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How to probate when a husband and wife die a year a part

I had a really interesting fact pattern today that I wanted to share. I got the perspective client's permission to share but, of course, names are changed for privacy. Sadly Gina's mom, Molly, died in December of 2015 and her dad, Donald, died in December of 2016. A crappy 12 months for Gina we can all agree. They owned a house in Sacramento county. A very common scenario we see is where the decedent's home ends up in one spouse's name alone. This is often done for financing purposes where one spouse has great credit, one spouse has bad credit, one spouse is employed, one spouse is self employed, etc.... Several of those factors were present here. So there is a house in Molly's name as her "sole and separate property." That is, Donald actually deeded his interest in the house to Molly as
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Husband and wife NOT as joint tenants and some options

INTRODUCTION I was presented a really interesting hypothetical recently. I thought it would make for a good blog post as there are a lot of intricate turns. It gets into issues of how to hold title, how to distribute assets between husbands and wives, and how small estate options work after death. HYPOTHETICAL In this case Harold and Wendy owned a property worth $125,000. More interestingly they actually owned 10% of a property worth about $1.25m.  Why is this more interesting? The loan on the property is about the same. H and W are now deceased and the rest of the owners on the property want to sell it to get out from under it. H committed suicide after committing fraud on a number of real estate deals.  W, was innocent in the transactions, and died
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Know thy probate options

I met with a new client today whose husband died recently. She said she went to a local attorney, who was very nice, and told her she would have to do a full probate to get the house out of her husband’s name and into her name.  The grieving widow, luckily, decided to do a little more research before hiring that attorney. The problem is that this attorney didn’t know all the options or… worse.  Let’s just assume he didn’t know all the options. The problem is a lot of attorneys say they are “probate attorneys” because they have done a probate before. This does not make one a true probate attorney.  Doing one or two or even 20 probates does not make one an expert. If you are looking to hire an attorney find someone that: 1) is a CERTIFIED SPECIALIST IN ESTATE PLANNING TRU
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