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Janet Lee Brewer

Janet Brewer’s Answers

1,792 total

  • How long forCalifornia probate on a bank account not included in a trust and no beneficiary name on account?

    My uncle did not include his bank account in his trust and did not name a beneficiary at the bank. My mother is the main beneficiary on the trust and will. How long will if take in California to gain access to his funds?

    Janet’s Answer

    If the bank account plus other assets that were not in the name of the trust are worth less than $150,000 then your mother can file a "small estates affidavit" with the bank 45 days after your uncle's death. If the assets that were not in the name of the trust are worth more than $150K, then they will need to be probated. That will take a minimum of 6 months, but probably several months more than that.

    Your mother should contact a competent estate planning/probate lawyer to assist her.

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  • When a private fiduciary is granted through court as a conservator of person & estate, does that permit other staff within the

    fiduciary office to fulfill the duties of the named conservator? This would be similar to a paralegal working on behalf of an attorney. I need to know if this is allowed and if not how to bring it to the attention of the court for removal due to...

    Janet’s Answer

    It is common for a conservator to have the authority to hire people to assist him/her. Having assistance would not be grounds for removal unless there were other factors involved.

    I don't handle conservatorships, but there are many competent attorneys in San Mateo County who do. If you have concerns about the way the conservator is handling his/her responsibilities (other than merely hiring people to assist), I suggest you schedule a meeting with one of them.

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  • What is the procedure and time duration to be appointed executor by the court

    I filed death certificate and will today with probate court

    Janet’s Answer

    Filing the will with the probate court does nothing to initiate the probate; it merely fulfills a state requirement that a will be "lodged" with the probate court after the death of the person who created the will (the "testator" in legalese).

    A probate is only started by filing a petition to probate the estate. Once the petition has been filed, the court assigns a hearing date. The probate code says the hearing date cannot be "less than 30 days nor more than 45 days" after the date the petition was filed. In practice, the first probate hearing is never less than 30 days after the petition is filed (because it would violate the statute if it were) - but many times it takes more than 45 days to obtain the initial hearing date.

    If you need assistance with the probate, please phone my office. I recently completed a probate in Sacramento County, and I have probated estates in many California counties, as far away as Mendocino and San Diego.

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  • If beneficiary of a will survives the testator of said will by 3 months, but dies before asset distribution, who gets assets?

    Testator resided in Ohio, and beneficiary was intestate and resided in California. He is survived by one child and a spouse who is not the mother of said child. He has no deceased children. Under what state's intestate laws will assets be distri...

    Janet’s Answer

    I agree with the other two attorneys. But assuming this is a real question, the place to start is to look at what the will says about survivorship ... is the beneficiary required to survive the testator by 30 days? Until distribution of the estate? Something else?

    If this is a real question and the beneficiary's estate has not been probated yet, please contact my office. We would be happy to assist.

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  • What are legal requirements for reporting trust assets by trustee to beneficiaries in California?

    I'm a 1/3 beneficiary of a family trust, the Trustee is not answering my questions, I do have a copy of the California trust, but don't know what's in it or what he is doing with the assets. What are the legal requirements for the Trustee reportin...

    Janet’s Answer

    If the trust has become irrevocable (usually that occurs when the person who created it dies, unless the trust was made irrevocable at the time it was created), you have the right to periodic accountings. If you have requested an accounting and the trustee has failed to provide one, you can file a "petition to compel an accounting" with the probate court in the county where the trustee resides.

    Be aware that you will need to pay your own legal fees in connection with the petition, but the trustee is entitled to have the trust pay his fees in most cases.

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  • Does a bank record overturn a living will

    My Mother passed in January, I am the executor in her will. The bank has my brother as benificiary

    Janet’s Answer

    I agree with Messrs. Frederick & Murphy. If there's a beneficiary designation, the property goes directly to the beneficiary; it does not pass through probate.

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  • Wife died, we own: 1. A single family home, Community Property w/right of survivorship 2. A reresidential plot- Joint Tenants

    Properties are located in Alameda county. Questions: 1. Do I need a lawyer to transfer 1 & 2 in my name? 2. What is the tax basis for the two type of titles? The land is held in joint tenancy w/o right of survivorship? The land has not incre...

    Janet’s Answer

    Mr. Johnson's answer is correct for non-community property assets, but community property is entitled to a "double step up" in cost basis. If it is titled as joint tenancy, it is quite possible to petition the court to have it declared "community property held in joint tenancy form".

    If you need assistance with these matters, my office is in Palo Alto.

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  • I need to get paper work prepared for a attorney I sold a house and need to split the money between my sister and me { 408-406-3782 }what forms are needed

    Janet’s Answer

    Your question doesn't really provide a lot of information to go on. Was the house held in the name of a trust? Why do you have to split the money between your sister and yourself? Did the trust terminate upon the sale of the house? Why does an attorney need "paper work"? Did s/he say what kind of "paper work"? If it's your attorney, is there a reason you aren't asking him/her these questions?

    Please provide more information.

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  • My father passed & I am trustee of 1/2 a house... My step mother owns other half and lives in the house.

    In the trust my father said she can stay in the house up to 2 years (she pays mortgage and utilities) (I have to help with taxes and maintenance) then she has first right to buy out our 1/2 of the house. The intent was to give her time to pack up,...

    Janet’s Answer

    As Mr. Murillo says, if the trust gives your stepmother 2 years to move, then she has 2 years. Sometimes a trust will have other provisions, though, such as a limitation on who else can live there or whether the person living there is responsible for all costs associated with the house or even if s/he has to pay rent.

    I disagree with Mr. Murillo regarding who the trustee is ... even though it is "usual" to name the other spouse as trustee, that isn't always the case - it's certainly not a legal requirement that the other trustee be named as the trustee.

    So assuming you are the trustee of 1/2 the trust (most likely your father's portion), you will have the ability to "enforce" the terms of the trust when the time comes. Enforcing the trust will probably involve having to file what's known as a "partition" action to force the sale of the house. Unfortunately, if your stepmother doesn't cooperate in cleaning out the mess, you will end up with a lower price when the house is sold - but your stepmother will end up with a lower price, too, so she'll have some incentive to clean things up at that time.

    I suggest you contact a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. If s/he is familiar with partition actions, that would be all the better (usually, a real estate lawyer handles partition actions, so your best bet might be someone who does both - or a small law firm where one lawyer handles estate planning and one of the other lawyers handles real estate litigation).

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  • If a will appoints two executors and one tries to fill for temporary executor would that be contesting a will? Arkansas law

    the other executor has not filled anything in the succession asking to be appointed

    Janet’s Answer

    I am not an Arkansas lawyer, but in California petitioning to be appointed as executor when one of the executors has failed to act would not be considered a contest ... usually a contest has to do with claiming you're entitled to a greater share of the assets than the will gives you.

    Check with a knowledgeable probate lawyer in Arkansas to be sure.

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