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Brian Douglas Wyatt
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Brian Wyatt’s Answers

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  • I am in the process of refinancing my house which is in trust. the estate firm will charge 300 to take out and 300 to put back.

    the estate firm told me that the bank should do that for me, the bank said it cant. I dont want to have to pay another $600 on top of everything it costs to refinance. Can the banks do that for me?

    Brian’s Answer

    Unless there are issues with your deed or your case has some unique factual characteristics, $600 in legal fees seems a bit excessive. Drafting two new deeds, providing the two required change of ownership reports, and corresponding with you and the county recorder should not take more than an hour. I think you should expect to pay no more than 2/3 of that amount, including recording charges, especially if the law firm you're talking to is the one that previously drafted the deed to put your house in the trust. If it's the same firm, half of the work is almost already done.

    Of course, you really do want the titling of your house to be done correctly. Messing things up could cost your estate much more than $600 in the future. Your estate planning is truly all about your peace of mind -- and that requires confidence in the quality of your lawyer.

    Good luck!

    [Please note: This response to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Only a signed representation agreement can do that, and my response to your question does not obligate me to enter into or even negotiate such an agreement with you. You should seek the advice of a competent attorney who can review all of the facts of your case with you. Neither you, nor any other reader of my response, should act or fail to act in reliance on this posted answer to your question. Thank you for your understanding.]

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  • I was married when my spouses mother died she intended me to be the second benificary to the trust in the event he died I am now

    going through a divorce and they say i have no claim of 50% of the inheritance under community property codes of calif. note she did not clearly state in the trust i was excluded for community property they claim its his seperate property

    Brian’s Answer

    It sounds like you may have been listed in the trust as a "contingent beneficiary," meaning that if your husband had died before inheriting his mother's estate, you would have inherited in his place. Because your husband survived his mother, the funds went to him -- and not to you. As long as her trust required the estate to be paid to him outright on her death (i.e., as long as the funds are not still being held in an continuing trust that is irrevocable and goes to you upon his death), the trust probably doesn't create any rights for you at this point.

    Fortunately, even if the trust's terms don't help your case, you may not be completely out of luck. I agree that an important question is whether your husband ever changed any of the separate property that he inherited into community property. If he did this by comingling the inheritance (e.g., by placing it in a joint bank account) or by making a gift, you would have a claim to the extent the inheritance became community property.

    Hopefully, you are getting good advice from a skilled family law attorney (a/k/a a "divorce lawyer") as the facts and circumstances of your particular case really will dictate the outcome. The attorney should, of course, review the trust to make sure it does not in fact have terms that help your case. It is impossible to answer your question definitively without reviewing that trust.

    Best of luck!

    [Please note: This response to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Only a signed representation agreement can do that, and my response to your question does not obligate me to enter into or even negotiate such an agreement with you. You should seek the advice of a competent attorney who can review all of the facts of your case with you. Neither you, nor any other reader of my response, should act or fail to act in reliance on this posted answer to your question. Thank you for your understanding.]

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  • How can I change the real property ownership from my deceased mother who died with no will.

    I am my mother's only child. She left me as benefiicary on her life insurance, retirement, and bank accounts, but she didn't get chance to put my name on the house we both lived in. Does the house go through probate.

    Brian’s Answer

    I'm sorry for your loss. I agree that a probate is most likely necessary. If you are in Sacramento, I'd be glad to see if we are a good fit for your needs.

    Brian D. Wyatt
    3406 American River Drive, Suite B
    Sacramento, CA 95864
    916-273-9040

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  • How do I get copy of a revocable family trust from a credit union 16 years after death of parent? Assets still there.

    All family assets including house were put into revocable family trust in 1991. Father passed away in 1994. I became trustee for my fathers portion after death, Step mother has not ever given copy of trust upon request and said that credit union w...

    Brian’s Answer

    Is the trust a California trust? My answer assumes that it is....

    I agree the case is a bit tricky given that you don't have a copy of the trust. What approach you take is probably going to be governed by how much equity is in the home. That's because the case has to have some value for an attorney to take it, and most good attorneys won't take a case unless it has at least as much value to their client (you) as it does for them.

    Assuming your father's share is worth more than $150K (in equity), you might hire counsel to file a petition in probate court to compel production of the trust and, in the alternative, to have the trustee (i.e., your stepmother) removed and replaced with either the first alternate or a special trustee. Depending on what the trust says and what happened to title and equity since your father’s death, you may have your attorney file an action based on concepts of constructive trust, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duties.

    Bottom line: If your father's share is in an irrevocable subtrust (or should be per the terms of the trust document), you are entitled to a copy. A strong letter from counsel to your stepmother might be a good first step (before the above litigation) -- but most good counsel will want to know there's value in the case before they take it.

    I highly doubt the credit union will be helpful, but you might call them. Have a copy of your father's death certificate available when you do.

    Finally, are you friendly with your step-mother? If you are, you probably won't be after you take a litigious posture. (Of course, if there are other beneficiaries besides you, you may have no choice but to ensure that you fulfil your duties as trustee -- which duites extend to all other beneficiaries and require you to receive possession, as trustee, of your father's share of the property.)

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