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California Probate Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Do I need to file as personal representative of the Estate before filing petition of small estate166,222 or less?

Would like to file for determination of succession of real and personal property under 166,222 in California. Home has mortgage of 150000 and no other assets. Small amount in checking but that's all.

John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 3, 2020

You do not need to file to be PR before filing a small estate petition. However, you do need to get the house valued by a California Probate Referee for that county. Also, the mortgage does not play into the valuation. The $166,250 value is just based on the gross value of the property. So you can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I need a probate lawyer ASAP. I live in Modesto,ca I dont have much money, but am willing to pay what I can.
John B. Palley
John B. Palley answered on Aug 1, 2020

Can you summarize the situation? A lot of times there is no money needed to start probate. Really depends on the facts. Feel free to post here or email me directly your summary.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: How do I go against a rejection of my creditor’s claim in California probate court?
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Aug 1, 2020

You need to hire a "Probate Attorney" in your local area and take him all the paperwork to evaluate what you should do next. Chris M. Bradford is an attorney on this site and has excellent credentials on this site. He is #1 on the Probate leaderboard, but he is located in Santa Monica.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: If I reside in California but my family all live in Pennsylvania, in what state should I make out a Will?

I am a 50 year old woman living in California. I never married, have no kids and minimal assets (I own my car and have about $1000 in the bank). Both of my parents and my siblings all live in Pennsylvania. I'm starting the process of "getting my affairs in order" and think the first... Read more »

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

California. You live here and that is where the Will would be Probated.

Your estate sounds like it would use Simplified Probate (less than $160,000 and no real estate) so the Will won't go thorugh "real" Probate anyway.

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4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Insurance Bad Faith and Probate for California on
Q: Is a son or daughter of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy entitled to the proceeds if the the benefiary dies?

And son or daughter is not listed as a beneficiary on the policy?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 26, 2020

The money goes to the estate of the deceased beneficiary. Then it is distributed based on their Will or the law (if they died without one).

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My brother is 57, on full disability (Parkinson's Disease) and lives in Sutter County.

He doesn't own anything other than household goods. No vehicle or home.

I am a legal assistant in Iowa and will be in charge when he dies. What would be the pros/cons of him having a will drawn up?

He does have a Health Care and Financial POA already executed.

Thank you.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 23, 2020

He should have a will that designates a beneficiary for whatever little he owns, and a person who he trusts to handle the distribution of his property and the disposition of his remains, at least. Does not sound like he should spend a lot of money on an estate plan if he owns nothing. You might... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What is the process for appointing someone as a substitute in the case of property shares in a living trust?

My grandmother left her home to her five children in a living trust, and my mother and uncle are requesting to leave their shares to me. The property cannot be sold unless all five children agree to sell it, and currently my mother and uncle are living at the property with myself. They would like... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Jul 22, 2020

Is the property still held by the Trust? If it is, then only the Trust can say how it may be passed.

If the Trust closed down then the Trustee should have deeded the house to the five siblings; then if they want to pass you their 20% interest they can do so with a deed.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: If I am seeking to end a gaurdenship, but want a change of venue, can I ask for one?

gaurdenship was granted of my kids to thier aunt, but I didn't understand at all what my options were at the time. Both people asking for the kids knew the judge. The judge acknowledged this and said I could change venues. At the time Both parties lived in orange county, and Santa Ana was only... Read more »

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 17, 2020

You can challenge a judge but it has to be at the beginning of the case and your case has already been decided. Once a guardianship has been set up, you can make a motion for it to be terminated, but you have to have a good reason to do so. If a guardianship was ordered in Orange county, you have... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: lived unwed with SO for 30+ yrs. He passed no will, daughter wants to claim everything. She have rights to items in home

There was a restraining order against the daughter 6 years ago but I’m not sure if it’s still in place, we didn’t renew it. She wants to take everything in our home and says everything is hers. My name is not on the house title.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 15, 2020

First, the restraining order has no effect on division of items after death.

Secondly, who gets what, when there is no will, is broken down into two major categories.

The first category is items which have ownership papers of some kind. For example a house has a deed, which is an...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My rights oldest daughter only one father passed what are my rights owns house in Walnut Creek calif
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 15, 2020

I am sorry for your loss. It is unclear who passed away. It sounds like the father of your oldest daughter passed away. Is that correct? There are three main ways to collect assets from someone who passed away: First the person wrote will or trust and left you a gift. You have to read the... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my aunt put me on the deed to her house she passed away and didnt have a will do i need to go throuqh probate
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 13, 2020

Sorry to hear that your aunt passed away.

This information that follows only applies to deeds in California. If the deed is in another state, you will need get information related to that state. Assuming the house is in California, first you need a copy of the deed. You can get a copy...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My mother passed in CA with no will and a sub $10,000 bank account. With a Small Estate Affidavit can Medi-cal bill me.

