Bruce Adrian Last

Bruce Adrian Last

Solo practitioner specializing in probate and trust law.
  • Estate Planning, Probate
  • California
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Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

After working for ten years at The Jellins Group, APLC, a general practice law firm, I moved to Contra Costa County and decided to start my own law practice. My primary practice area is estate planning, probate and trust administration and litigation. However, I also work in the related area of real estate and landlord-tenant law. I received my J.D. from McGeorge School of Law in 2002, graduating Dean’s Honor Roll. San Francisco State University conferred a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Creative Arts in 1998 following my completion of a course focusing on audio-video and multi-media production and design. In addition to operating my own practice, I currently am an attorney editor for Thomson Reuters and volunteer with Contra Costa County Senior Legal Services.

Practice Areas
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
    Probate Administration, Probate Litigation, Will Contests
  • Not Currently Accepting Clients
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Due to a career change, I am not accepting new clients at this time.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Bruce Last, Attorney at Law
- Current
Senior Associate
The Jellins Group, APLC
California State University - San Francisco State University
Undergraduate Degree
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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
J.D. (2002) | Law
Honors: Dean's Honor List 2002
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Logo
Professional Associations
Contra Costa County Bar Assoication
- Current
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California State Bar  # 231750
- Current
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Websites & Blogs
My Web Page
Legal Answers
277 Questions Answered
Q. My mother sold her house and has since passed away. The new owners are saying that the septic tank is bad and suing me.
A: Unless you were on title to the property, and thus a seller, or it has been less than one year since your mother's death, the claim is likely barred. California Civil Code 366.2 states:

" If a person against whom an action may be brought on a liability of the person, whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, and whether accrued or not accrued, dies before the expiration of the applicable limitations period, and the cause of action survives, an action may be commenced within one year after the date of death, and the limitations period that would have been applicable does not apply."

That statute essentially bars all claims against a decedent one year from the date of death. There are some exceptions, for example if a creditor's claim is filed in the decedent's estate, or claims from certain government entities.

However, you'll need to take the appropriate action to nip it in the bud. I'd talk to an attorney who does both civil litigation and knows probate law as soon as possible. Otherwise, the plaintiff can take a default judgement against you if you are served with the summons and complaint and do not answer or otherwise respond in a manner allowed by the code of civil procedure in the appropriate time.
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Q. My mom died and resided in California. She has an account in Ohio I need to close. Total assets 25,000. Probate?
A: As others suggest, personal property (that is anything other then real property) is subject to the laws of the State where the decedent died. Thus, the Ohio bank should honer an affidavit under California Probate Code s. 13100. (

Sometimes, a small, local bank (one that does not have branches in California) is unfamiliar with the process. Generally, a letter and phone call from an attorney will clear this up. (About 1-2 hours of attorney time.)

Best of luck.
Q. Is it legal to ask a beneficiary to claim money from distributions he never received, for taxes, through Schedule K-1s?
A: Quail Valley:

From what you describe, something does not sound right. In some instances a trust or estate will "pass though" tax liability to the beneficiary but only where that liability is connected to a distribution. For example, if a trust makes a distribution to a beneficiary that consists of income and capital gains earned by the trust, it may pass the tax liability to the beneficiary. This is done because the beneficiary, as a general rule, has a lower tax rate than the trust.

So, it indeed seems odd that the trustee would ask you to state that you received a distribution if you did not. I am also concerned that you do not believe there is money in the trust to make a distribution. Beneficiaries who are entitled to distributions are also entitled to a yearly accounting. (Even if the trust instrument, to which you are entitled a copy of, waives the accounting the trustee is still required to provide certain financial information.)

I strongly suggest that you speak with an attorney about this as soon as possible. If there is "monkey business" going on, the law provides you with the ability to remove and replace the trustee, and hold the trustee accountable. However, without reviewing all relevant documents and communications it is not possible to provide a better picture of what is going on.

If you do not know where to find an attorney, your local county bar association may provide an attorney referral service which provides a consultation at a small or no fee.

Best of luck.
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Contact & Map
Main Office
3478 Buskirk Avenue
Ste: 1000
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Telephone: (925) 278-1292
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