Skip to main content
Ethan F Miller-Bazemore
Avvo
Pro

Ethan Miller-Bazemore’s Answers

34 total

  • How much should a lawyer charge for representing a trustee in a California trust administration?

    I'm wondering what are typical fees for a lawyer in a trust administration. Is it statutory, like probates, or hourly?

    Ethan’s Answer

    It varies lawyer to lawyer. Some just turn on the clock when working on the case and charge their hourly rate, after receiving a retainer. Some charge a flat 1% of assets involved (seems excessive to me). I charge a flat rate for a list of normal trust administration services provided (almost always much less then the 1%). Anything outside of the norm, ie litigation etc, is not covered.

    See question 
  • Do banks retain on file an individual's living trust?

    If an individual has lost or misplaced their only copy of their living trust documentation, and they don't remember the name of the attorney who helped them draft the living trust, they don't remember dates because it was more than 40 years ago, w...

    Ethan’s Answer

    I highly doubt the trust was recorded 40 years ago so that's probably a lost cause. Re the Bank, sometimes they make copies of the entire trust when switching the accounts over, and sometimes only certain pages. However, 40 years is so long ago, I'm thinking no way they still have it. If the individual still has capacity, the drafting a new one may be the only route to go.

    See question 
  • I have checks totaling $4500.00 made out to my mother who passed away in February.

    I am sole beneficiary and executor of the estate. Both of us lived in MA at the time of her death. I did not file probate because there were no assets or debts the require probate. I was joint owner on her checking account, so that transferred...

    Ethan’s Answer

    In California we'd do a Small Estate Affidavit - check with local counsel there if MA has a similar document.

    See question 
  • How ugly can it get if there is a large estate and five undated holographic wills with different gifts?

    Grandpa died 6 months ago. I submitted the five wills to probate, but the court held off since Grandpa filed Chapter 7 a week before he died to wipe out his unsecured debt (what an estate planning trick). The BK is finished and the family is eatin...

    Ethan’s Answer

    1) Ugly
    2) Get the most experienced Probate Attorney in your area. In the end it will be up to the Court to decipher the various submitted estate documents and make a decision.

    See question 
  • Can we avoid filing a competing petition by having other heirs nominate an administrator in probate?

    Or can we ask the judge to appoint someone else, if we are successful in disqualifying the surviving spouse? We have already spent a huge amount in legal fees, have run out of money, and have been forced to represent ourselves. Can the other hei...

    Ethan’s Answer

    First off, you will have quite a burden to disqualify the surviving spouse - ie hope you have good evidence showing malfeasance, or some other reason why they shouldn't serve. Second, if the Court is to consider someone else as the administrator, that person must present themselves to the Court in the appropriate manner ---- through a Competing Petition. The fee will need to be paid too. P.s. maybe a creditor of the decedent with deep pockets would consider stepping up.

    See question 
  • How is Probate started and what is involved

    If someone passed away with basically no assets other than a life insurance policy with a beneficiary and a car that is paid off, no will or trust as everything was given away already, Is it pretty much a done deal. No probate etc etc

    Ethan’s Answer

    Done deal... Walk into DMV and use their form to do the transfer to the appropriate person.

    See question 
  • WHAT CAN I DO TO FIGHT- NOW THAT MY INHERITANCE HAS BEEN "LOOTED" by ATTORNEYS- INCLUDING MY OWN- AND LICENSED FIDUCIARIES?

    As one of only two heirs to my parents' estate and although I have been demanding an accounting for 2 years and not received one- I finally - after threat of protesting to probate judge- received one. It is outrageous and that is not said without ...

    Ethan’s Answer

    Yes if you are not happy with your representation seek another attorney consult immediately. They will be able to probably quickly analyze the pleadings to determine if their is validity to your claim. If there is, action should be immediately taken by you and your new attorney.

    See question 
  • I have created a revocable legal trust and have two quick questions.

    Question 1) Do I need (have) to let my bank know before I fund the trust by recording a deed of trust for the property? Some banks like BOA charge $100 for permission. 2) Is trust created on the date it's signed or the date it's naturalized...

    Ethan’s Answer

    !) No you do not need to let the Bank know. The loan will not be called and the property will not be reassessed by the tax man.

    2) Not sure what you mean by "naturalized" but the trust is created on signature by the Settlor. It is "funded" when the property is transferred into the name of the Trust.

    See question 
  • Can I provide for my unborn child in a living trust?

    My wife and I are expecting our first child. I want to create a trust but I am not sure if I can provide for my unborn child in the trust. Obviously my concern is that if we wait till after the baby is born, we will get busy, forget, or worse if s...

    Ethan’s Answer

    You do not have to wait if you make a distribution to a class such as your children living at the time of your death. In fact, if you own real estate now it is wise to go ahead and do that asap. As stated before, the will is where the suggested Guardianship clause would go, not your trust.

    See question 
  • In California - if a beneficiary of a trust lives out of the country and has not been able to effectively communicate

    with the trustee of the estate (or the trustee has been difficult to work with - e.g., not providing information reasonably about the estate's administration, giving out bits & pieces of information, etc.)....can that beneficiary get a notarized l...

    Ethan’s Answer

    In my opinion, a mere notarized letter stating such would not work - if I was the Trustee's Lawyer I would answer with the same response you got. I would suggest that your friend hire a attorney that is local to the site of the Trust Administration.

    See question