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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: what is ment by a "Bixby Trust"?

Jay Braddock Jackson answered on Jul 19, 2019

A “Bixby Trust” is a type of spendthrift trust instrument. It is written as irrevocable but is not intended to create remainder interests in the Trustor’s heirs at law. In words, the Trustor is the sole beneficiary. For that reason, the Trust is subject to termination by the Trustor. In these... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: California Our mother died and we don't know what claim we have to the house we lived in.

My grandmother had my mother and our family live in her paid off home since I was little. After Grandma died years ago, we continued to live there. My parents never married but my father pays/paid the property taxes every year. My mother suddenly died earlier this month and now an Uncle is trying... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 18, 2019

In order to understand your rights and your potential claim to the property (all or part), an attorney will need to know how title to the property is held, whether there are any wills or trusts, and whether any probate or other court proceedings have taken place. You need to consult with a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: In santa cruz county how long does a conservator have to generate a final accounting following the death of the ward?

My half brother's mother died in November of 2018 and her financial conservator still has not ended her management of the ward's estate in any respect.

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 16, 2019

There is no hard and fast rule. A conservator must file his petition for approval of account when all the information required to be disclosed in the account has been obtained and summarized. A conservator may delay this petition until a probate has been opened in the name of the beneficiary of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on

Q: How do I proceed with pursuing failure to serve me as heir and fiduciary misconduct in my father’s estate?

A questionably valid POA was signed while my dad was on many forms of life support and then a Trust was created with that POA. Money was taken and placed into the POA’s personal bank accounts and she continued to collect that money after his death on the POA. She was required to handle my... Read more »

Richard Samuel Price answered on Jul 11, 2019

You may have to file a petition with the probate court to seek relief. This is complex and you need an attorney. Contact an attorney in your area.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Banking for California on

Q: How do you petition the court to rule other intent under ca probate code 5302 subdivision a

I have a will that states that my mothers joint bank accounts her half of the community property is mine. The law states that joint bank accounts pass to the survivor unless there is other intent which her will clearly states as well as the letter to my father saying that there joint accounts were... Read more »

Richard Samuel Price answered on Jul 9, 2019

There isn't a form for that. You would have to draft a petition on pleading paper. Does the will specifically mention the joint account? Ordinarily, a will does not override a joint account.

1 Answer | Asked in Banking, Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for California on

Q: how to petition court to determine ownership of decedents joint bank accounts

California rules right of survivorship in jointly held bank accounts unless clear and convincing evidence shows other intent by decedent. What forms do I need to file to ask the court to make a ruling on my mothers jointly held bank account when I have a will that says she leaves nothing to her... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jul 8, 2019

You have already asked this question, and at least two lawyers have already responded. If you do not agree with the opinions of the two experienced lawyers then you should hire a probate lawyer to help you.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: My mother passed and left me a will Incase my father did not carry out her wishes

My mother died with joint accounts with my father. I have the original and only will of hers that states that she leaves 100% of her assets in her bank accounts to me. I also have a letter that she instructed me to present to my father stating that the joint accounts were only joint for convenience... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 5, 2019

You're correct that joint tenancy implies the right of survivorship and to dispute the form of title requires clear and convincing evidence. You might have that evidence, but you'll need to prove it in court by a petition filed under CA Probate Code section 850. A bank will not release joint... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: California: In hoarder cleanup for deceased, only will we found was from 1988 that doesn't reflect current $1M+ assets.

I'm pro tem administrator with probate hearing in August. Home is fully paid for but damaged, furniture is trashed, but estate accounts worth about $1.2M. Decedent left one valuable item to a friend, but had a falling out & haven't spoken to that friend since at least 2013. Now only 2 surviving... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jul 3, 2019

It’s the job of the attorney for the executor to help the executor in carrying out his or her duties as executor. If you’re in doubt about what those duties are, re-read the Duties and Liabilities form you signed when became executor. It’s the job of the executor to carry out the terms of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: Inheritance Time Frame

My husband has a terminal illness in which he is expected to live 2-3 weeks, I called his only sister to inform the family (his sister and father)about his prognosis, only to be informed that my father in law had passed away in late April. My father in law and my sis in law are located in New... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jun 30, 2019

The answer depends on whether there was a Will or a Trust or not. If there were such documents, then they would control completely what happens to the assets of your late father-in-law.