I'm mostly concerned with Medi-Cal billing me for costs against her estate even if it doesn't go to probate. She had no will and no beneficiary listed on the account. If they can how do I subtract the burial costs?

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jul 11, 2020

Yes. Medi-Cal can and will bill you once you have provided them with a notice of death and a copy of the death certificate which you are obligated to do.

You are however entitled to reimbursement of your costs of burial before they get paid.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: Dad died yeas ago, one gift refused to take the money he had been left (~$5000), then he died . What is status of money

My uncle did not take money because he did not trust the government in China. When he died, his wife also would not take money for the same reason, they had 2 sons, one has died. We do not have any contact with them. My dad died in 1982. We are trying to resolve this issue.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 10, 2020

If a beneficiary to a will or trust refused to take a gift given to him or her, it goes back into the "remainder" of the estate. Then the executor of the will or the trustee of the trust reads the will or trust and sees who gets the "remainder" of the estate. The will or trust... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: Mom lived in house 50+yrs & paid off original mortgage in her mom's name. She has 3 siblings, who owns it?

Grandmother died in 1970's. There was no probate. Her siblings want to sell the house now to split cash for retirement, but she does not want to leave. Can they force my mom to move and sell? Who owns the house? Unknown if there is a will or who's name is on the title of the house.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 9, 2020

It is not possible to answer your questions without more information. This will probably require some kind of probate procedure to get the title out of your grandmother's name and into the names of her heirs. Who those heirs are depends on facts that have not been stated. Your best bet is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Banking, Child Custody and Probate for California on
Q: What do I have to do to get money out of a court blocked account?

My name is Elijah I am 21, I live in Los Angeles, CA. Mother died in 2008 when I was a minor and soon after my grandmother was named my guardian and a bank account of some of my mother's money was set up for me by the court. I went to Bank of America and they told me I have to get a document... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jul 8, 2020

This self-help guide from Sacramento County should help you, even in Los Angeles County.

https://saclaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sbs-withdrawing-funds-from-a-blocked-account.pdf

Good luck!

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How do I get a list of expenses paid for a special needs trust?

My ex-wife has been overseeing my daughters special needs trust. I have reason to believe that she is submitting fraudulent receipts to be reimbursed for items she has not purchased. How do I go about getting a copy of the expenses? I have asked my ex wife and my family law attorney has also and... Read more »

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 5, 2020

You have requested an "accounting" from the trustee of the trust, your ex-wife. Since you have received no response, you need to file a petition to the court asking to allow you to intervene in the trust on behalf of your daughter, the beneficiary, and then asking for an accounting. It... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Personal Representative Dishonesty

The personal representative of my father’s estate told me that “there is nothing for me to inherit”. I had no reason to believe otherwise until a year later I found out that I was entitled to half.

Is there anything I can do to regain my inheritance or would the burden have been on... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Jul 4, 2020

If the personal representative was the executor of the estate, that person would be acting under court supervision and the court would ensure that you get everything you’re entitled to before authorizing the final distribution of that estate and discharging the executor from any remaining duties.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody, Child Support and Probate for California on
Q: CPS removed my son 12/9/2013, 2 days after his birth. I successfully closed my case and got him back 8/13/2015....

Then took him again 8/3/2017 and forced me into signing a voluntary temporary guardianship for my son to live with his paternal grandmother due to domestic problems and false allegations in a bitter divorce from his father. No drug test given, no criminal charges filed, and no proof to support... Read more »

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 1, 2020

It is unclear whether you are still in Juvenile Dependency Court or the Guardianship Court. In Dependency Court you are awarded your own attorney, as you probably know, and you would need to ask them what to do next which will depend on what has already happened in the past. You probably already... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Do I have to allow a fellow heir to live in a house with a mortgage if they refuse to pay the mortgage, taxes or upkeep?

From California. Mother passed away without a will, and home to be passed to me and my six siblings. I have been paying the mortgage and taxes to keep the house, but my brother refuses to pay anything towards the house. Attempted mediation, but he did not show. Once the house clears probate, do I... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 1, 2020

You are not stuck paying your brother's share, at least not forever. If you can't get your sister to do anything inside the probate case, then after the probate case is concluded and the house is in all of your names, file a "partition" lawsuit against all of the other owners... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My sister (executor of trust) is denying me a piece of property because she believes I can't afford to build on it.

My father has three sons and a daughter, as well as two grandsons.

He owns three Parcels of land up in Humboldt County.

He hoped one of us would want to do something with one of the properties so he stated in his will that if any of his kids or grandsons wanted a piece of property... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 29, 2020

As a Trustee, your sister's powers and obligations are defined by the Trust document. If she is acting contrary to the express terms of the trust, you have many avenues to pursue, one being her removal, another being a court order for her to transfer property. None of these will be cheap or... Read more »

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