How long can a home that's been transferred to an estate in a living will stay in the estate after the person passes away? I live in California.
4 Answers from Attorneys
Your question is confusing. A living will is a device to indicate wishes as to termination of use of life support equipment. If you are saying there is a probate because someone is deceased, the probate continues until there is an order of the court allowing distribution and termination of the estate proceeding. The time varies greatly depending on the complexity of the estate and the availability of information. Unfortunately the real answer is that "it depends" on the facts involved.
"Living wills" is a misnomer for health care directives, as Mr. Christian points out. A regular will is an ambulatory instrument, meaning it can be revoked and torn up while the testator (the person who makes the will) is alive, property is not transferred when the testator is alive, but rather when the testator dies, if the will is still in existence.
Do you mean that ownership of the house was transferred to a trust? It depends on what the trust document states. However, the trustee must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. With that in mind, the house could be held in trust for quite a long time. If the beneficiary believes the trustee is abusing his or her power, the beneficiary can petition the court for advice and review of the trustees actions or inactions.
I agree with Mr. Jordan that it sounds like you mean it was put into a trust. If so, I also agree that it depends on the trust document and the judgement of the trustee, but in any case it cannot be held in trust longer than "lives in being plus 21 years," under the rule against perpetuities."