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Irvine Legal Blog

Dealing with social media when handling an estate

When a California resident passes away, friends and loved ones may not be thinking about deceased's social media accounts. However, these can be a permanent reminder that the deceased once impacted the lives of so many people. In some cases, that person's account may appear on a suggested friend's list or on a timeline unexpectedly. This could trigger bouts of grief or sadness for those who knew the individual.

Executors or fiduciaries for a deceased person may have different options depending on the platform site. For instance, Facebook will memorialize or delete an account after receiving a death certificate. The same protocol is true for Instagram accounts. If a person wishes to delete a deceased individual's Twitter account, the company will first contact that person and ask for identification and a death certificate.

Hugh Hefner widow apparently not in his will

The Playboy Mansion of Hugh Hefner was a magnet for celebrities in California for decades. The Los Angeles location served as the scene of the magazine publisher's final wedding to Crystal Harris in 2012. In 2013, a source revealed that she had signed a prenuptial agreement with Hefner, and his will that existed at the time did not name her as a beneficiary.

Hefner's death at the age on 91 launches the process of distributing his fortune. As of 2013, his assets reached an estimated $43 million. The sale of his famous Playboy Mansion in August 2016 produced another $100 million in revenue for him. The will directs substantial assets to his children, multiple charities and the University of Southern California film school.

Prince heirs want new estate representative

When Prince died unexpectedly from an accidental drug overdose, he had no will. His estate included valuable music recordings, including unreleased works known as the vault. The movement of these vault materials to a storage facility in California lies at the heart of a court complaint seeking removal of Comerica Bank as the personal representative to the estate.

Six legal heirs have been identified, and three of them, Prince's half siblings, filed the court petition. They allege that Comerica failed to inform them about the movement of the recordings or ask permission to do so. A statement from Comerica insisted that a bank representative discussed the issue with the heirs four times. According to the petition, the heirs accuse Comerica of incompetence. They claim that the representative failed to protect valuable assets, ignored a court transition order and purposefully withheld information from heirs.

Commencing unlawful detainer actions against tenants

Some landlords in California will have tenants who fail to pay their rent or vacate their properties when their leases are up. When these situations happen, landlords may file unlawful detainer petitions in order to secure the tenants' evictions.

In order to file unlawful detainer cases, landlords must obtain and complete the civil complaint and summons together with the civil action cover sheet. After these are completed, the landlords must file them with the court that holds jurisdiction either electronically or in person. Once the documents are filed, the court will give a hearing date on the summons. All three documents must then be properly served on the defendants.

3 tips for trust administration in California

An appointment as a trustee is more than just a compliment, it is a big responsibility. Responsibilities inherent to this position include the management of the assets held within the trust and distribution of the assets as detailed by the trust documents.

Navigating the rules and expectations can be difficult, but the following tips can help:

How to evict a tenant properly

In certain circumstances, a California resident may be forcibly removed from a premises that he or she is renting. This may occur if that person has failed to pay rent on time, is engaging in criminal activity or is otherwise breaking the lease. Having people or pets who are not authorized to occupy the premises may qualify as violating the terms of a lease.

The first step in the eviction process is issuing a formal notice of a default. The tenant will typically have a reasonable amount of time to address any issues in that notice. If that doesn't happen, the landlord may request a court hearing to begin an unlawful detainer action. What this means is that the landlord claims that the tenant is now unlawfully living in the premises. The tenant must be served with papers prior to the hearing.

Reducing investment property risks

California residents sometimes consider investing in residential real estate. While becoming a landlord is an established way of generating income, it is not without its risks. Landlord-tenant disputes can be expensive and time-consuming, but they can often be avoided by a proactive landlord.

After purchasing a building, landlords should develop consistent criteria for approving tenant applications. This reduces the risks of being accused of housing discrimination, while also protecting the landlord against a troublesome tenant. Many landlords require potential tenants to meet income and credit score requirements. It is also legitimate to request references from a prospective tenant's previous landlords.

Probate after an intestate death

Whether a person has a will or not, it may be necessary for the estate to go through the probate process. If a California resident has a valid will, that person is considered to have died testate. If there is no will, a person will have been declared to die intestate. In most cases, assets will be distributed according to state law when a person dies intestate.

In such a scenario, a person is generally appointed to oversee the probate process. He or she is generally referred to as an administrator, and this person has generally the same responsibilities as an executor. That is, this person will value the estate, pay its debts and perform other tasks. State law relating to heir classes will typically determine who is entitled to assets once belonging to the intestate individual.

How to collect rent from tenants

California residential landlords likely look forward to collecting their monthly rent from their tenants. However, it can be a stressful time for those who don't have a streamlined or automated way of collecting it. While landlords may decide for themselves within reason how to get their rent, several factors may determine the easiest way to do so. For those who only have a few tenants, it may be possible to physically collect checks each month.

Those who live far away from their properties may be better off collecting the rent electronically or through a third party. Electronic transfers may also be ideal for landlords who simply don't want to interact with their tenants on a regular basis. Landlords who don't know how to make use of electronic transfers or other digital tools may feel at ease collecting rent checks in person.

Procedure for helping minor access dead father's estate

When people in California die without a will, their children have a legal basis for declaring themselves as heirs to estates. Gaining access to those assets, however, might entail the conscious efforts of people to support a minor who must assert a claim by petitioning a court.

The real-life example of a 14-year-old girl illustrates the process and some of the difficulties that could arise. Cared for by her grandmother, the girl was not the benefit of a formal support order although her father sometimes sent money. Upon his death, the grandmother learned that he owned property but his two adult children intended to prevent the girl from accessing his estate. They refused to share the deceased father's Social Security number. To overcome the interference from the other siblings, the grandmother should obtain legal representation. An attorney could prepare the court petition to make the system aware of the third child. The grandmother could nominate herself or others to serve as an adult administrator for the minor. If the deceased father's name was on the deeds of property, then a probate court will review the assets and eventually distribute funds among the legitimate heirs.

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