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Aretha Franklin’s attorney files THREE handwritten wills

I saw this headline today and here’s a link to the article in Aretha’s hometown paper. The reality is it’s not shocking to have three wills and even three handwritten wills. This happens as people change their mind from time to time and/or in some cases handwritten documents might be wills. For a lawyer helping […]

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Games of Thrones and California Probate

Ok, I admit it I just wanted to put “Game of Thrones” in my blog to see a spike in readership. I am sorry. It’s like the old days when we talked about Star Wars. Here’s the strange thing though, and this has absolutely nothing to do with California probate law, I have never watched […]

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John Palley speaking on probate and estate law April 18th in Sacramento

I am excited to announce that I have been invited to speak on California probate law and how to improve your trusts. This will be April 18, 2019 in Sacramento AND online! Here is a link to the Facebook page. Probate & Real Estate Workshop.2019

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Some Thoughts on Spousal Property Petitions in California Probate Courts

As a probate attorney since 1994 I have prepared and file a lot of Spousal Property Petitions over the years. The main form is state form DE-121 which you can find here on the web. I think a lot of people gloss over the many nuances in these cases and thus I wanted to talk […]

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Filing the Original Will with a California probate court

I spoke recently to a potential new client who lives in the great state of Texas. Her daughter died here in California, with assets exceeding $150,000, and thus she needs to start a probate. This is the type of case I specialize in. I deal with dozens of such cases each year where my client […]

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Can I change the locks on my mom’s house?

Dealing with well over 1,000 probate cases in my 25 years as a probate attorney I have been asked “Can I change the locks on [mom/dad/grandma/grandpa/etc] house now that they are dead?” The stories are different, and though often unlawfully, there are people in living in mom’s house. This may be a squatter, this may […]

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Crazy Long Probate Court Continuances

Today is Monday February 25, 2019. We had a probate hearing on calendar in a county in California. I am not trying to throw any specific Court under the bus so let’s just say a county somewhere south of Oregon and north of the Mexican border. We had taken over the probate from another attorney […]

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International Ancillary probate

As a probate attorney for 25 years I have dealt with countless ancillary probates in my personal practice. These typically involve a person who has property in two, or more, US states. However, on occasion we run into international probate situations. That might be a citizen of the world who dies owning property in California […]

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Suze Orman estate plan part two – what’s a general transfer?

I got my court’s calendar notes today for my recently filed Heggstad petition where the decedent had done a Suze Orman trust. Different counties call them different things – calendar notes, tentative ruling, etc… but basically it’s the Court’s preliminary thoughts on the case after reviewing what has been filed. It says: Settlor executed a […]

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Suze Orman or other form trusts MIGHT work ok

I got a new case recently where the person who died had a Suze Orman will and trust. Let’s just say, in legal terms, it’s all messed up! Before I go on let me make clear that Suze has a well deserved reputation as a financial guru. She has helped millions of people get their […]

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