 years along with the home insurance that's sky high because it's a trust.

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

Yes. You can transfer title to the property from a trust to your name as beneficiary without triggering a due-on-sale clause in the loan agreement under the Garn St. Germaine Act. The lien carries over to the new owner however, so keep paying the mortgage.

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4 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for California on
Q: common law marriage and inheritance

My father passed away and left no will. He and my mother were divorced, and he lived with another woman for 18 years unmarried. There are a few small things I would like to have as keepsakes, and his vehicle was in his name alone. As his blood relative am I entitled to these few things? or is... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Mar 6, 2020

There is no common law marriage in California. She has no rights to his property.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mom died Wednesday, she left a handwritten/sealed will. We have a grant deed naming us both as 'joint tenants'

there is a mortgage on the townhouse but i am not sure what to do next; please advise. Do i need a Probate lawyer? Mom's doesn't have any other assets but has credit card debt.

Thank you

Jennifer

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

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Since the property was held in joint tenancy, it passes by right of survivorship to you as the surviving owner. All you need to do to establish your sole ownership of the property is to file and record an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My brother had his lawyer draw up papers stating anyone who took property from my moms estate will be cut inheritance

Are these papers enforceable since it's not his property &there hasn't been a probate court hearing yet? Can this stop him fr being the administrator?

David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Feb 27, 2020

The probate Court Judge will sort this all out. If you want to call something to the attention of the Probate Court Judge file a petition with the Court putting all facts before the Court. Give Notice to all parties. Use a lawyer familiar with Probate Court Procedures.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: in California is it true that all assets get split equally between the beneficiaries without a will?

a parent recently passed away unexpectedly and they never got around to updating their pension, retirement accounts or will. The Will that we had was “dismissed” so that all of the children get equal shares however nothing was said about his pension which (because it was created so long ago)... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Feb 27, 2020

I think you are saying that the parent only named one child as beneficiary of his retirement account. If that is so, then that is a binding decision on the part of the parent.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My father died over 15 yrs ago in Alabama Someway my cousin started using the property as hers. I live in Ca.

She wont dicuss it with me. But is that my property and how do i get it returned to me.

David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Feb 25, 2020

If your father gave it to you in his will, it became yours the instant your father died.

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