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Robert Paul Bergman

Robert Bergman’s Answers

211 total

  • In a Revocable Living Trust, can I make one daughter the beneficiary of house and both daughters the beneficiary of some stock?

    This in order so one daughter's creditors cannot attach her portion of the house and force a sale? Can creditors get her portion of inherited stock?

    Robert’s Answer

    The short answer is this: You can make one daughter beneficiary of your house, while both daughters are beneficiaries of some stock. However, to get creditor protection, it will be necessary to leave property "in trust" for the daughter you wish to be protected from creditors.

    You should consult with a local estate planning professional who can assist you with this type of planning.

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  • Living Trust, step up basis when second parent dies.

    Hi, My parents have a house worth about $2million in Palo Alto, Ca with a living trust. My father passed away in 2008 and we did an appraisal to get the stepped up basis, now my mother is very sick if she passes do we get a second step up...

    Robert’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The is likely "yes," provided that the home passed to your mother and she is now the 100% owner.

    However, if your parents had what is called an "A/B" trust, then there may have been a legal requirement to divide the home between the portion owned by your mother, and the portion owned by your father. If so, the portion owned by your father would NOT get the stepped-up basis.

    You will need to consult with an attorney to review the living trust and determine what, if any, trust administration was done back in 2008 in order to get a definitive answer.

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  • Executer trustee/brother from trust So he could collect more $$. is this legal???

    MY brother was trustee of my dad's estate, after dad died he amended trust to specifically remove me as beneficiary. That way he could get all the money after Mom died? is this legal? My dad would have not included his only biological daughter in ...

    Robert’s Answer

    There are not enough facts to answer your questions. If you suspect wrongdoing by your brother after your father and then your mother died, you need to consult with an estate litigation attorney in your area.

    A source might be

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  • I inherited 1/3 of an income property in west hollywood in a trust

    my uncle owned 50 & of this and collected rent from a bank of america that is on the property, he's sold it while iw as in europe and cedars whom now apparently has his share is tryigto get everyone to sell , they are forcing and pressuring us to...

    Robert’s Answer

    You will need to get assistance from a local real estate attorney right away. You should know that if one or more owners of real estate do not wish to remain owners, there is a legal right to go to Court and request that the judge order the real estate to be sold. That is not the same thing, however, as forcing the sale of real estate for less than market value .

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  • The attorney who set up my living trust has vanished and has possibly been disbarred. Is my trust valid and properly recorded?

    I have four children who will each receive one fourth of my estate. I have loaned one child a substantial amount of money and need to know that the other three will get their fair share.

    Robert’s Answer

    The legal status of your attorney as being disbarred does not affect the validity of your trust. Also, the typical living trust is not actually recorded anywhere, but instead is kept private in the family.

    The greater concern is that you have expressed that you want your children to get their fair share because one of them has been loaned a substantial amount of money. Unless that loan is a valid loan (i.e. documented, such as with a promissory note, along with a list of payments received, etc.), there may be no specific way to offset the loan amount against the share of the child who received the loan.

    If you want to make sure that your estate is "trued up" between your four children so that it is fair, the trust itself should provide for that within the trust terms. Without a review of the trust document, an attorney cannot inform you whether or not your wishes will be followed or are documented in any way. You should consult with local legal counsel to have everything reviewed.

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  • My husband is the trustee to his father's estate. He is selling his house but the title company is asking for irrelevant docs.

    My husband's dad named his ex-wife as his original trustee (they had been divorced for years before the trust was created). When he died, she signed it over to my husband, who had been named second in line. Now he's selling his dad's house & the t...

    Robert’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It is possible that your father-in-law's ex-wife appears on the current title of the house as she was the original trustee. The fact that she signed over the trust to your husband would not automatically change the actual title on the house, which may still reflect her name as the trustee. If that is the case, some legal action needed to be taken to clear her name off of the title of the property.

