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If money was distributed to beneficiaries of a trust and months later the executor was informed that add'l money was owed from: the estate, who, if anyone, is responsible for payment? What if there is no money left?

Asked over 1 year ago in Trusts

Ernest’s answer: Take the creditor's documents and ask the attorney who represented the Trustee in administration of the Trust, if any. If no attorney was used, the trustee should find an attorney to review the estate planning documents and the claim for money owed by the decedent. You stated that there was a "trust" but that the "executor" was informed about additional money, so it is unclear whether the decedent has a trust, an estate, or both. The requirements for handling debts are similar but not identical, between a trust and a probate estate.

The attorney can help the executor or trustee to determine whether the claim for money owed was properly filed in a timely manner, how the trust or estate should to deal with the debt if it is not barred by the statute of limitations, and whether or not the Trustee/executor would incur any personal liability for the debt if the amounts already paid out can't be recovered from the recipients. They may also be able to help you negotiate a resolution with the creditor short of litigation.

This type of scenario is exactly why we strongly advise that anyone handling someone's estate as a trustee or executor, should absolutely hire an attorney to advise them in the proper administration of the decedent's property. If handled properly, the time to file a claim for the decedent's unpaid debts should have expired before payment to the beneficiaries was made, in which case the creditor would not be able to collect from anyone.

Answered over 1 year ago.


A friend was in the middle of a divorce and suddenly passed away. Can her husband claim money her mother gave her?: A friend was in the middle of a divorce from her husband of 40 years, who left her for another woman. Her mother gave her $50,000 after they separated and filed for divorce to help her out as she depended on her husband for support. She sadly passed away suddenly. We think her husband may try to claim the money her mother gave her since the divorce was not final. Would that happen? Or can it go back to her mother? I believe my friend had it in an account in her name only.

Asked over 1 year ago in Probate

Ernest’s answer: The answer to your question is very fact specific and the surviving family members of your friend need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The family should also check with the bank to see if your friend designated a POD beneficiary to receive the account upon her death.

If your deceased friend had property that had no designated beneficiaries or joint owners, that property would be part of her estate. Your friend's debts will need to be paid from the estate and what is left after payment of all of her debts will pass to her heirs. If she had a will or trust, the persons she named as beneficiaries will receive her property.

If she did not have a will or trust, her husband will have a claim to receive at least a portion of her estate if the divorce was not finalized prior to her death. Many divorce attorneys advise their clients to make a will or trust while the divorce is pending to make sure the divorcing spouse doesn't inherit.

Your friend and her mother may have intended for the $50,000 to be a loan to help your friend get back on her feet. If that is the case, the mother would need to file a creditor's claim to make sure she is repaid the loan in the estate administration. A loan is a debt of the estate.

All of this should be discussed immediately with a probate attorney. There are time limits on collecting debts from the decedent's estate. The children or mother of your friend would be the ones with standing to bring court proceedings so they need to seek counsel immediately.

Answered over 1 year ago.


If my father built a house for his grandson who live with him for 12 years and he no will, can the state take it.: My son has lived with his grandfather for 12 years. My father passed away 1-16-14. The State of Calif sends a paper in the mail stating that if a handicap or blind live in the house for a year that the state can not take it. No were on the paper dose it state that it has to be a child of the deceased.my father did not have a will. He thought that the house would go to my son but the State say it has to be a son or daughter. Know the State is trying to take the house What am I the mother of the handicap . I don't know what to do I am the only heir of my father. I don't want my son to be homeless. This house is his home. Please help
it the house his grand father built for him . Thank you .

Asked over 2 years ago in Probate

Ernest’s answer: My condolences to you. It sounds like you might have received a state claim for medi-cal recovery-- but without looking at all the documents, no one can tell you what options you might have. If your father did not leave a will, your son could still receive your interest in the home through you. You need to have a consultation with an attorney who can look over the deed and state documents, and help you probate the estate. Contact a probate attorney as soon as possible. If a state/medi-cal claim is involved, your attorney can also advise you about that issue. Don't wait any longer. See a probate attorney with your documents right away.

Answered over 2 years ago.