Skip to main content
Eliz C A Johnson

Eliz Johnson’s Answers

2,100 total


  • Is a joint savings account considered an asset to be divided according to a Will if one heir is on the account?

    Is an attorney helpful? The account is $50,000.

    Eliz’s Answer

    Under California law, an account with more than one person on it is a joint tenancy account and on the death of one joint tenant, it automatically vests ownership in the remaining joint tenant[s] as a matter of law. If you're a joint tenant, you cannot leave your share to anyone other than the sur­viving joint tenants. So even if your will specifically leaves your half-interest in a joint tenancy house to someone else, it has no effect. The surviving joint tenant will automatically own the property after your death.

    There is a small exception if it can be shown it was only for the convenience of the initial account owner. Otherwise, it will be deemed to be owned by the surviving joint tenant. Did the decedent make a note somewhere that this account was to be part of the estate or that it was for his/her convenience only? California probate code section 5302(a) provides that multiparty accounts "belong to the surviving party or parties as against the estate of the decedent unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent."

    See question 
  • My parents are transferring their paid off house to me. What's the city tax amt that needs to be recorded on the quitclaim deed?

    Spoke with estate planning attorney and suggested we file a quitclaim deed. Home value is less than $500,000 and they are gifting me the house. Not sure if they also need to attach a documentary transfer tax statement explaining reason for exempt...

    Eliz’s Answer

    Often, this is NOT a good idea. BEFORE you do anything, as eager as you may be to have the property, you need to talk to an estate planning attorney first. You lose any step up in basis in the property for one thing and if they have owned this property a long time, that may be a significant loss to you. It can cost you a huge amount on capital gains taxes later. So, while there may be no property tax issues, there are other significant tax issues. You cannot undo this to fix them so be sure you are doing this right to start with. VERY IMPORTANT.

    See question 
  • Can i acquire the title to my father's home & property (which i have lived in and paid for the past 10 years) without his word?

    i live in colorado and he lives in another state. he's given me full permission to live here. i maintain the yard, the home, live in the city and follow the law, pay the property taxes, house insurance, every single bill related to this property &...

    Eliz’s Answer

    Of course you cannot take his property without his knowing or agreeing. If you hate him, you should get him out of your life. You can do that by offering to buy the property with an offset for the maintenance and care you have provided and see what he says. If he refuses, perhaps to keep you under his thumb, then maybe it is time for you to move on and remove the caustic influence in your world he brings.

    See question 
  • Should I have a lawyer to create my living will?

    I have married for less a year. I want to have a legal document to give my before marriage assess, (two condo and two 401k account money from my previous employers) to my family in another country if I passed away. Do I need my husband agreement f...

    Eliz’s Answer

    This is why you do a prenuptial agreement, to avoid this kind of quagmire. Yes, you need to talk to your Husband first and then see an attorney. Easier emotionally if he hears you are going to set it up than if an attorney calls him to talk about it.

    See question 
  • Will I get in trouble if I don't pay the debt I have with a made up ssn?

    I used for many yrs and created a good credit since I obtain my alien card and social

    Eliz’s Answer

    It is called "fraud".

    See question 
  • Do we need a trust?

    We own our home jointly and have some stocks. Been married 29 years and have no children together but my husband has adult children from a previous marriage. My husband is terminally ill and said the property automatically goes to the surviving sp...

    Eliz’s Answer

    I practice in this area. If you did not do a prenuptial agreement, you should have done some estate planning along the way. If you have not, there may be time to fix this. A Trust makes sense here because the real property does not have to go through the probate expense and delay. The goal is to avoid probate litigation by the children from a prior marriage for their perceived share of the estate. I would be happy to meet with you both to talk about this.

    Eliz. C. A. Johnson
    JOHNSON LAW FIRM
    Post Office Box 8
    Danville, California 94526-0008
    925-362-1010
    elizabeth@johnsonestateplanning.com

    See question 
  • Can you evict tenant for lying on rental application about an eviction?

    I was given false information on a rental application with false references, and the initial background check did not show the eviction. I would have not rented to this person if I had known. Unfortunately this person has 6 more months on a lease.

    Eliz’s Answer

    The advice above is sound. While you maybe CAN evict, it may not be the smart move. Many areas are so very pro-tenant that you may end up in a situation you do not want. You can choose to not renew the lease at the end of 6 months if you want but check into the lease to see what it says.

    See question 
  • What can I do when the mother doesn't let me know where my child is staying when she has visitation Time with him?

    The mother of my son is homeless and will not tell me where she is staying with my son for three days a week when it's her time with him. My son tells me they are camping until she can find a house for her and her four children. She has been homel...

    Eliz’s Answer

    Being homeless is not a crime but not many courts would allow the child visitation to a parent without adequate shelter for the child. Run don't walk to an attorney today. Call your local bar association in Sacramento for a referral to an attorney. Do it all on shortened notice. Best to you.

    See question 
  • What can be done? Can he get bail? Is restitution an option? he is held by the Feds/IRS for tax related fraud.

    My friend's spouse was recently picked up by the Feds for tax related fraud and possession/use of others information. debit cards with other peoples names were found in his car which makes it worse and he is now in custody to be moved to his initi...

    Eliz’s Answer

    Restitution is very helpful but the crimes have been committed. Courts often consider voluntary restitution at the sentencing phase. Bail is likely if this is a first offense but your facts are thin. In all events, your friend needs to find her spouse some legal counsel ASAP. Best to you

    See question 
  • Single mother needs an affordable lawyer to solve a domestic dispute. Where does she start to look?

    Is it possible to have a law student or interns to help instead? Or are there organizations that lend aid for minority, single mothers? The main issue is her finical standing, how much might it cost?

    Eliz’s Answer

    Most areas have low income legal support groups. An example would be: http://www.slls.org/

    You can also contact your local bar association for a referral to an attorney who may work with you on a reduced or sliding scale fee basis. Best to you.

    See question