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Robert Paul Bergman

Robert Bergman’s Answers

220 total


  • Can the trust fund of my husband renewable ?

    My husband has a trust fund when he was a single /// Now we get married for 4yrs. The trust book was on his brother /// now my husband wants to renew about the trust book but the brother they dont want to give to my husband ?

    Robert’s Answer

    It is not really clear what you were asking. You should schedule a consultation the local San Jose trust attorney and bring in all the documentation you have. Then you may be able to get an answer to your question.

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  • Does an IRA beneficiary designation avoid probate

    My trust from 20 years ago does not include my IRA. The IRA does have a beneficiary designation. Do I have to put the IRA into the trust to avoid probate?

    Robert’s Answer

    You actually would not want to transfer your IRA to a living trust, because that would be considered a distribution of the entire value of the IRA in the year you did that.

    Having a beneficiary designation does bypass Probate, but only if the beneficiary is alive. Consider creating a standalone retirement plan trust to be the beneficiary of your IRA, because then you can have the same kind of "remote" beneficiaries that your living trust has. A standalone retirement plan trust can also provide asset protection for the value of the IRA when it is passed on to your intended beneficiaries.

    You can watch my informative seminar on this subject on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTSlR3TlfS4

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  • Can you set up provisions in a living trust that say a special needs trust can be set up later by a successor trustee?

    I read through my parents' living trust and it says that "the only way to protect a beneficiary entitled to government support is by creating a special needs trust, excluding that person as a beneficiary of your living trust, and making that indiv...

    Robert’s Answer

    The much better approach if you have a person who has special needs is to create a standalone Special Needs Trust for them ahead of time. Then any assets that are intended to benefit that person can be directed to the Special Needs Trust from the living trust.

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  • Selling an inherited house as the Personal Representative of the estate.

    We had to have a conservatorship declared for my mother due to her declining health. She passed on March 5, 2016. The trust names the county as executor. I was advised by the county executor that as next of kin I have priority standing to be ap...

    Robert’s Answer

    You mention a trust, which would suggest that your mother's property was not owned in her individual name, but instead in the name of her trust.

    If that is the case, filing a Probate proceeding to be appointed as Personal Representative for your mother is not right way to go forward. Instead, a petition to the Probate Court to be appointed as the successor trustee of your mother's trust would likely be a better option.

    I suggest that you have all of your mother's paperwork reviewed by local estate planning counsel to determine what the best approach would be to take over and sell your mother's home, especially if you do not want to waste any time or money.

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  • Should I have the documents corrected then sign and notarize them again? And just shred the old signature pages.

    I had some estate documents notarized (Trust, acceptance of asset assignment, trust grant deed, and health care directive). The new CA requirement - boxed wording "A notary public... ... accuracy, or validity of that document" was left out of the...

    Robert’s Answer

    The notary is correct. Often legal documents have a form of notary acknowledgement that is no longer valid. Attaching a correct notarization form is appropriate. As an alternative, the documents can be redrawn with the appropriate notary language, and then re-signed and notarized again.

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  • How can I leave my condo to a friend when there is a mortgage on it?

    Should I hold the condo and my personal property in a trust if I want to leave my condo and all personal property to a friend. There is a mortgage on the condo. Can title go directly to my friend for him to decide whether to sell it or mortgage ...

    Robert’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Yes. A living trust would be most appropriate. Your friend can then sell the condo or refinance it to keep it, unless your current bank permits your friend to assume your mortgage.

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  • Can American husband sign over 1/2 of his pensions, assets to former girlfriend? Taiwanese wife. Both have resided in CA.

    American husband gives 1/2 estate to old girlfriend. Taiwanese wife does not realize. Both have resided in California for 10 years of marriage.

    Robert’s Answer

    It is not clear from your question what you mean by "sign over." Did the husband leave property to a former girlfriend through a Will or using beneficiary designations, or did he transfer the property while he was still alive?

    If he was still alive, and the property was community property, neither spouse has the legal right to transfer any part of community property without the consent of the other spouse. If that was the case, then the Taiwanese wife can sue to get the transferred property back. This would be a family law matter, and not an estate matter.

    If the husband passed the property through a Will, then he can give his share of community property to anyone, including an ex-girlfriend. However, if a pension plan or other ERISA plan like a 401k, 403b, or similar plan is involved, the wife's express written consent would be required to do this. Also, most companies handling IRA accounts would require the wife to "sign off" on any beneficiary designation that was to someone other than the wife.

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  • Can I set up a revocable living trust with a subtrust for my son, but appoint a bank as the trustee just of that subtrust?

    I want to set up a trust to leave everything to my adult children with my daughter as trustee. But I have one son with a substance abuse problem, and would like to leave him a monthly allowance so he can't waste his inheritance all at once. I do n...

    Robert’s Answer

    All of that can be accomplished with a well drafted living trust. As for having another trustee for your son's share, that is also possible. Depending on the value of the trust share, a corporate trustee may be too expensive. An individually licensed fiduciary acting as trustee would likely be more cost effective.

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  • Can settlor of IRrevocable Trust defer the moment when beneficiaries may call for distribution of trust corpus (principal)?

    My dad is about to create IRREVOCABLE trust for HEMS for my kids (with spendthrift protection). I am trustee. Besides other provisions, Dad (settlor) wants to set up: Principal (corpus) of the trust to be distributed among grandkids in equal share...

    Robert’s Answer

    First of all, I hope your father is working with legal counsel on this.

    Distribution of the trust can take place triggered by a future event, such as your death. No problem with that. Turning age 18 might trigger distribution of a custodial account, but not trust assets unless the trust says that.

    You should not direct that your property be poured over into your father's irrevocable trust. That is a needless complication, especially as you indicate your father's trust terminates and is distributed on your death. You should have your own estate plan to direct the distribution of your property.

    Also, if your father is considering a HEMS trust with spendthrift protection, he might want to consider making it a lifetime trust for your grandchildren., something I like to call "castle trust planning." That planning protects the inheritance for your children for their entire lives, instead of protection until your date of death, which is unpredictable.

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  • How do I access a Will that was filed in 2002?

    We have a reason to believe that our daughters biological mother may have spent money that was left in trust to our daughters for their college education. We want to find the Will of their grandfather. I went to the court website, however it showe...

    Robert’s Answer

    Probate Court documents are not directly accessible on the Court's website at this time. If you can travel directly to the Probate Court in Los Angeles (assuming that is where the mother died), you should be able to request to view the Probate Court file either in physical form or electronically through the Court, depending on how they store that information today.

    Then, you can find the Will in the file and request that a copy be made, which may be possible right while you are there.

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