Meissner, Joseph, Palley & Ruggles

The firm was founded by two attorneys, Robert Fort and Morgan Johnson, on the core belief of providing top notch legal services with reasonable legal fees. While the firm has continued to meet those core beliefs, our lawyers have also added efficiency and client service to our core.

We will provide you top notch legal services with extremely reasonable legal fees, and at the same time provide you with the top shelf client service that our clients have learned to expect; the “white glove” treatment if you will. Additionally, you can expect to receive efficient replies to emails and calls, meetings set on short notice and legal work done when we say it will be done.

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I saw this article and knew my readers would be interested. We have had several Covid-19 or Coronavirus deaths in our office in the past year. As a lawyer who is 100% focused on probate court cases, or death cases, I have seen more than my fair share. This could be a resource for those facing the hurdle of paying for a loved ones funeral after a Covid death. Maybe the government will reimburse!? CHECK
We have discussed California Spousal Property Petitions (SPPs) before. As a refresher an SPP is an abbreviated probate procedure used to clear title to property when a spouse dies. It doesn’t work in all cases but it works in many where one spouse dies and there is a surviving spouse. It works for both community and separate property. It deals with transferring property to the survivor AND confirming the survivor’s property as community.  The latter…
You probably aren’t the only person with the New Years Resolution to Avoid Probate Court When you Die.  It’s pretty standard for organized adults to want to provide for their loved ones when they die and they want to do it in the most efficient manner possible. The most efficient manner possible is to avoid a stop at the probate court after death.  Probate court is expensive and time consuming.  How can you take care…
Sadly forging a will in California probate and other probate court fraud does happen. No, I do not know of any specific situations but it happens. Sadly, the laws are sort of loose. For example, did you know you don’t need a death certificate to file for probate? Why is that?  It seems to me a certified copy of a will should be required to file for probate. Otherwise, the ability to commit fraud is…
The concept of the 90 day extensions and reverse mortgages in California probate is a common issue we deal with in our office.  As you likely know, if you are reading this blog post, a reverse mortgage is a way for a senior to borrow money against the equity in their home and not pay it back until after they have died.  These days we typically see arrangements where the money is held by reverse…
What is a letter of intent with a reverse mortgage? I am asked this a lot as I run a statewide California probate law practice. A person has died, they had a reverse mortgage, and the reverse mortgage company has asked for a letter of intent. What should you do? First of all it’s important to know that reverse mortgage companies tend to not be flexible and friendly after death. They tend, though not always,…
The Purchase Agreement Probate Addendum (form-PAPA) is a relatively new form. I believe it was released for use in the middle of 2019.  A draft copy is available to see on the California Association of Realtors website here.  You can purchase a copy there as well even if you are not a licensed Realtor or working with a Realtor. However, we do recommend our clients work with licensed Realtors and preferably ones with significant…
The headline catches your eye right!?  Could a billionaire die without a will!? Actually, reading the story again he was “only” worth an estimated $840 million at death!  Let me say right now if you have $840 million, or $84 million, or $8.4 million, or $840,000 I suggest you get a will and most likely a living trust.  Heck, even most people with $84,000 should have a will!   Mr. Hsieh was busy though and he…
Are attorney fees in California probate based on the gross or net estate is a question I am often asked. The law is clear that it is the gross assets.  Let’s dive into this deeper though as attorney fees in probate should be understood if you are dealing with a California probate case. Please remember I have a probate fee calculator on my website to help you estimate what the attorney fee and the executor…
I am frequently asked about selling used cars when there is no probate – i.e. when the car is the only asset or one of the only asset. However, today I want to talk about selling used cars during a California probate. First of all it’s important to remember that the personal representative has a fiduciary duty.  That generally means they need to take care to maximize profits for the estate. So, selling a car…