Earlier today I spoke for two hours regarding the California probate process. The speaking engagement was for NBI and was entitled “The Probate Process from Start to Finish.” Over the next couple of days I will publish my written materials. This first section is about managing the inventory and appraisal which is an essential part of a California probate. Please follow up with questions you may have. -John
The Probate Process From Start to Finish
III. MANAGING THE INVENTORY
10:15 – 10:55 – John B. Palley
PRACTICE POINTER: While most Courts do not enforce this rule (with some noted exceptions) it is a good idea to follow this rule so that your client is in compliance with the rules detailing their job. Thus you should calendar the 4 month date. If you can’t comply with getting the Final inventory done at least file a partial inventory, with as many assets as possible listed, to show you are attempting to comply with the rules.
PRACTICE POINTER: If the bond is insufficient, immediately file an ex parte request for an order increasing the bond to a satisfactorily level.
(a) Money and other cash items. As used in this subdivision, a “cash item” is a check, draft, money order, or similar instrument issued on or before the date of the decedent’s death that can be immediately converted to cash.
(b) The following checks issued after the date of the decedent’s death:
(1) Checks for wages earned before death.
(2) Refund checks, including tax and utility refunds, and Medicare, medical insurance, and other health care reimbursements and payments.
(c) Accounts (as defined in Section 21) in financial institutions.
(d) Cash deposits and money market mutual funds, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 9730, whether in a financial institution or otherwise, including a brokerage cash account. All other mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities shall be appraised pursuant to Sections 8902 to 8909, inclusive.
(e) Proceeds of life and accident insurance policies and retirement plans and annuities payable on death in lump sum amounts.”
6. All other assets, including real property, personal property, stocks,
bonds and mutual funds are valued by the probate referee.
PRACTICE POINTER: A phone call or email to the referee can answer
many questions. Use them as a resource!
PRACTICE POINTER: When using partial inventories it’s a good idea to get the items needing probate referee appraisal on one inventory. Get this to the referee as quickly as possible. Then put cash, and other items you can appraise, on subsequent partial inventories.
PRACTICE POINTER: Make sure to calendar your four month date for the inventory to be filed and make sure that at least a partial inventory is on file by that date to show your client is attempting to comply with the probate code. You never want to expose your client to a petition for removal (or suspension of powers) and filing all of the little rules helps prevent such a removal petition!