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California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Selling CA home. Deed in my name only. We live in NV. Does comm prop law protect my spouse if I die during sale process?

I just acquired house from late father's trust. Been married 45 years.

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
answered on May 21, 2024

Thank you for your question!

Under California laws, Assets obtained through heritage are separate properties even if during marriage.

The house was obtained through a trust from your father. It would be probably a separate property, rather than a community property if you lived in...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Selling CA home. Deed in my name only. We live in NV. Does comm prop law protect my spouse if I die during sale process?

I just acquired house from late father's trust. Been married 45 years.

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 21, 2024

Since you acquired the house from your late father's trust, it is likely considered your separate property rather than community property under California law. However, there are a few important considerations:

1. Commingling: If you use any community funds (e.g., income earned during...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Im a beneficiary and have no I. D or bank account. Is there any way other than a check that i can receive my money?

Is there another way to cash it with out id or bank account?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 20, 2024

If you are a beneficiary in California without an ID or bank account, there are a few potential options for receiving your funds besides a traditional check:

1. Prepaid debit card: Some benefits programs may offer the option to receive funds on a prepaid debit card. You would need to check...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Im a beneficiary and have no I. D or bank account. Is there any way other than a check that i can receive my money?

Is there another way to cash it with out id or bank account?

Karn Thapar
Karn Thapar
answered on May 20, 2024

Distributions to beneficiaries do not necessarily have to be via check. They could be paid in other forms. However, depending on the estate matter, the individual providing the distribution may require a receipt.

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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: My mom owned a house in Los Angeles as trustee with me as successor trustee. She died in 2/24. Must I change the deed?

THE REVOCABLE trust for the house was written as the 'MY MOM's NAME trust dated October 11, 2022,' and the house title/deed was changed at the LA county reg/recorder's office & Assessor's to that effect on the next day. NOTHING else, such as bank accounts, is in the... View More

James Clifton
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James Clifton
answered on May 19, 2024

1. Changing the Deed and Reassessment

When your mom, the original trustee, passed away, as the successor trustee, you typically have the responsibility to manage and eventually distribute the trust's assets according to its terms. Here's what you need to consider regarding the...
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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: My mom owned a house in Los Angeles as trustee with me as successor trustee. She died in 2/24. Must I change the deed?

THE REVOCABLE trust for the house was written as the 'MY MOM's NAME trust dated October 11, 2022,' and the house title/deed was changed at the LA county reg/recorder's office & Assessor's to that effect on the next day. NOTHING else, such as bank accounts, is in the... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 19, 2024

Based on the information you provided, here are the answers to your questions under California law:

1. Changing the deed:

Since the house was already in the trust with your mother as the trustee and you as the successor trustee, the property should automatically pass to you as the...
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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: My mom owned a house in Los Angeles as trustee with me as successor trustee. She died in 2/24. Must I change the deed?

THE REVOCABLE trust for the house was written as the 'MY MOM's NAME trust dated October 11, 2022,' and the house title/deed was changed at the LA county reg/recorder's office & Assessor's to that effect on the next day. NOTHING else, such as bank accounts, is in the... View More

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 19, 2024

The previous lawyers gave you good information. As I often tell my clients, there’s a legal answer and a practical answer to your question and those answers are often different. Legally, there is no requirement that you change title to your name as trustee. But, some realtors, mortgage companies... View More

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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for California on
Q: My mom owned a house in Los Angeles as trustee with me as successor trustee. She died in 2/24. Must I change the deed?

THE REVOCABLE trust for the house was written as the 'MY MOM's NAME trust dated October 11, 2022,' and the house title/deed was changed at the LA county reg/recorder's office & Assessor's to that effect on the next day. NOTHING else, such as bank accounts, is in the... View More

Rebecca Sommer
Rebecca Sommer
answered on May 20, 2024

I want to clarify something in your question which impacts the answer. Your question is around being the successor trustee which is what my colleagues have addressed (no requirement to change the deed to you as the successor trustee).

HOWEVER, you also mention that you are the only heir. If...
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2 Answers | Asked in Legal Malpractice and Estate Planning for California on
Q: Do I have any recourse against Trust Attorney/DPOA that change the trust that was intended to be signed

The trust that had been consistent with beneficiary distribution for five weeks changed massively in the 25 minute meeting to sign the trust and left with no trust. When requested it was evident what happened and the request was made to send the correct trust With the minor changes that we’re... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 19, 2024

I'm sorry to hear about the situation with your father's trust and his passing. This sounds like a complex and difficult legal matter. In general, under California law, you may have some potential avenues to challenge the actions of the attorney or agent acting under a Durable Power of... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Estate Planning / Real Estate Law...Prop 13 & Prop 19

Can a Sonoma County (Petaluma) homeowner, who has owned their home for approx. 45 years, add a family member (sister) to the deed without impacting the benefits of Prop 13? The Will/Trust states the house is to be inherited by the sister, but then inheritance taxes would apply, correct? What is... View More

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 18, 2024

Sorry to say, the only way to avoid a reassessment for property tax purposes is when property is transferred between spouses, parents and children, and/or grandparents and grandchildren IF the parents are deceased. There is no exemption in any law that says you can transfer property to a sibling,... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Estate Planning / Real Estate Law...Prop 13 & Prop 19

Can a Sonoma County (Petaluma) homeowner, who has owned their home for approx. 45 years, add a family member (sister) to the deed without impacting the benefits of Prop 13? The Will/Trust states the house is to be inherited by the sister, but then inheritance taxes would apply, correct? What is... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 18, 2024

Under California law, transferring ownership of a property can have significant tax implications. In this case, there are a few key points to consider:

1. Prop 13: This proposition limits property tax increases on a property until there is a change in ownership. Adding a sister to the deed...
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Any reasons why dying intestate in California wouldn't b a reasonable choice to eliminate task burden on family/friends?

