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California Probate Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mother was beneficiary but she died before the insured. Who does money go to?

The insured died after his sister who was the beneficiary. He lived in national city California

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 16, 2019

It depends a lot on what this is. Is it life insurance proceeds? Is it a bank account? Is it an IRA or a 401(k) account? The most likely answer is the money will go to the contingent beneficiary. If there is no contingent beneficiary then most likely it will go to the estate of the decedent and a... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My Uncle died in Nevada, never married, no children. 2 Hospital bills. I am in CA. less $70,000. in bank account.

I paid for his cremation and electric bill. He does not owe anyone else. there is no will.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 15, 2019

What is your question?

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Civil Rights, Elder Law and Probate for California on
Q: I'm about to sign POAs with my daughter for both health care and asset management. I trust her. But if she dies...

I'm doing estate planning. If she dies, and I become incapacitated, who decides that I am? And how would that decision be made?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 11, 2019

There is no one single correct answer to your question. These are issues that an experienced estate planning attorney can help you sort through in the process of preparing customized powers of attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: California - Real property title transfer verbiage following Order on a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Prop.

Order determined property to be divided equally between 8 siblings and was filed with the recorder's office. Now everyone agrees to allow only sibling living in the city of the where the property is located sole ownership so that the house may be sold.

All other options have been explored... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Oct 7, 2019

I recommend that you seek legal and tax advice before you go forward. In general, if there is a recorded court order distributing real property to a person or persons the recorded order is like a deed and shows ownership of the property to the distributee(s). If the order distributes real property... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Nursing Home Abuse, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How do I present an effective ex-parte order so the judge will realize the abused and let me stay with her at nigh shif

My grandmas conservator is abusing her I have been watching her recklessly spend 200,000 plus dollars but mostly they have almost killed her. She over the past year has fallen many times . She has broken many bones. The latest fall fractured her hip in many places and broke her arm in half. I... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 5, 2019

Contact your local Adult Protective Services office and also hire a different attorney.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Contracts and Probate for California on
Q: Do beneficiaries of a trust have a right to access of the same info as the Trustee/Executor?

My estranged father passed away and left a will & trust stating to divide his estate up equally between his 5 children. None of his children had contact with him for over 15 years. He had a large sum of money piled up in various investments that no one knew about. The Trustee, who is also a... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 3, 2019

As a beneficiary of the trust, you are definitely entitled to a copy of the trust and to regular accountings from the trustee. If that is not happening, hire an attorney to send a stern demand letter to the trustee. If the trustee does not straighten up within a reasonable time after demand is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: what rights are restored with filing a request for special notice in probate court/conservatorship.

Rights disposed by exparte appl for good cause notice

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Oct 1, 2019

If you are concerned about special notice in a probate matter you might consult the probate code at:

https://law.justia.com/codes/california/2007/prob/1250-1252.html

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: What are the requirements to make the power of attorney legitimate in California?
Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Oct 1, 2019

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the power to act on behalf of someone else. In California, the person executing the document is referred to as the “principal” and the person chosen to act on the principal’s behalf is referred to as the “agent” or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Question is about disclaimed property, specifically a life insurance payout.

My brother refuses life insurance payout, it is now being sent from insurance company to state of California per the law. If it is disclaimed money, can I, his sister, claim it for the trust our mother left us.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 29, 2019

If it is disclaimed by the primary beneficiary and there is no contingent beneficiary then it should go to your mother's estate. If your mother did not have a will then you probably stand to inherit all or a portion as an intestate heir. If she had a will then it would be distributed in accordance... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Landlord - Tenant and Probate for California on
Q: I need a lawyer but not sure what kind that I need! My step dad just passed away and Put me in his will

I contacted the lawyer and was told my brother is the successor of the trust and they would send my brother a copy of the trust and he hasn’t gave me a copy. He has asked me about the house and renting it out. Now he’s going to let people stay in it. I don’t want to Rent it or and let him... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 29, 2019

Look for a probate and trust administration attorney in the Monterey area, especially one with trust litigation experience. You have the right to demand and receive a copy of the trust. You have the right to require the trustee to strictly abide by the terms of the trust and to care for and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: How is this my negligence when I went to record the deed and found all of this out from the recorder's office
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Sep 28, 2019

