John Crandall Foster’s Answers

John Crandall Foster

Morgan Hill Probate Attorney.

Contributor Level 8
  1. Can beneficiaries of a trust borrow money from that trust before they reach the age at which they are to inherit their portion?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    2. James P. Frederick
    2 lawyer answers

    As a general rule, a trustee can loan money to any party - so long as it is reasonably secured and meets the requirement of the prudent investor rules. Remember, that where there are multiple beneficiaries, the trustee has "a duty to deal impartially with them and shall act impartially in investing and managing the trust property, taking into account any differing interests of the beneficiaries." Probate Code 16003. Hence, before doing any loan to a beneficiary, the trustee should...

    6 people marked this answer as helpful

  2. Paying my elderly mother's bills

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    1 lawyer answer

    I am sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this process. It can be very difficult, especially if you are having to deal with it remotely. If your mother still has sufficient capacity, she could give you signing authority on her accounts by simply going to the bank. She can do this on her own. Once you have that authority, you should be able to obtain online access to the accounts and you can then you pay the bills that way as well as being able to write checks. You might also...

    2 people marked this answer as helpful

  3. Do I need a probate attorney? How can I get a Power of Attorney after a person has passed away? (Doesn't seem possible).

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    2. John Max Barger
    2 lawyer answers

    California has a summary probate declaration for assets less than $100,000. A proper declaration pursuant to Probate Code Section 13100 would be a place to start. Technically, the pawn shot should accept it, but often they do not. That is where you might need counsel to explain the situation to the pawnshop.

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  4. What is the legal responsibility of the PR to others noted in the will?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    2. Judith Ann Routledge
    2 lawyer answers

    A trustee and a personal representative have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of trust and an estate. Amongst those fiduciary duties and a duty to communicate in a timely manner as well as to expedite the administration of an estate. They also have certain duties that must be fulfilled within certain time limits. I cannot determine the scope of responsibility based upon what you have set forth, although I can tell you that you have a lot of very good questions, all of which really...

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  5. Can I sell off or otherwise purge belongings?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    1 lawyer answer

    The sale or disposition of personal property often causes the most friction in a family, even beyond disagreements over money. In your case, it is unclear from your question as to how the trust and/or will directed the disposition of the personal property. It is also unclear as to who was the trustee of the trust or the executor of the will. I suggest that you look to those documents for guidance as they will be your best guide. If both the will and trust are silent on the subject, then...

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  6. How can a named trust beneficiary disclaim her inheritance in favor of her brother (only other beneficiary)?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    1 lawyer answer

    Generally, a disclaimer treats the surviving person as if they predeceased the decedent. In this case, that would appear to mean that it would pass to your sister's husband and children. There may be other ways around it and you should have an attorney review the documentation. Disclaimers can be very tricky and are a common source of errors.

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  7. Secondary Dwelling

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    1 lawyer answer

    No, it cannot. That is an illegal subdivision which is prohibited, even in an estate. This type of situation can create a lot of issues involving joint ownership and partition actions.

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  8. Living trusts

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    2. David Allen Hiersekorn
    2 lawyer answers

    While having a will with a living trust is not strictly required, it is strongly. The will is necessary to transfer any assets into the trust in the event an asset is not properly titled in the name of the trust at the time of death. If an asset is not in the name of the trust at the time of death, and there is no will, then the asset will pass according to the law of intestate succession as established by law - which may not be the same as the terms of the trust. That is why a qualified...

  9. What are the life insurance beneficiary laws in CA?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    1 lawyer answer

    Depending upon how the life insurance was paid for may effect the ownership rights on the policy. Frankly, this is an area that is very fact specific, so spending a little time with an attorney to review the facts will give you a clearer answer to your question.

  10. My mother has a Revocable Living Trust made up in 1999, first question; should it be update?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. John Crandall Foster
    1 lawyer answer

    My standard advice is to have the estate plan (which would include will, trust and other documents) reviewed at least every five year and more frequently if you are older. In this case, I believe the title on the deed - as joint tenants - strongly indicates that you should have the estate plan reviewed. A joint tenancy deed indicates that the real estate is not properly titled in the trust. In addition, there are other issues you raise in your second question which indicates that a meeting...