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California Probate Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Regarding an insurance policy

Insurance Company recently discovered a small policy of Mother who passed in 2001. Father (husband) passed a few years after Mom. Five siblings survive. There's no will, no estate and we gave the insurance company the death certificates. What is needed to get this small amount to the siblings?

Ben F Meek III
Ben F Meek III answered on May 28, 2020

Most states have what are called "small estate affidavits" or "affidavits of heirship", which allow the heirs to swear under penalties of perjury to certain facts, such as: that your mom has died; that she left no will; that no probate proceeding has been started for her... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: My grandmother passed away in November, the house is being sold

I am a beneficiary and under ca. Probate code 16061.7 I am required to get copy of the trust now that it is irrevocable, question is do I have a right to see the escrow/title documents prior to closing? What other documents am I entitled to get a copy of, If different than the above code what is... Read more »

Zaher Fallahi
Zaher Fallahi answered on May 26, 2020

I would consult a probate attorney immediately. Trying to learn the law and the forms, may cost you dearly. I hope this helps. Zaher Fallahi, Esq, CPA (CA &D.C.).

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not intended for and may not be construed as solicitation, or legal and tax...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Child Support and Probate for California on
Q: I need to collect child support via someone's inheritance, which is in probate. What forms would I use in California ?

Child support order is in place. Arrears is owed

Zaher Fallahi
Zaher Fallahi answered on May 26, 2020

Go to the county probate court’s Website, find the case information and the law firm’s contact information, and deliver the claim to them. The law firm must pay all valid liabilities before distributing the estate. Alternatively, contact the probate court and seek their help. I hope this helps.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Trustee making statements that she can move forth At her discretion and will block beneficiary’s number.

My grandmother passed away two weeks ago. The family has been notified by A friend of hers who is stated to be the quoted trustee of her trust. She has stated that after 30days of the receipt of the death certificate she will mail a copy of the trust to all beneficiaries. She has also stated that... Read more »

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

A trustee has a duty of loyalty, fair mindedness and accountability to all beneficiaries of the trust with respect to trust-owned assets. A trustee does not have the right to withhold information from beneficiaries upon reasonable request. Google the search term trustee duties and see for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: If he died was deported never married I have a child can I still get money
Mike Darlington
Mike Darlington answered on May 6, 2020

What I am getting from your question, and I may be wrong, is that you and the father of your child were never married, that he was deported and then died. Your question is, I believe, can you still get child support? If the father is deceased, of course, you cannot get child support from him, or... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My son passed away last August. I paperwork with his company for insurance is complete. What are the next steps in CA?

I have not filed any paperwork with the state. There is NO property other than books, furniture, personal items etc. and his insurance.

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on May 5, 2020

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I'm assuming you're talking about life insurance paperwork. If you're the named beneficiary on his life insurance policy, the insurance company will simply write you a check if that's your wish. If he had no beneficiary named... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: California: Can she alter the terms of the trust and refuse to sign the deed?

My oldest sister is the trustee of my mother’s trust. The only item in the trust is my mother’s home. The trust terms are that the home is divided equally among my two sisters and myself. There is an existing mortgage on the home. We have agreed I may purchase the home and buy out their... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 5, 2020

The most straightforward way is for you to open an escrow and deposit the entire purchase price. Then those funds are used to pay the mortgage and closing costs. What is left is split three ways. If you don't have all cash, then you will have to get a loan, so you will deposit part cash and... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Probate for California on
Q: Does F.C. 3044 apply in a probate guardianship matter, where the mother of children has been abusive?
Mike Darlington
Mike Darlington answered on May 3, 2020

No, not as far as the presumption is concerned. While the act itself is certainly relevant to the issue of guardianship; it is not a family law custody matter and so 3044 would not apply.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Dad left house to me & my brother. My brother died & my my dad died 1 week later. Do i get the house or split w his son?

My dad did leave my brothers son money. But the house was instructed specifically to me and my brother to split but my dad died just one week after my brother and didn’t have time to amend the will. He said the house is all mine? Does my nephew have claim to the house?

David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on May 3, 2020

A local probate and trust lawyer needs to read the will. It all depends on the terms of the will.

Typically your Dad's will would provide what disposition is to be made if you or your brother predecease your Dad.

You need to take your Dad's will to s probate and trust...
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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My father died without a will. I don’t believe that. He always told me he left me life insurance. I am his daughter.

