Fixing or amending a California probate court order part 1

I recently got to diagnose a new case that I thought would really speak to some of my readers. A potential client (we’ll call him Mr. P) called me about a case where his wife had died and he believed he was inheriting a property as her will left him everything she had. Certainly everything […]

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California Purchase Agreement Probate Addendum

The Purchase Agreement Probate Addendum (form-PAPA) is a relatively new form. I believe it was released for use in the middle of 2019.  A draft copy is available to see on the California Association of Realtors website here.  You can purchase a copy there as well even if you are not a licensed Realtor or […]

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When to open probate when house is almost upside down?

I often have clients or potential clients who come to me to discuss when to open probate when their parents, or other loved one’s, house is almost upside down.  That is, what’s enough equity to make it worthwhile to file for probate?  Upside down, or when the mortgage balance is higher than the value of […]

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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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Can I sell a house during a California probate?

People are often pleasantly surprised to learn that the answer to this question (Can I sell a house during a California probate) is an affirmative, YES!  That is correct, without hesitation, and that is without any doubt. Y – E – S ! You can sell a house during a probate in California. However, there […]

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How to Hold Title to Real Estate

I have been asked the questions many times how should people hold title to real estate in California. Let’s talk about the options. First and foremost, for anybody that owns real estate in California, the best method is in a California revocable living trust. The other options, below, are a distant second place.  Why is […]

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I recently became acquainted with This website helps consumers find experienced Realtors to help them with their home sale among other features. It’s a really robust site and I encourage my readers to check it out! It has extensive information about the probate process and helping you find a probate experienced Realtor. This is […]

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Bank of America mortgage trust certification form

For some time now I have advised clients to contact their mortgage holder to see about linking their trust to their mortgage. Without that you can leave your trustee with a problem. The house might be owned by the trust but the mortgage is not connected to the trust. When that happens the trustee can […]

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Special Letters of Administration and Mortgage Companies

“My husband died and the mortgage company won’t talk to me.” This is becoming a common statement that I hear. Mortgages and the actual deed to real estate are NOT connected. They are separate.  So, for example, if a spouse dies with a house in their name the other spouse can often use a “spousal […]

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Holding trust property in joint tenancy

Can it be done?  Can property be held in trust AND in joint tenancy?  Your lawyer told you it can’t be done, right?  Tell them to review California Civil Code section 683(a). 683. (a) A joint interest is one owned by two or more persons in equal shares, by a title created by a single […]

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