A schedule of assets is very simple, you just list out the assets. I usually group them by asset category, so I will have a Real Property header and list all real property under that header. And then a bank account, brokerage account, business interests, etc. Include account numbers on assets that have them.See question
Did you file a Petition for Final Distribution? Once the Court approves your petition for final distribution, then you distribute the assets, have all recipients sign receipts (which is a judicial council form) and file the receipts with the Court to finalize the process.
If you did not do a Petition for Final Distribution, then you need to prepare and file one. The Petition has a number of items that must be included because it is your final report to the Court. It usually includes an accounting, but if that has been waived by all the beneficiaries, then you don"t need to include the accounting. You can find samples on the Petition online, I would think. Also, you are not supposed to distribute any assets without a Court order after this petition is approved, so if you did distribute assets you'll need to explain that in your petition.See question
adding you as an owner means he is making a gift of the house now. The gift must be reported to the IRS, but no gift tax will be due unless the house is worth over $5 mil. Also, transferring half the title to you could technically trigger the due on transfer clause of the mortgage, but unlikely the lender would do anything about it. Still, it's a good idea to speak to the lender first. Finally, once you are on title you would need to participate in any future refinance or sale of the property.
Generally, its better to put the house in a Trust and then it passes to you on his death without having to go to probate court. Plus, with a Trust, your father remains the sole owner and can sell or refinance the property in the future without your involvement.See question
There is no penalty for refusing to stipulate to amend a complaint. Amendment requires leave of Court and you have no obligation to stipulate. In fact, you could simply file notice of non-opposition once they file their motion for leave to amend if you do not want to actively oppose the amendment.See question
Your living trust is not in jeopardy. It is very common when refinancing for companies to take your home out of your living trust and put it into your individual names. So that may account for your trust not being on the deed of trust or loan. Your finance company is willing to add your trust to the loan, but they charge for the paperwork.
It is not really necessary to have your trust on the loan docu,ents or deed of trust. What you really need is to make sure your home is currently titled in your living trust's name. You can add the trust to the loan if you like, in which case just pay the $100 for the processing and have it completed.See question
I agree that articles, blogs,and a good website are helpful in selecting an attorney. This Avvo site helps you do that and is a good resource. Also, asking a few basic questions when you call a lawyers office, such as how many years in practice and how many trusts they have drafted, can be helpful. It comes down to how you connect to the lawyer you are talking to.
As far as a review of your trust, it depends on how complex the trust is. Some lawyers offer free consultations where the trust can be reviewed at that time. But if your trust requires more time to review, that might cost you an hour or two of attorney time (about $250 to $500). As far as any amendments, that is usually based on attorney time as well and can cost from $500 to $1,500 for an amendment.See question
Oftentimes, the referee will allow you to obtain an independent appraisal and then use that appraisal as their own. The best thing for you to do is call the probate referee assigned to your case and ask them how they would like to proceed. They usually appreciate a call because it males their job easier if you ask about before submitting the inventory and appraisal form to them.
I have had Appraisers use independent appraisals many times and it never required a petition to be filed. But it's good to know about that procedure in case you need to use it or remind the probate referee that he or she can use it.
I agree that you need to hire a Louisiana attorney and file suit based on forgery. Have you seen the forged signature? Does it look obviously forged? If the forgery is obvious based on your review of it, it could be a relatively easy case t o prove. If, however, it is a good forgery that looks like your mother's signature, then you'll need to hire an expert and the fight could be harder.
You should at least talk to a Louisiana lawyer about this.See question
I don't practice law in Mexico, but my hunch is that you will need to have the documents translated into Spanish. If the reverse happened, with a Spanish written will be probated here in California, it would require translation.
Hope everything works out and sorry to hear about your loss.See question
The attorney for the estate should be willing to talk to you about basic estate matters, especially an error on the petition itself. Unfortunately, it commonly does occur that the attorney won't talk to heirs. I don't agree with that practice, but it happens more than it should.
You should definitely file a DE-154 and you should appear at the Court hearing to explain to the Court the error on the Petition. Don't wait for the attorney to fix the problem. You could go so far as to file your own Petition for Probate with the correct information. But I don't think you need to do that just yet.
Keep an eye on the situation and attend all Court hearings until the Petition is corrected. Once you tell the Court of the problem, it will give the lawyer an incentive to fix it.See question