Does my mom just get everything? No questions asked? Because she claims he didn’t have a will?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 2, 2020

The existence or absence of a will is usually irrelevant when it comes fo life insurance. Life insurance usually is paid out pursuant to a beneficiary designation unless the designated beneficiary is the estate, which is rare.

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3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mom left house equally to me & my sister. My sister died same day as mom. Do i get house or do her kids get half?

Mom has a will leaving both myself and my sister equally 50/50 her house. But my sister and mom both died on the same day. Do i inherit the entire house or is my sisters husband or kids entitled to half of the house? My aunt was assigned the executor of the will. The grandkids were left specific... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 2, 2020

Most likely you are going to own the house with your sister’s heirs but there is no way to know that with certainty without reviewing the will.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Collections and Probate for California on
Q: Is the surviving spouse liable for the deceased spouse's credit card debt if only in the deceased's name?

If credit card debt was taken out by the deceased spouse in their name only and without the surviving spouse's knowledge, what rights does the surviving spouse have? Are they still liable for the debt? There is no will or estate.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Apr 29, 2020

That's tough to answer as there are many variables and ways it could go. A general rule in probate is that a person (spouse or otherwise) is liable for debts (even if they didn't know about it) to the extent they received assets from the decedent. So if the spouse received money/assets... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: The trust terms: divide the home equally one third each. Can my trustee sister demand I pay the entire existing mortgage

My two sisters and I have agreed I will buy their interest in the home. My sister who is the trustee demands I pay the entire existing mortgage or she will not sign the deed. The trust terms are the home is divided equally one third each. Can my sister alter the terms, threaten to not sign the deed... Read more »

Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell answered on Apr 28, 2020

There are private investors who provide liquidity to estates for exactly this situation. They provide funding to allay your Sister's apprehension, and should also provide guidance in preserving the historical property tax.

Jonathan Purcell is a California Attorney. This posting does...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Banking and Probate for California on
Q: I’m the trustee for a special needs trust the beneficiary is my sister inlaw

I am trustee my husband is co trustee of his mothers trust and each share one half the sisters half will be a 3 party SNT FOR 21 years she was not on ssi age 37, she suffered from depression and her mom was worried and wanted to make sure she would qualify for assistance. I am the executor /... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Apr 28, 2020

A California special needs trust that has been validly created avoids probate. Pursuant to the provisions of the special needs trust, a trustee has a fiduciary responsibility for the management of trust assets. A breach of that responsibility can create liability for the trustee. If the special... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my mom notarized a letter, to sell her home (with mortgage) and split proceeds equally with siblings. Is Probate needed
David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Apr 16, 2020

Maybe the letter qualifies as a handwritten will. You need to take it to a lawyer to find out. Maybe the letter could qualify as a trust. I don't know . You need to take it to a lawyer who prepares wills and trusts and does probate and trust work. Maybe the letter qualifies as a deed. You need... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: California probate

Sister died and now my 2 brothers and I are involved in her probate. One brother wants to continue to live in her house and sell it down the road instead of selling it now and splitting the proceeds. I want to sell it now. Will the probate judge decide which? Can probate close and settle if we... Read more »

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Apr 16, 2020

Normally cash is needed to close (end) probate. That is cash for attorney fees, executor fees, court costs. So probate can't close without selling the house unless someone puts in cash. I would come up with a distribution agreement and have everybody sign off. Good luck.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My sister and I are beneficiaries in my dad's life insurance. She had all his property and won't let me get his paperwok

I need his paperwork to get started on seeing what dents he has and so I can get his life insurance to the funeral home.

David Ostrove
David Ostrove answered on Apr 11, 2020

You are both beneficiaries so you both own the life insurance proceeds. Equally!

You should cooperate with each other with respect to the life insurance policy and its proceeds. Sometimes, in life insurance cases like yours, you need to file a petition in court to sort out any disputes....
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Probate for California on
Q: If I am not on probation but my roommate is, can they search my safe that I only have access too
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Apr 6, 2020

more info needed.

it is like asking how you could get CV19 if you didn't go out of the house? someone would have to evaluate what came into your home etc.

how would the police know it was yours? did they find anything illegal?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: How long does a representative have to distribute funds to the heirs after probate is finished?

Probate court finished in January. The case is in Phoenix AZ

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 31, 2020

Your question landing in the California section. You need to ask it again in the Arizona section.

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4 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Can I just do a notorized letter instead of a will in leaving my house to my child and the deed is in my name?
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Mar 30, 2020

No, you can not. If you do not want to use a will or trust, you can use a deed. All of these methods require strict adherence to the correct form, although they are not necessarily complicated.

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