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Christopher B. Johnson
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Christopher Johnson’s Answers

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  • My friend's mother had a trust, upon her death it was to go to him. How does he find out how much the trust is worth?

    He phoned the bank where the trust is located and identified himself, his mother's name and the name of the trust. Rather rudely, the lady he was speaking to said she could not talk to him, when asked why or what he should do she hung up. He wan...

    Christopher’s Answer

    As an heir, he has the right to a copy of the trust, so he should ask the bank (assuming it's the trustee) for a copy, as well as the assets and liabilities of the trust--the trustee must provide this information within 60 days of his request, under the California Probate Code.

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  • Is a Will and Trust (which was prepared in California) valid in the State of Maryland?

    I am the Trustee of my mother's estate. My mother resided in California for 40 years. While living in California, she had a California probate attorney prepare her Will and Trust. In 2013, my mother moved to Maryland where she permanently resid...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The trust and will are valid in Maryland, but if she's now a Maryland resident, any amendments should be done by a Maryland attorney.

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  • An acquaintance of mine stole over $170,000 cash from me. That person has put everything in a living trust. Who do I sue?

    I used to do business with an individual. This guy has taken a lot of money from me. I know that he has put his house and probably other assets in a revocable trust. If I sue him, can I also sue his trust that has his property in it? I believe...

    Christopher’s Answer

    If the trust is revocable, it shouldn't offer him any asset protection.

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  • I have a home that I sold which was held in a trust. My wife and I held the property in a living trust until 2008 when she

    passed away. Is the loss deductible as a capital loss on Form 1041? I'm wondering if maybe her portion is deductible, but not mine?

    Christopher’s Answer

    The answer depends on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable. It should be deductible, but answering who or which entity can deduct the loss depends on a review of the trust (or trusts) and which assets it/they hold.

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  • Is there a way for a parents inheritance to be paid to their beneficiaries (children) rather than to them directly?

    The inheritance is currently in a trust with 5 siblings as the beneficiaries and one of them would like any payments going from the trust to their children rather than to them directly. The will has the 5 siblings as equal beneficiaries and has ea...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The beneficiary can sign a disclaimer, which would then have her gift go to the contingent beneficiaries, which in this case sounds like her children. Before she does this, though, she'll need to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in government benefits to be sure that doing so won't still invalidate her from receiving the benefits.

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  • I am the successor trustee of a revocable trust (California). I have a question in regard to distributions.

    The settlor is still alive but had to go to a senior care center due to her age-related (96 years old) health issues. I sold her house to pay for her care. In her trust, she leaves 100% of house and its goods to only her daughter as well as 90%...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Check with an estate planning and probate attorney and have the trust reviewed. There is some case law and statutory law saying that some gifts remain, even if they're not in the estate, if they're sold by someone other than the trust-maker. They might apply in this case, so be sure before distributing anything to the son.

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  • My husband has agreed to give me $4million in trust upon his death. The trust has not been funded at this time. How can he fund

    the trust at this time so that I am covered at the time should he predecease me?

    Christopher’s Answer

    As the others have mentioned, a life insurance trust would work best, but he can also establish an irrevocable trust of some kind with other assets. Is there an agreement between both of you already that may be enforceable as well? The type of trust could also have tax implications, so see an experienced estate planning attorney to review the best options.

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  • Need to find out about my mother's estate from my sister who is executor of the will

    Sister not releasing information or paperwork about the condition of the estate. Mother deceased in November

    Christopher’s Answer

    Also, if the case requires probate, you should receive notice of the court date, and you can file a Request for Special Notice form to receive copies of everything filed in the probate. If she delays in filing for probate, you can start the process yourself.

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  • Can the executor of a will decide who pays probate fees?

    In a probate case with two beneficiaries where one is the executor, can he/she legally make the decision to pay all fees associated with the probate from the inheritance of the second beneficiary leaving his/her own inheritance untouched?

    Christopher’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Unless the will gives the executor that authority or direction, I'd say no. The fees and expenses typically are paid out of the residue, not specific gifts, so it's also possible that if the executor's inheritance is a specific gift, like a car or piece of property, and the the other beneficiary's gift is the residue (everything else), then the other beneficiary may end up having the fees/expenses taken out of his/her share. If there's been a final order in the probate, including for payment of fees, review that to see if it has any direction regarding from where the fees should be paid.

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  • Liveing in a house for 5 continuously enable a person inherit everything in CA? how to safeguard estate from my husband?

    my husband passed away on Nov 9th, we bought a home end of last year. He was found to have cancer soon after that and couldn't move to the new place with a garage full of tools. My mother in law started living in the rental place for the last 3-...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I'll add that you may also need a petition under Probate Code section 850 to seek the return of the tools, and there are available penalties of twice the value of the wrongfully taken items.

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