You should have recorded your deed right away, so that you had "staked your claim" for the public to see.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Contract releasing interest in My mothers estate

My mother died my father said her trust had disinherited me I asked him for proof of this and he said I was not entitled to see it. He then produced a a contract offering a $10000 payout and a monthly payment of $2400 for the remainder of his life if I make no claims against her trust estate or... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 28, 2019

You WERE entitled to see the trust and you should have pursued that at the time. That said, because facts were actively concealed from you , yes, you might be able to get your agreement set aside and take whatever was owed you under the trust instead. Contact a local trust litigation attorney for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: I feel pretty confident he did not have a Will. If he did they are not saying. How do I find out if he did?

If they are step children that were never adopted by him are they allowed to drain his bank account if he gave them access when they were helping him? Or keep and sell all his possessions? Can you advise me on perhaps steps I can take to find out if he had a Will. Maybe my legal rights in CA. if... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 27, 2019

Step-children do not inherit in California absent adoption or a will.

In my opinion, the best way to find out if a decedent has a will is to hire an attorney to help you open a probate case. Any "interested party" (such as a surviving spouse or child) can open a probate. If you are not...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Father passed away and step-children have taken over everything.

When my mother passed away my father remarried 3 yrs later (23 yrs ago). She had 2 young kids who he helped in the raising of. I was close with my father, but not always physically present. When he married I was raising 3 young kids on my own. I was focused on caring for my kids and staying afloat.... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 27, 2019

I am sorry for your loss. However, you should know that there is no such thing as a child's "right" to inherit. If your dad did not have a will, then the law supplies the rules for inheritance, and most likely you would stand to inherit a portion of his estate, but if he had a will (or trust) he... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My wife's father passed away about 3 years ago in Puerto Rico. We live in California.

Can we get a copy of the will? Is this public information?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Sep 26, 2019

Yes, the information is public. Contact the Probate Court for the County where he died and they should be able to provide you with a copy.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Wrongful Death for California on
Q: can a settlement from a wrongful death MDL be forced into probate 18 years after the persons death?

My husband was killed in a defective car 18 years ago. The case turned into an MDL due to the number of people injured. Now that company is saying our portion of the settlement HAS to be put through probate even though there are only two of us ( his son and wife) that are eligilble to collect any... Read more »

Bill Sweeney
Bill Sweeney answered on Sep 26, 2019

Please refer to my article at: https://www.sweeneyprobatelaw.com/Articles/Understanding-Wrongful-Death-And-Survival-Actions.shtml

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My father died and left a will. My sister said there was no will and appointed herself as administrator.
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 23, 2019

That is a tough situation if you can’t find the will or even a copy. If you can at least find a copy in some states you can prove the will but it is an uphill battle. Try contacting attorneys in the area who do estate planning to see if any of them have a copy. If your dad did a do-it-yourself... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California on
Q: My mom died without a will. I'm a only child have to go through probate for her house.Does my wife have rights to it.
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Sep 22, 2019

Yes, you need a Probate process (unless your mother used a special deed to pass you the house upon her death).

Dying without a Will is called dying intestate.

If you are the only child, and there is no husband, then you will inherit everything, but you need an order from the court...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Do I have a right to view my parents family trust when one of them dies?

My mother died recently and my father claims she left me nothing. She gave me a signed copy of her California statutory will under the portion Balance of Assets she signed in the box I leave nothing to my spouse all to my decedents. As well as me as the executor. As well as a letter explaining that... Read more »

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Sep 22, 2019

Under California Probate Code section 16061.5 the trustee has to provide all the heirs and beneficiaries a copy of the Trust. You should demand a copy in writing and if he refuses then it is time to go see a judge.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: I was wondering if an aunt can sell my friend's mom's house, when there's a will given to the friend? (mom has dementia)

I read a bit into this and i feel like a surrogate's court citation is the right way to go.

The details on the situation is that, my friend was adopted by her adoptive mother,

The relatives treats my friend like a nuisance, My friend only has her mother, so the aunt and her daughter... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Sep 22, 2019

Nobody can sell mom’s house except (a) an agent acting under a durable power of attorney given by mom when she had capacity, or (b) a person appointed as conservator for mom by the court. If mom never gave a power of attorney then it is too late for that. If someone has been appointed as... Read more »

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