Many Wills and Trusts require that the heir survive the deceased by a certain amount of time but it...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on

Q: How do I get my mom's truck when both mother and stepfather have passed away and a friend of his has power of attorney

The truck was my moms registered in her name until after she passed when my stepdad said it goes to me when he buys new truck which he never did before he recently passed away. His friend is claiming he has power of attorney over his stuff even though most was my moms. He made me out to be the bad... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 28, 2019

First, if your mom was survived by a husband and a son, and died without a will, there is a good chance that her truck and personal belongings passed intestate to her husband and not you. But if her belongings were her separate property acquired before marriage or by gift, you might have some... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: judge set trust aside conservator said it was lost. i have the trust what do i do

the conservator isnt doing her job, she lies, harasses, threatens me and others. The court would not re ask my mom questions about if she wanted to keep the conservator and court appointed lawyer after it was known that my mom could not hear the questions because the headphones had got turned off... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 28, 2019

File a petition to set aside the judgment based on new facts or fraud or some other grounds assuming your petition is timely.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: See more information below

I'm looking into a shared living trust with my wife to cover property we own in California, and have a number of particular questions:

1 - in a revocable shared living trust, is it the law in California that after BOTH the original grantors die that the trust must become irrevocable? Is... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 26, 2019

Yes, in a traditional revocable living trust created by husband and wife, the trust would become irrevocable and non-amendable upon the death of one or both of them depending on how the trust is structured, not as a matter of law or convention, rather because the right to revoke and amend a trust... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on

Q: Can i be Admin/pttioner of Est & also file850 prbt code to quiet title? bcuz A home incld in estate is mine,not decedant

Is it ok to be Administrator of Estate if i have conflict with the decendant ownership to a property? This is whats going on....My uncle is the only living son and he figured this was an easy way to inherit something. By changing title to one of my properties into his mothers name who was dying.... Read more »

James Edward Berge answered on Jun 16, 2019

In California, you can file a petition for the appointment of an independent administrator of the estate but you cannot be the administrator because you have a conflict of interest.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Foreclosure and Probate for California on

Q: Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed and sold a property after the owner died. Can they do that without waiting for a probate ?

After the owner died the caretaker stayed living in the house. Caretaker changed all locks and changed phone number. After the house got sold by bank the caretaker received money to move out and she took decendants personal belongings, valuables and all furniture with no accountability. Caretaker... Read more »

Kenneth Sisco answered on Jun 15, 2019

Few things happen automatically, without someone putting things in motion. Most likely, Wells Fargo did everything required of them by the law and the Trust Deed under which the home was sold. It is up to an heir, a friend, or even a creditor to open a probate if they have some interest is doing... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: I live in California. I am disabled. If Both parents pass without a will., Will I inherit their homes automatically?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jun 12, 2019

That depends on whether or not you have siblings. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are disabled.

If one spouse dies intestate (without a Will) then all of the community property passes to the surviving spouse. If that surviving spouse then dies intestate, the estate is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on

Q: Can a court judgement be vacated later if it was determined that all of the witnesses and the lawyer lied in court?

There was a court trial back in 2006 about a property that was gifted to a beneficiary. The other siblings filed in probate court to have the property returned to the trust and won. Later it was determined that the siblings that filed the petition lied in their testimony to the settlor on the... Read more »

Richard Samuel Price answered on May 31, 2019

Why did you wait 13 years?!?! Any statute of limitations or right to appeal is expired.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on

Q: Mom's home appraised 7 mo. Prior to her passing. Since appraisal 5 homes have sold in immediate area sold for far more.

Is executor of will responsible for having appraised again due to fair market value has gone up?

John B. Palley answered on May 27, 2019

If In probate a date of death appraisal by the probate referee is required. If the case is not in probate a date of death appraisal is highly recommended but in certain cases can be avoided. Beyond that there are a lot of issues that an attorney will advise the executor or trustee on. I would... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on

Q: Can anyone advise me where I may be able to find a living trust,I was told it was lost,never had a chance to view it .

To Whom it may concern, thank you in advance for responding to this message,I need to honestly know,if there is any way,I can track down a living trust, my Dad passed away and because at the time, I was in the US military special ops unit,I was unaware of his passing, once the mission was... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on May 24, 2019

There is no good answer to this one.

Are you sure he had a Trust? Did he have the house titled in the name of a Trust? Or bank accounts?

It is possible that the bank or brokerage house will have a copy if he held an account there in the name of the Trust.

It is remotely...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Estate Planning for California on

Q: CAN A LIZ PENENCE BE FILED AGAINST PROPERTY IN AN LLC THAT IS IN DISPUTE

A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED FOR ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE. IF THE PROPERTY ASSETS ARE FROZEN WHO DO THE TENENTS PAY RENT TO

Thomas A. Grossman answered on May 23, 2019

Without knowing all the facts, I would assume that rent payments should be put in a trust at the bank, to be released when the final results of the court hearing are known.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on

Q: Can HOA dues be collected after death?

My mother has property in California that is essentially worthless (no house, just land), but she is still paying her HOA dues and taxes. When she passes, can I close out her estate and abandon the property completely, or can the HOA and tax collector force me to pay dues and taxes? If so, do I... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 15, 2019

If you do not want to keep your mother's land your plan to let it go will work just fine. Or she can sell it now.

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