Janet Lee Brewer’s Answers

Janet Lee Brewer

Palo Alto Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 17
  1. Do we need to open an estate account?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Michael Duane Larsen
    3. Brian Coleman Kelly
    4. Ronald Key Mullin
    4 lawyer answers

    I'm sorry about your father's death. The whole purpose of Probate Code section 13100 (the small estates procedure) is to avoid having to open a probate. You are correct that the limit as of 1/1/2012 for using the small estates procedure is $150,000. See: http://leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=13001-14000&file=13100-13116 Unless you open a formal probate, I believe you will have considerable difficulty opening an estate account - if you try, the bank will most...

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  2. What exactly is Generation Skipping Transfer tax? What does it mean to a next in line heir?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Michael Raymond Daymude
    3. Steven J. Fromm
    3 lawyer answers

    Mr. Daymude gave a good explanation. To add to it ... the generation skipping transfer tax applies if more than a certain amount is given to anyone other than your spouse and children or to unrelated people who are more than 37-1/2 years younger than you (so if you're 60 and you give assets to someone who is age 22-1/2 or younger, it would be a generation-skipping gift). Until Dec. 31st, you won't run into the generation-skipping tax until you give away more than $5.12MM dollars. Unless...

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  3. If there's a clause in a Will that reads, "Anything under this Will to the contrary notwithstanding, the Executor is Prohibited

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Brian Michael Malloy
    2 lawyer answers

    The short answer is that it's a clause designed to save taxes to the greatest extent possible.... you could call it a "heads up" to the executor that s/he needs to make sure s/he uses a competent tax professional who understands both estate taxes and income taxes to make sure a "rookie" mistake doesn't accidentally trigger a boatload of taxes.

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  4. My father passed away he has no beneficiaries on his bank account my uncle try to collect won't give any in

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. George Ellis Corson IV
    3. Steven M Zelinger
    3 lawyer answers

    I'm sorry about your father's death. If your father's estate is worth $150,000 or less then you (and your siblings) can collect the bank account by using a "small estate affidavit" UNLESS your father named someone as his "pay on death" beneficiary (in that case the POD beneficiary is entitled to the account). If the estate is worth more than $150,000 then it will need to be probated (unless all of the assets are held in a living trust - it's unclear from your question whether there's a trust...

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  5. Who costs more, an atty for the estate or an atty for the trustee?

    Answered almost 3 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. L Christopher Arvin
    3. Richard W Beck
    3 lawyer answers

    In California an executor would be entitled to $9,000 as "fees for ordinary services" in a probate. If the executor performed any "extraordinary" services s/he would be able to petition the court to be paid for those services in addition to the $9,000. The Court will usually approve extraordinary fees based on the number of hours spent at a rate of $35 to $125 per hour. In some circumstances, the Court will approve a higher hourly rate. A trustee usually charges a minimum fee of $5,000...

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  6. Husband won't add me to his will!!!!

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Michael Raymond Daymude
    2. Janet Lee Brewer
    3. Steven J. Fromm
    4. Lara Ruth Shapiro
    5. James P. Frederick
    5 lawyer answers

    If your husband does not want to plan for you and your son, then you need to. I suggest you look into purchasing some life insurance on his life (you would own the policy so you are sure that the premiums are paid and that he cannot change beneficiaries). If you do decide to buy insurance, make sure you get either a 15 - 20 year "level premium term policy" or a universal life policy or a whole life policy (which is probably prohibitively expensive). A good insurance agent should be able to...

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  7. What do I do if witnesses to my father's will cannot be located after 20 yrs to sign declaration of perjury for the Probate Cour

    Answered about 3 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Richard Anthony Grain
    2 lawyer answers

    California Probate Code section 8221 provides that a will can be proved by proof of the testator's handwriting and proof of the handwriting of one of the witnesses. If you cannot prove the handwriting of one of the witnesses, you can submit an affidavit of a person with personal knowledge of the circumstances of the execution. You may need to do a little detective work to find the witnesses or the attorney who drafted the will. If you know the name of the lawyer who drafted the will, check...

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  8. Which trust is right for us?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    3. James P. Frederick
    4. Lawrence A Friedman
    4 lawyer answers

    Both Mr. Pippen and Mr. Frederick raise good points. I strongly suggest that you contact a certified specialist in estate planning law. You can find a list of certified specialists in Riverside County here: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch/AdvancedSearch?LastNameOption=b&LastName=&FirstNameOption=b&FirstName=&MiddleNameOption=b&MiddleName=&FirmNameOption=b&FirmName=&CityOption=b&City=&State=&Zip=&District=&County=RV&LegalSpecialty=06&LanguageSpoken=&x=88&y=8

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  9. What if there's a Will that says this, "Gift of the residue of my estate": Everything that is left of my estate after all of the

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. John S. Rueppel
    3. Graham Barton McDougal
    4. Janet Rae Montgomery
    5. Lawrence A Friedman
    5 lawyer answers

    Without reading the entire will to make sure there isn't another gift somewhere, I would be guessing. However, based strictly on what you quoted above, it appears that the will contains a serious error. If the person who created the will (the "testator") is still alive, I suggest s/he go back to the lawyer who made the mistake and have it rectified immediately! If the "testator" is not alive, then the will will need to be submitted to probate. There are (at least) 2 possible outcomes:...

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  10. What is included in the estate for purposes of calculating maximum probate fees in California?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Thomas Edward Rossmeissl
    3. Steven J. Fromm
    4. Theresa T Tran
    4 lawyer answers

    That is correct, as far as it goes. The problem is: what happens when the second person dies? If the house and the bank account are not held in a trust, then when the second owner dies, $900,000 is subject to probate. And before you ask - it's usually a very bad idea to add a non-spouse (or non-domestic partner) as a joint tenant ... if that other person has any debtor/creditor problems, for example, then the creditor can seize the account or in some cases even force the sale of the house....

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

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