Janet Lee Brewer’s Answers

Janet Lee Brewer

Palo Alto Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 17
  1. Estate/probate

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Jason Scott Buckingham
    2. Janet Lee Brewer
    3. Theresa T Tran
    3 lawyer answers

    I agree with Mr. Buckingham. If the apartment complex refuses to accept an affidavit under section 13100 (a "small estates affidavit"), you can take them to court to force them to accept it. If the Judge determines that their refusal to accept it is "unreasonable", they will be required to pay both your court costs and your attorney's fees. Usually if you let the company know that they'll be paying your fees, they become much easier to deal with.

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

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  2. What form does a beneficiary use to request reimbursement from the executrix of her father's estate?

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. James Leslie Walker IV
    3. Linscott Roberts Hanson
    3 lawyer answers

    If your father's estate is in probate, you will need to file a "creditor's claim" (Judicial Council Form #DE-172). You have a very short period of time in which to file your claim, so I suggest that you do so immediately.

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  3. I am inheriting my mothers house.How much value will be tax free?

    Answered about 4 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Henry Daniel Lively
    3. Ayuban Antonio Tomas
    3 lawyer answers

    There are several tax issues here: property taxes (Prop. 13), income taxes (capital gains) and estate taxes. For property tax purposes, you can keep the same property tax as your mother is paying IF this is her principal residence. If it is a rental property, then you can keep the same property taxes on the first $1 million of value. In order to keep the property taxes the same, though, you will need to file a "Proposition 58 Parent-Child Reassessment Exclusion" form with the county...

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  4. Power of attorney - notarized or witnessed?

    Answered over 5 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. David G. Weilbacher, Esq.
    2 lawyer answers

    There are different power of attorney forms for different purposes. If you are talking about a "power of attorney for health care decisions" (also called an "advance heathcare directive"), California law specifically permits it to be witnessed by 2 "disinterested" witnesses instead of being notarized. But one of the witnesses needs to sign a special clause that the form should contain - the clause indicates that you knew what you were signing, etc. If you're talking about a DPA for...

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  5. Is there any reason not to distribute trust assets before deceased fathers probate is opened or closed?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Brian Michael Malloy
    3. James P. Frederick
    3 lawyer answers

    Presumably your father had a will that says something to the effect of "distribute my probate assets to the trustee of my trust to be distributed as set forth therein." If it does and if you've terminated the trust before the probate is closed, how will you be able to follow the terms of the will? I have a different question ... why is a probate necessary? If you have a lawyer, I suggest you ask him/her why s/he's not filing a "Heggstad" petition or a Probate Code Section 850 petition? In...

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

  6. What happens to a note (for a refinanced house) carried by a family member if that family member dies?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Robin Mashal
    2. Janet Lee Brewer
    3. Lee Willis Harwell Jr
    3 lawyer answers

    I agree with Mr. Mashal. The lender still has the right to enforce the promissory note. If the estate of the deceased family member fails to pay, the lender may have the right to foreclose on the security (that is, force the sale of the house if the promissory note was secured by a RECORDED deed of trust) or file a collection suit. Be aware, though, that certain "statutes of limitations" may apply to the ability to collect on an unsecured loan. You need to contact an attorney immediately if...

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

  7. What happens if one don't sign a deed on the house in order to make a new will?

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Tai Christopher Bogan
    2. Janet Lee Brewer
    3. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    4. Steven J. Fromm
    5. James P. Frederick
    5 lawyer answers

    Your mother has another issue that the out-of-state lawyers probably aren't familiar with: PROPERTY TAXES. If the grandson transfers his interest in the house back to your mother, HER property taxes will increase to fair market value on the portion transferred. Do it yourself estate planning is costly ... I'm willing to bet that the increase in property taxes alone will greatly outweigh what it would have cost your mother to have a lawyer assist her with her plan. Don't compound the...

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

  8. When a person dies is the trustee responsible to contact the heirs about the death?

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.
    2 lawyer answers

    If the trust was a "California-based" trust (or, to be more precise, if the person who established the trust was a California resident and the trust was created under California law), then I do not completely agree with Mr. Pippen. California Probate Code section 16061.7(b)(2) requires a trustee to provide notice to the heirs of a decedent, even if they will not inherit under the trust. Section 16061.7(b)(1) requires notice to the beneficiaries of the trust. It is the trustee's...

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  9. Will the county assessed property tax remain same on my elderly mom's house if she gives the property to me before she dies?

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Robert Paul Bergman
    2. Janet Lee Brewer
    3. James P. Frederick
    3 lawyer answers

    I agree with Mr. Bergman. It could be very foolish if your mother gifts you the property just to save property taxes and you end up having a low income tax basis on it. Your mother can leave you the property under a will or a trust and you can still keep the low property tax basis - but since you will have inherited the property, your income tax basis readjusts (saving you income taxes if you ever sell the property). Assuming that the house is worth more than $150,000 it makes more sense...

    4 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. Can an unsigned trust & will be validated by petition to Court if all beneficiaries to the trust and will agree to go by terms.

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. James P. Frederick
    3. Inna Fershteyn
    3 lawyer answers

    I agree with Mr. Frederick. It's not impossible for you to be able to do this - but it would be extremely challenging. If you're unable to have the trust and will accepted by the Court, you and the siblings who agree to abide by her wishes could make gifts to the foster children so that you can approximate her intent and honor her wishes.

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

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