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• Private Law Practice (1986-present), PROBATE AND ESTATE PLANNING; • Assistant General Counsel, Grumman Corporation, Bethpage, New York (1984-1986); • General Counsel, Grumman Flxible Corporation, Delaware, Ohio, (1976-1984); • Staff Attorney, Rohr Industries, Inc., Chula Vista California, (1971-1976); • Internal Auditor (1967-1971); • Military Service: United States Air Force, 1958-1962. • Judge Pro Tem (Small Claims Court Judge) and Judicial Arbitrator, Three Lakes Judicial District, Temecula, California (1991–1995). Teaching/Adjunct Professor: • Business Law; San Diego City College (1972-76); • Business Law; CTI, Columbus, Ohio (1976-79); • Business Law; Government and Business; University of Dayton Graduate School Of Business, Dayton, Ohio (Adjunct Professor in MBA program) (1979-84). Admissions/State. • California (1972); • Ohio (1984) (currently inactive); • Colorado (1998) (currently inactive); • Hawaii (2004) (currently inactive). Admissions/Federal. • United States Supreme Court (1975); • Federal District Court-Southern District of California (1972); • Federal District Court-Central District of Ohio (1984); • Federal District Court-Central District of California (2001); • Federal District Court-District of Hawaii (2004). Awards: • Bancroft Whitney American Jurisprudence Award. Oustanding study, Wills and Trusts. • Cold War Service Medal; • Honorable Service Medal

Practice Area
  • Probate
  • Free Consultation
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
University of San Diego School of Law
LL.M. (1993) | TAXATION
University of Dayton
University of San Diego School of Law
J.D. (1972)
Honors: Bancroft Whitney American Jurisprudence Award-Study of Wills and Trusts
University of Redlands
B.A. (1967) | ACCOUNTING
San Bernardino Valley College
Professional Associations
California State Bar Trusts and Estates Section # 51670
- Current
State Bar of California # 51670
- Current
Websites & Blogs
Bill Sweeney's Website Profile
Sweeney Probate Law Website
Legal Answers
95 Questions Answered

Q. I was charged $2500 for the legal fees related transferring my brother's car to me.
A: You should address this question to the attorney who did the work. I am sure he or she would explain the basis for the attorney fees.
Q. My brother just died & I'm his only family his never been married & no kids we thought . He has no will.ill continue Q
A: Assuming that the girl can prove that your brother is her biological father and your brother has not been married and has no other biological or adopted children, the natural child would likely be entitled to inherit your brother's estate by intestate succession. California intestacy law determines what happens to a probate estate. Basically, the law states that a natural child of a deceased individual has the right to inherit “regardless of the marital status” of the parents. Also, in general, for purposes of intestacy, California states a parent-child condition exists if any of the following conditions are met: A court has entered an order “during the father’s lifetime” establishing his paternity; There is “clear and convincing evidence” presented to the probate court that the father, while he was alive, “openly held out the child as his own”; or There is “clear and convincing evidence” of paternity, but it was “impossible” for the father to acknowledge the child as his own.
Q. This is just a continuation from last question I was asking you regards to my brother's passing. So you're telling me
A: If you object to her inheriting property she could be required to prove paternity. The attorney assisting you with the probate can advise you further.
Q. Can an executor of a will disclaim an inheritance on behalf of the deceased?
A: Unless the trust document provides otherwise, if a beneficiary survives the decedent but then dies later, the deceased beneficiary's share of the estate typically becomes part of the deceased beneficiary’s estate. Consequently, the deceased beneficiary's Will would provide for distribution. If there is no Will the father's estate would be distributed intestate.
Q. My wife recently passed away intestate . One separate property, home valued at 1.2 M Assume I will inherit ?
A: If your wife died without a Will and she had no children and no living parents, you would inherit all of your community property with her and 1/2 of her separate property. Your wife's siblings would inherit 1/2 of her separate property.
Q. My father died 7 years ago. How do I find out if the Estate was probated or not?
A: Ask the attorney of record for the probate or, alternatively, go to the probate court clerks's office (in person) in the county of the deceased's residence at the time of death and ask for assistance in locating the documents. In most cases, the probate clerk will be able to look up the estate information by using the decedent's legal name, and if an estate has been opened, you will be able to view the actual probate file and request copies of applicable documents. There will be a fee for the documents.
Q. Is it legal to just add someone onto a legal binding contract for a wrongful death lawsuit
A: I assume you are talking about the fee agreement with the attorney representing the plaintiffs or the settlement agreement in the wrongful death suit. If so, you should present this question to the attorney who represented the plaintiffs.
Q. Do I need to use probate in my situation ? in California.
A: In California, community property is generally property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This includes income received from work, property bought during the marriage with income from employment, and separate property that a spouse gives to the community. With community property each spouse owns a one-half interest and spouses have the right to dispose of their share of the community property in whatever way desired. Based on your facts it would appear that your home is a community asset. You should contact a competent attorney for advice and a plan of action, such as a spousal petition.
Q. My Exes Mom Died and the estate is in probate, Can he disclaim his inheritance and avoid paying back child support?
A: Voluntarily giving up an inheritance that could be used to meet an existing child support obligation may be punishable as contempt of court in violation of existing support orders. You should seek the advice of a competent family law attorney. Also, the person disclaiming the inheritance does not get to choose who is next in line to receive the disclaimed property. Instead, the property will pass as outlined by the Will, if there one, or according to California intestate succession laws. Who knows, your child or children may be next in line. You should seek the advice of a competent family law and/or probate attorney.
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Contact & Map
Sweeney Probate Law
San Juan Capistrano
32371 Alipaz St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Telephone: (949) 243-0406
Sweeney Probate Law
333 City Blvd W
17th Floor
Orange, CA 92868
Telephone: (949) 243-0406
Sweeney Probate Law
Laguna Hills
23046 Avenida De La Carlota
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Telephone: (949) 243-0406
Sweeney Probate Law
19800 MacArthur Blvd
Irvine, CA 92612
Telephone: (949) 243-0406