Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

What is the time frame for reporting a death to creditors, IRS, DMV, etc.? My son passed away August 19, 2009 at the age of 24 without a will. He bought a house 4 months prior which his father was living in at the time of his death. His father continues to pay the mortgage and live in the house with my sons' belongings. His father and I are divorced, and he will not discuss my sons estate with me. I feel he is in violation of the reporting laws.

Asked on 2/13/10, 7:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathan Reich De Castro, West, Chodorow, Glickfeld & Nass, Inc.
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I am so sorry to hear about your son. Because he died without a will, his assets will be disributed under the law of intestacy which means that they will go to you and his father. A probate needs to be opened to administer his estate, give the proper notices to his creditors, pays off his debts and transferrs his remaining assets. The administrator of his estate will also have to file final tax returns for your son.

So long as your ex-husband continues to pay the mortgage the lender will probably not take much notice of anything. The house cannot be sold, however, until title is transferred out of your son's name, which requires a probate. Many other problems could arise if a probate is not opened and it should be done sooner rather than later. If you would like our assistance in doing so, please do not hesitate to call us.

Jon Reich

310.478.2541

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The above response is not intended to, and does not, create an attorney-client, fiduciary or other confidential relationship with the responder. Neither does it constitute the providing of legal advice or services or the giving of a legal opinion by the responder. Such a relationship can only be created, and legal advice and/or legal services provided, pursuant to a written agreement with the responder. Accordingly, no obligations of any kind are assumed with respect to any matter or question presented. It should also be noted that legal issues are often time sensitive and legal rights may be lost or compromised if you do not act in a timely fashion.

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2/18/10, 9:04 am

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