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COVID-19 California Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: How to move past trust administration delays?

My parents passed away just over a year ago in August 2020. My sister is the trustee and I am just a beneficiary. She hired an attorney and we are near the last stage of closing the trust. The law firm is in the process of putting together the accounting and keep telling my sister that... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Aug 30, 2021

Your sister needs to tell the law firm exactly what you said here, i.e., that they are the cause of the delay and she needs the document by the end of the day tomorrow. Other than that, your sister can just show up at the law firm and take a chance that they're open (due to COVID many people... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Estate Planning for California on
Q: Mom has dementia. Husband refuses to pay for care. How can she have access to community property to pay for her care?

Due to Covid and mom's progressing condition, she is no longer living with dad in their shared home. Dad controls rents from RE rentals, and has made more money than mom. He will not pay for any care. My sisters and I are struggling to pay for mom's care. I have power of attorney to... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jul 22, 2021

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I am not a family law attorney, but I can tell you this: Your mother owns half of the community property in the marriage and all of her separate property.

Community property is property that was earned during marriage (assuming there is no...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Our executor has taken the insurance claim $$ we need to rebuild after storm. I purchased, paid for, & own the insurance

I need to know if she can legally do this. I bought the policy, paid for it, signed all the paperwork. It took us months to file the claim, and just as the check was issued she had her lawyer call to declare her as “the contact”. This would not have happened as it did if our agent was involved,... Read more »

Julie King
Julie King answered on Jul 13, 2021

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. If you have already demanded the executor repay the money she has inappropriately taken, you can have a lawyer send her another demand letter. But my guess is that you will need to file a Petition in the Probate Court. Once a probate matter has been... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Probate, Contracts and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Can a person file probate lost will claim 10 years after they used same false documents in 2011 only to fail to show up

But took all assets and disappeared. Now back with same will after i paid off house and filed in blind behind my back duing lock down virus

Julie King
Julie King answered on May 26, 2021

It is difficult to know how to respond to your question without more information. Certainly, if someone has falsified a document and used it in court, there is no way a judge would allow the document to be used UNLESS no one testified or proved that the document was fake. On a different point, if... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Hi...I live in California (LA County). My wife was the sole beneficiary on her older brother's 401k account.

Her brother died of Covid on January 19th. My wife then died of Covid 4 days later. What happens to the 401k account? Her brother had a daughter, but she wasn't listed as a beneficiary. Does the 401k pass to the daughter, or does it go to my wife's estate?

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney answered on Mar 29, 2021

It should go to your wife's estate.

A Will or a Trust normally has provisions regarding this sort of situation, but unless the 401K administrator had the brother sign something unusual, then the money would still go to the estate of your wife. But check with the administrator.

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: In CA. My husband/his ex never filed a QDRO. He died. What do I need to do to get CalPERS to pay me his pension?

He caught Covid in the line of duty. I had POA for CalPERS. I'm his beneficiary. I got the QDRO drafted but it wasn't ready until a month after he died so he couldn't sign it. How do I get an order from court that doesn't require his signature so CalPERS will release the lien on... Read more »

Tobie Brina Waxman
Tobie Brina Waxman answered on Feb 23, 2021

You probably don't have standing to act on his behalf in family court. That being said, there's definitely something that can be done. When someone dies, the successor in interest (probably you) can be joined into the divorce case to sign documents, including a QDRO. That's what... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: My dad died before he signed amended trust, even though confirmed with estate planner, during covid?

My Dad received amended copy of his living trust 3 days before he died and had not signed them. He did contact estate attorney and confirmed draft. I don't believe signing them was exclusive, but I do know that my dad would want his last wishes honored. I know there must be mitigating... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Nov 13, 2020

If he didn’t sign the amendment, it’s ineffective. It doesn’t need to be notarized, but it does need to be signed by the trustmaker. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but to tell you otherwise is just wishful thinking.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Elder Law for California on
Q: Can a check made out to the sole trustee of a revocable living trust be cashed without a trust account?

Elderly father received check after home refi. It’s made out to him as: “Name, as trustee of the abc trust”. It cannot be reissued.

Trust is a revocable living trust. Mother and father were the grantors and only 2 trustees. Mother passed away, father is sole trustee now (successor). I... Read more »

James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge answered on Oct 27, 2020

It’s a common situation, but every bank and credit union and other financial institution has its own rules. My experience as an estate planning specialist with over 25 years in the field is to simply have your dad endorse the check on the reverse side as follows: “For deposit only”, and then... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: if a will says to split the assets but the asset is in another sibling name, does she have to honer the will?

the asset is a home that is now in my sisters name.

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

If the deed is in two names, the person who died and your sister, then the home probably is now 100% your sister's. She must get the old deed transferred into her own name exclusively. To do this right she should have an attorney. It is not expensive. The first deed should be checked by 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 »

4 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: My brother lives with my elderly mother. She would like a letter stating he has to vacate the house in a certain time.

This would be after her passing.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford answered on Jul 14, 2020

Your mother needs to write a will and a trust. In the trust she can state who is in charge of her estate. Maybe you? She can also give instructions to have the house sold and divided up among her children, if that is what she wants. Or she can give the proceeds to whomever she wants. She would... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning and Family Law for California on
Q: In order to gain access to a private residence, when there are two owners of the residence, who can give the go-ahead?

There is a private residence that is co-owned by two owners. The private residence is being sold and a real estate agent is coming with potential buyers to view the home. I do not want them in the property due to COVID-19, risking contamination, and breach of peace. Owner 1 gives the go-ahead for... Read more »

Juanita Guillen
Juanita Guillen answered on Jun 18, 2020

In general if Owner 1 has equal right and control to the property as Owner 2, Owner 1 can allow the real estate agent and potential buyers to view the home. Real estate viewings were allowed to continue in CA even during the pandemic (unless a local ordinance ordered otherwise). Best practices for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: thinking of all this COVID business going on am I still allowed to give tenants 60 days notice?

We are in the middle of settling my father in law's estate and that includes getting rid of the people living in the house. He was living in the property but renting the main house. Without a contract. They have been paying monthly but less than similar rentals in the area. They also are... Read more »

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez answered on Mar 26, 2020

Just to be safe, wait for 60 days and see what the new regulations are at that time. Then, if you must, you could send them the 60 days Notice. However, be advised that certain cities have regulations regarding buyout of tenancies in the form of relocation packages. Make sure you have an... Read more »

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