San Jose California Real Estate And Estate Planning Law Blog

Foreclosures continue to drop across the country

Since reaching a high point during last decade's Great Recession, the number of foreclosures across the country continues to decline. The rate of decline, however, does seem to be slowing down a bit.

At the peak of the last economic crisis, in 2010, there were over 2 million filings for foreclosure of a mortgage or, in the case of California, a deed of trust. This meant that home loans were failing at the rate of over 1.33%.

Guiding executors through estate administration

Even when everyone is getting along, being the executor of a California estate can be a challenging and time-consuming task.

As a previous post on this blog discussed, executors have a lot of important responsibilities that last from shortly after their loved one dies up to when property finally gets distributed to the heirs and the final tax returns get submitted.

Overview of the elective share in California

Like other states, California law gives special rights to a person's spouse when that person dies. The idea behind these laws is that a person's spouse ought have a right to a portion of the deceased person's estate, even if the person's spouse is not named in the deceased's estate planning documents.

Moreover, there is a strong legal assumption that someone who died would not want to cut his own widow out of the estate.

When might a subcontractor consider filing a mechanic’s lien?

If you are a subcontractor who has not been paid for work you provided, a mechanic’s lien can help you recover that money by placing a lien on the property where you provided the work. Once you do this, the property owner will not be able to sell or refinance the property until the debt is paid. A mechanic’s lien also allows you to go to court to have the property auctioned off, if necessary for the debt to be paid.

Although a mechanic's lien can help you recover the payment you deserve, you must follow appropriate steps within designated time frames. If a step or deadline is missed, you could lose all your mechanic’s lien rights.

What is the role of the California Department of Real Estate?

Many professions in California are regulated by the state. This is usually because people put a lot of trust in such professionals and can lose a lot of property if it turns out that the trust is misplaced.

On the other side of the coin, those who want to work in such professions have to obtain a license from the proper regulatory agency and then do what they need to do to keep that license. If their license gets suspended or revoked, it could mean the end of their careers, not to mention their livelihoods.

How does life insurance get handled in an estate?

Like retirement plans and many other financial accounts, proceeds from life insurance policies typically do not pass through a person's estate. In other words, upon the death of the insured, the insurance company will pay the proceeds directly to the person named as a beneficiary on the policy.

There is at least one possible exception to this rule, and that is if the person insured under the policy specifically says the proceeds should pass in to the person's estate or, for that matter, in to a trust.

What is a living will?

Although the name of the document is somewhat misleading, a living will is not really anything like a last will and testament.

Whereas a San Jose resident would use the latter to distribute property after her death, a living will is a document that doctors and loved ones will use while the person is still alive yet unable to communicate her wishes.

Other alternatives to foreclosure

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how a short sale can help a family in San Jose or one of the other suburbs in the Bay Area avoid losing their home, or other property, to the process commonly referred to as foreclosure.

While a short sale is one option, there are other things a family can do if they find themselves unable to pay their mortgage, short of simply allowing their lender to foreclose.

What constitutes undue influence?

Many residents of San Jose, California, and the surrounding greater Bay Area may have heard the phrase undue influence, even if they just happened to be reading about a big estate-related court fight.

Undue influence is one reason disgruntled heirs and beneficiaries may decide to challenge a will. For that matter, even though trusts are typically administered outside of the court-supervised probate process, a person can claim undue influence as part of trust litigation as well.

What does an executor do?

When it comes to administering a California estate, perhaps the most important person is the executor, who may also be referred to as the administrator of the estate or even as the personal representative.

While technically speaking executors are only involved when an estate goes through probate, many of their responsibilities and duties are shared by administrators of trusts., so this post can be helpful in that context as well.


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96 N 3rd St
San Jose, CA 95112

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