Trust And Estate Administration

Q: My uncle died and his estate needs to go through probate. He did not have a Will. Who will receive the assets of his estate at the end of the probate?

A: Your uncle's estate is considered intestate because he died without a Will. California's laws of intestate succession will be applied to determine the heirs of his estate. If he was married and had children, his spouse and children would be the heirs of his estate....

Q: My late father owned a duplex as a joint tenant with his sister when he died. We also found his will, which stated he left all of his assets to me and my sister. Who will end up owning the duplex?

A: Unfortunately, your aunt now owns that duplex. By operation of law, when your father died, the surviving joint tenant automatically owned the entire duplex, which meant that the will had no legal effect over the disposition of your father's interest in the duplex....

Q: I think I am having mixed feelings about taking compensation for acting as executor of my dad’s will. Am I required to receive the statutory compensation?

A: You are not required to accept compensation for acting as an executor. Oftentimes an executor may not want to take compensation to appease other siblings or to not have the compensation be taxable income (the inheritance is tax-free but the compensation must be...

Q: My aunt promised me before she died that she would leave me her home after she died, but then she died without a will. Is there anything I can do?

A: Possibly. Although the success of the claim will depend on the particular facts, Probate Code Section 366.3(a) states: "If a person has a claim that arises from a promise or agreement with a decedent to distribution from an estate or trust ..., whether the promise...