Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

I live in California. my handicap mother passed away and I want my sister who took care of her all her life to have the house they lived in always. The house was left to my sister and me in the Trust and both of us as trustees. I want to sign a disclaimer on the house so my sister can have it since she took care of my mother all her life. can you email me a disclaimer form that I can fill out or give me a site that I can get one to fill out. Thanks.

Asked on 10/29/13, 6:34 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Scott Jordan Dunning Law Firm

What you are asking is not necessarily something an attorney will just "give away". You may be able to find a form disclaimer on-line.

However, before you take this action, you should discuss this action with a CPA because the gift you are giving to your sister may have a tax consequence.

Also, in order to administer the trust correctly, you and your sister will need to send out certain notices to state agencies and pay any outstanding liens or bills incurred on your mother's behalf. Also, you will need to file an Affidavit Death of Trustee and transferring title of the house into you and your sister's names as Trustee's of the Trust. You, as trustee, will also have to file your mother's final tax return. Among other duties.

I would be happy to discuss trust administration in more detail with you.

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Answered on 10/29/13, 6:51 pm

Jennifer Rouse Meissner Joseph & Palley

In addition to what Mr. Jordan says above, you should have an attorney review the terms of the trust to see if a disclaimer will accomplish what you want. The trust could provide that if you predeceased your mother, which generally is the effect of a disclaimer, the your share of the trust passes to your children or someone else. It is important to meet with an attorney and a CPA so that you kshouldo the right things to accomplish what you want.

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Answered on 10/30/13, 6:39 am
William Christian Rodi Pollock

I strongly agree. A disclaimer only results in you being treated as having predeceased the decedent. If the trust indicates your share goes to your kids, or to a charity, if you die first, your disclaimer does NOT do what you want. A review of the governing documents is critical. Seek counsel. A few dollars spent to make sure it is done right may save a huge expense if done wrong.

By the way, a disclaimer can generally be used only if implemented within 9 months of the date of death. This rule may also prevent it's use. There may be circumstances where your taking the property and gifting it to your sister is the right way to go. It does (or may) impact your own planning and how you do this may greatly impact property tax bills.

Get an expert in estate administration to help.

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Answered on 10/30/13, 9:54 am

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