I'm single, no children and was looking at making a will. I have no material items of value but there may be some money left when I die. I realize the state succession of parent, then siblings, then their children is an acceptable distribution for me. Three named executors are required on the... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 16, 2024

While dying intestate (without a will) in California may seem like a way to reduce the burden on your family and friends, there are several reasons why it might not be the best choice:

1. Lack of control: By not having a will, you relinquish control over how your assets will be distributed....
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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Any reasons why dying intestate in California wouldn't b a reasonable choice to eliminate task burden on family/friends?

I'm single, no children and was looking at making a will. I have no material items of value but there may be some money left when I die. I realize the state succession of parent, then siblings, then their children is an acceptable distribution for me. Three named executors are required on the... View More

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 16, 2024

I’m sorry to say, the state only comes in as the absolute last resort. Your family is always required to take care of your things. But, if they refuse to do it and completely abandon all of your assets, the state will take bank accounts and things like that. If you are renting, check your lease... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Any reasons why dying intestate in California wouldn't b a reasonable choice to eliminate task burden on family/friends?

I'm single, no children and was looking at making a will. I have no material items of value but there may be some money left when I die. I realize the state succession of parent, then siblings, then their children is an acceptable distribution for me. Three named executors are required on the... View More

Karn Thapar
Karn Thapar
answered on May 16, 2024

The state only gets involved as a last resort. If there are known family members, they generally have the responsibility to take care of affairs after an individual passes away.

Inheritance priority generally goes to spouses, children, parents and then siblings. Another thing to keep in...
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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for California on
Q: Can a friend make end of life decisions without any signed documents. when next of kin is present
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 16, 2024

In California, if a person has not appointed a healthcare agent or completed an Advance Health Care Directive, the law does not allow a friend to make end-of-life decisions when a next of kin is present. California law specifies a hierarchy of decision-makers for healthcare decisions, prioritizing... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: If you have got the petitioner to admit on the stand she and another were caregiver doesn't that take away undue influen

If you can show through declarations and documents that you were somewhere else?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 13, 2024

Under California law, proving that a petitioner and another person were caregivers can indeed influence the court’s view on whether undue influence was exerted. If the caregivers had significant control or influence over an individual, especially one who might have been vulnerable or dependent,... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: Is it illegal to have someone type up a letter for power of attorney when they are in the red deathbed unable to sign

I was denied being to see mother bc a h cake typed up a letter for power of attorney for my mother and had my youngest brother who she didn’t raise and didn’t trust sign it and which lead to me not being able to see her bc he said and not being able to get info for her services even after... View More

Karn Thapar
Karn Thapar
answered on May 9, 2024

There are many issues here and you may be best served by speaking with a qualified attorney. As you stated, a power of attorney only applies during the lifetime of the individual. It ceases effectiveness at death. Additionally, it seems that there may be questions regarding the individual's... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: Is it illegal to have someone type up a letter for power of attorney when they are in the red deathbed unable to sign

I was denied being to see mother bc a h cake typed up a letter for power of attorney for my mother and had my youngest brother who she didn’t raise and didn’t trust sign it and which lead to me not being able to see her bc he said and not being able to get info for her services even after... View More

Julie King
Julie King
answered on May 9, 2024

One of the key questions is whether a physician has opined that your mother no longer had sufficient mental capacity to understand what she was signing before she signed the power of attorney. People can lose their mental capacity from a legal standpoint years before death or never take place at... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: Is it illegal to have someone type up a letter for power of attorney when they are in the red deathbed unable to sign

I was denied being to see mother bc a h cake typed up a letter for power of attorney for my mother and had my youngest brother who she didn’t raise and didn’t trust sign it and which lead to me not being able to see her bc he said and not being able to get info for her services even after... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 9, 2024

I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult situation with your mother's passing and the issues surrounding her power of attorney. A few key points:

1. Power of attorney (POA) is only valid while the person granting it is alive. Once the person passes away, the POA is no longer in...
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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Probate and Estate Planning for California on
Q: If a former conservatee has been declared competent, then restates their Living Trust, can the court on it's own motion

If a former conservatee has been declared competent, then restates their Living Trust, can the court years later on it's own motion appoint a new trustee despite the Trustee's objection?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on May 6, 2024

Under California law, if a former conservatee has been declared competent and has restated their Living Trust, the court generally does not have the authority to appoint a new trustee on its own motion years later, especially if the current trustee objects.

Here are a few key points to...
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