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Probate

It is 2008 and the probate process for my brother's estate is still not completely closed. He died in April 2005. We were able to distribute the majority of the money to the heirs in 2006 but had to hold on to a small amount in case there was a problem with the taxes. The estate (represented by me) had to hire a lawyer and an accountant and then I paid myself a smallish fee in comparison. At this time I need to pull together any stray bank statements so the accountant can finalize the accounts and we can distribute the remaining money to the heirs.

I mention this to point out that probate can be expensive and time-consuming. It is well to avoid at all costs - and yet I personally have not been able to work a way to avoid it at my death. In California probate kicks in if the estate is valued at more than $100,000, even if a large portion of that amount is still owed! As in a loan for a house. This is where I have the problem. I have a loan on my mobile home and the lender refuses to put it in the name of my revocable trust. I can understand the hesitancy because they want to be sure that the person who takes over the loan is qualified. But if my daughters were willing to take on this charge it would affect their credit adversely. Not a good situation.

The solution would be to own the house outright so I can move it into the trust. But that's not realistic yet. I should chat with an accountant.

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