    The title company should be able to explain just why they need the ex-wife's death certificate. The reality is, if you don't provide the information requested, the title company will not issue title insurance on the sale, which will stop the sale from happening.

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  • Need wil advice

    my mom died but did not leave a wil . She got married but he is not my dad. She said she was putting the house in my name and he was not getting anything. I am the only child but not his. The house was wiled to her by my grandma but.Now the husban...

    Robert’s Answer

    First of all, you need to determine how the deed to the property is currently titled. If you mother added your stepfather to the title as a joint tenant, he now owns the property. If she added his name to the title as community property, he also now owns the property. If she kept in her name alone, it is likely (but not automatically) her separate property.

    If it is your mother's separate property, how the house is now owned will be determined by the California laws of intestate succession (i.e. who receives the property of someone who dies without a Will or living trust that owns the property).

    If the house is determined to have been your mother's separate property under the law, separate from her marriage to your stepfather, then if you are the only child of your mother, you would be entitled to 50% and your stepfather would be entitled to 50%. If you have at least one other brother or sister, then you and your siblings would be entitled to share two-thirds of the property interest, and your stepfather would receive the remaining one-third interest.

    You should consult with a local estate planning attorney right away to review these issues and advise you.

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  • Mom left a Living Trust. House is currently under her name. What needs to be done to change ownership or sell the house?

    Parents lived and owned a house in California. Dad passed years ago. He left a Will where he stated that his portion of the house (50 %) will be equally divided amongst his 5 children. It also indicates tenancy in common. Mom passed months ago an...

    Robert’s Answer

    There is not enough information in your question to give you a definitive answers. You indicate that the house was tenancy in common, but that your mother had a living trust. You also indicate the house is currently under her own name (presumably not in her name as trustee of her living trust).

    Depending on how the property is titled and who is in charge of your mother's living trust now, selling the property may involve selling through the trust, or a Probate may be necessary. Either way, you need to consult with an estate planning attorney right away to sort how the details.

    I am down in San Jose, which may be too far for you to travel. If not, I could assist you.

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  • What CA case law or CA codes support the legal property description controls rather than address, in a deed or deed of trust?

    What if any, California codes or case law support that a legal property description controls rather than an address or APN in a deed, grant deed, or deed of trust?

    Robert’s Answer

    The general answer to your question can be found in Civil Code Section 1092, which provides as follows:

    1092. A grant of an estate in real property may be made in
    substance as follows:

    "I, A B, grant to C D all that real property situated in (insert
    name of county) County, State of California, bounded (or described)
    as follows: (here insert property description, or if the land sought
    to be conveyed has a descriptive name, it may be described by the
    name, as for instance, "The Norris Ranch.')

    Witness my hand this (insert day) day of (insert

    The operative part of this statute is that the property description must be in the transfer. In other words, there is no legal requirement that you identify the property address or APN of the property in order to have a valid transfer. The only thing you need is the property description.

    For example, I had a deed returned from a County Recorder because the legal description was inaccurate, even though the property address and APN were accurate. A much earlier deed had incorrectly identified the Lot number in the legal description, which actually described the adjacent property. I used that legal description for the new transfer. The earlier deed had been accepted for recordation by the Recorder in that county, which they admitted to me was an error on their part. A correction deed was necessary to get the title transferred, and I also prepared and filed a Quitclaim Deed so that the legal title of the adjacent property was not impaired in any way.

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  • What evidence or how I can prove I have a case for IIEI for family home promised by parents to brother and I.

    My first concern although not recognized was Trustee prevention of selling family home telling me she will ask my mother but never told me and ignored me after receiving Trustee letter for reason. How I discovered this is when my mother gave me pe...

    Robert’s Answer

    Your fact situation is very unclear, and there is no real way to even begin to provide an answer for you.

    You need to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney in your area so that everything you have referenced can be read and considered. A good choice would be an attorney with WealthCounsel, a national association of attorneys that specialize in estate planning. I have provided a link to, a website where you can look up attorneys in your area to consult with.

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