Janet Lee Brewer’s Answers

Janet Lee Brewer

Palo Alto Estate Planning Attorney.

Contributor Level 17
  1. Can creditors force me to sell dad's car to pay off his debts?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Kelly M. Shovelin
    2 lawyer answers

    I'm sorry about your father's death. If your father's "probate estate" (the assets that do not have beneficiaries named on them or are not held in his trust) are worth less than $100,000 then you can transfer title to yourself by using the "small estates affidavit". The DMV has its own small estate affidavit, which you can find on their website. As you will see when you read the affidavit, you are required to "indemnify" anyone who transfers property to you against all claims. That means...

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  2. My sister died without a will and her only asset is $3000 worth of stock. How do I get named executor so I can deal with this?

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Brad S Hindley
    3. Steven J. Fromm
    3 lawyer answers

    Mr. Fromm's answer may be correct for PA, but not for California. The correct procedure is to use a Small Estate Affidavit. If the company refuses to accept the Affidavit, I suggest you write to the president of the company and tell him that under California law the company will be required to pay your court filing fees and your lawyer's fees if they do not accept the Affidavit. That usually works. If it doesn't, please contact my office and I will petition the court on your behalf (and on...

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  3. Probate, my attorney refused to communicate, final hearing is approaching

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Pamela Koslyn
    3. Henry Daniel Lively
    3 lawyer answers

    I urge you to contact another attorney immediately or you could find yourself with a contempt of court citation when it sounds like he's the one who should be disciplined. Since your lawyer is not entitled to take any fees whatsoever unless/until there is a court order permitting him to take them, it's very odd that he won't finish things up - I'd think he would be anxious to get the probate finished so he can get paid. There are a number of certified estate planning specialists in Los...

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  4. Do i have any legal rights over my moms home, my siblings want to evict me testament states that all 9 siblings are equal?

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. David Allen Hiersekorn
    3. Steven Alan Fink
    3 lawyer answers

    If the state has a Medi-Cal lien on the property, the executor may have no choice but to force its sale. However, I do not agree with Mr. Fink that the executor can force you to pay rent. Legally, you became an owner of the property at the moment of your mother's death. As an owner, you have a right to occupy that property and, unless you have agreed to pay rent to your siblings, they cannot force you to do so - you are not a "tenant" within the meaning of the landlord/tenant laws. The...

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  5. Does a trust protect a house from tax liens?

    Answered over 4 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Robert Paul Bergman
    3. Scott Douglas Jordan
    4. Steven J. Fromm
    4 lawyer answers

    If I am reading your question correctly, it sounds like the person from whom you would inherit the house has not died yet, correct? If that is so, then it might be possible to protect the house. The owner would need to establish a trust that provides your sibling has the right to live in the house (or has the right to income from the house if it's rented out), but the "remainder" (everything but the right to live in the house or to receive the income from it) passes to someone else. The...

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  6. Am I obligated to set up a Trust Fund for me & my husband's child (our child is a minor)?

    Answered almost 5 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Douglas Charles Michie
    3. Steven Alan Fink
    4. Ilene L McCauley
    5. Glenn A Jarrett
    5 lawyer answers

    I'm sorry about your husband's condition. "Property" includes not only real estate but also any financial accounts (bank accounts, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, etc.) that are in your husband's name alone. If there is no real estate and all of the accounts are joint accounts, then there is no need to set up any kind of trust fund for your child. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice...

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  7. My father died 2/3/10. He was 89. My mother told me that he had no will and that she is the legal beneficiary of all of his as

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. David Allen Hiersekorn
    2 lawyer answers

    I'm sorry about your father's death. Your mother is incorrect. While you and your sister will be her "heirs at law" when she dies, you will be required to go through probate to "confirm" that the assets belong to you unless she creates a trust and titles her assets in the name of that trust. The probate might be fairly simple - but it will be costly. If your mother's estate is worth $1MM, the attorney is entitled to charge $23,000. The attorney's fees on estates worth more than $1MM are...

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  8. How do I amend Probate forms if I put the wrong person to be the Sole Administrator/Executer of my passed mothers estate

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Jeremiah D Raxter
    3. Christine James
    4. Timothy G Richardson II
    4 lawyer answers

    You can file an amended petition and list yourself as both the petitioner and also as the person being nominated to administer the estate ... assuming that the hearing date has not already occurred. You indicate that you want to be the "sole executor/administrator" and also the "trustee". If your mother had a trust, then only the person named in that document as the "successor trustee" can be the trustee. If your mother didn't have a trust, the probate court will not create one now....

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  9. Can a 13 year old petition to change guardianship from grandparents to uncle?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Laura Elizabeth Vocke
    3. Michael Roger Schneider
    4. David L. Carrier
    4 lawyer answers

    Mr. Carrier's answer might be correct under Michigan law, but in California a 13 year old is old enough to file his or her own petition for a change in guardianship - in fact, California law provides that a 12 year old is old enough to petition for guardianship. See California Probate Code section 1510(a)]. There are nonprofit agencies that will assist the child in petitioning for guardianship. In Silicon Valley, there is an organization called "LACY" (Legal Advocates for Children and...

    3 lawyers agreed with this answer

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  10. My deceased parent's (Small Estate) is 95% settled: can I still ask to be appointed executor through California Courts?

    Answered almost 3 years ago.

    1. Janet Lee Brewer
    2. Daniel Mcgraw Little
    3. Brian Coleman Kelly
    4. James P. Frederick
    4 lawyer answers

    You might be able to compel the bank to divulge the name of the beneficiary if you're named executor, but is it really worth the expense and the time? It's a $395 filing fee plus the cost of publication (which can range from $125 to $500 depending on the newspaper you're required to use). And you'll have to do it yourself ... under California law, a lawyer can only be paid out of the probate estate and then it's on a fixed percentage (so if the probate is only $10,000, the lawyer gets paid 4%...

    3 lawyers agreed with this answer

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

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