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John B. Palley

John B. Palley

Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
  • Probate, Estate Planning
  • California
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Rating: 10 Justia Lawyer Rating - 10 out of 10
There are very few attorneys I have met that are as good as John is in Probate and Estate Planning. He knows his trade and takes care of his clients.
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I have been practicing estate and probate law since 1994. My practice is 100% focused on California probate court cases only. I pride myself on efficiency and answering my client's questions within minutes rather than days. I am a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. I have highest ratings on numerous websites including Martindale Hubbell "AV" rated, AVVO "10.0" rated, and am a "Superlawyer." I also am a past Sacramento Bee estate and probate "expert." I speak on estate and probate law to professional groups and have been quoted in numerous articles on the subject. I am married and actively involved in my kids sports and activities in Roseville, CA.

Practice Areas
  • Probate
  • Estate Planning
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
    In select cases.
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    I offer both flat fee and hourly fee arrangements in different cases.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Professional Experience
Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
- Current
John B. Palley, Attorney at Law
McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
J.D. (1994) | Legal Studies
California State University at Sonoma
B.A. (1991) | Major: International Business; Semester in London 1989
Honors: Deans List
Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers of Northern California
Super Lawyers selects approximately the top 5% of attorneys for standing out in their field.
10.0 Rated
AVVO has become an industry leader and their 10.0 rating is the highest offered among attorneys.
AV Rated
Martindale Hubbell
Martindale Hubbell has been rating lawyers for about 100 years and the "AV" designation is their highest.
Professional Associations
Rotary Club of Roseville
- Current
Activities: The Rotary Club of Roseville has been awarded as being an international leader in the Rotary world and is active locally and internationally to make our world a better place.
Sacramento Estate Planning Council
- Current
Activities: The Sacramento Estate Planning Council is one of the oldest and most esteemed, of it's type, in the area.
California State Bar # 173469
- Current
California State Bar Trusts and Estates Section
- Current
Activities: A leader in legislative reform and education in the areas of trust and estate law in California.
Articles & Publications
Ask an Expert
Sacramento Bee
Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Websites & Blogs
My Main Website
My Law Firm's Home Page
My Blog
Legal Answers
68 Questions Answered

Q. Property in probate can everyone sign their right to one person if they want nothing to do with the property?
A: This can be done by assignment in most cases and generally is not a problem at all. There can, theoretically, be gift tax consequences so one should always talk to a lawyer to confirm that is not a problem. Also, in some cases a disclaimer will work which likely does not have tax consequences but might have other ramifications.
Q. Is the former trustee's attorney obligated to modify an order that contains mistakes?
A: This is unfortunate but it's probably cheaper to file for an amended order than it is to try to compel the other attorney to do it. I would just have the current trustee's attorney get it done. Beyond that, however, I would try multiple banks first. Usually there is a bank that will be friendly. I wouldn't explain the whole back story but rather just hand over the order and the check and explain a new trust account is needed. Good luck.
Q. Im tired of trying to do this probate! I give up Can somebody help please Its out of LA Cali dept 11
A: I’d like to discuss your case to see if I can help. 888-920-5983
Q. my brother passed away with three or 4 vehicles and a bank account. how can I access this to pay for funeral expenses?
A: I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like a small estate case (under $150,000) and thus utilizing small estate affidavits is best. Unfortunately you don't get access to the bank or cars until 40 days after death. This all assumes you are not named as beneficiary/POD and/or co/joint owner on the bank accounts and/or cars and that he lived in California. The small estate limits and procedures are different in other states. Assuming you are next of kin I would sign the small estate affidavit 40 days after death, in front of a notary, and take to the bank. Some big banks have their own small estate forms so you might ask them. I have a link to a free small estate affidavit on my website at and for the DMV they have a "transfer without probate" form on their website. Again, this is to be done 40 days after death by the next of kin assuming he had no will. I do hope this helps. Good luck. -John
Q. Mom's home appraised 7 mo. Prior to her passing. Since appraisal 5 homes have sold in immediate area sold for far more.
A: If In probate a date of death appraisal by the probate referee is required. If the case is not in probate a date of death appraisal is highly recommended but in certain cases can be avoided. Beyond that there are a lot of issues that an attorney will advise the executor or trustee on. I would definitely work with a highly experienced probate attorney so you know all your options.
Q. We filed a petition already. Judge continued it due to a few problems. Will named 2 executors, both died years ago.
A: Is there a 3rd named in the will? If not, I would think signing a declaration that the other two have died should be sufficient. Shouldn't need to prove with death certificates I wouldn't think. Your petition should then be a petition for probate of a will with will annexed, seeking appointment of an Administrator, I believe. Might need to hire an experienced probate attorney to clean everything up and keep it on track. Good luck. -John
Q. My mother passed she has multiple bank accounts but only one is joint account with my father.
A: Mr gaffney gave a good overview of cp and sp. I agree with him. The next question is if the total of the accounts just in his name is more or less than $150,000. For estates worth $150k and less there are small estate affidavit procedures that can be done. Over $150k then a full probate is required.
Q. Im going thru probate now (no will) and just remembered the property owned in Mexico. What to do about that?
A: I would contact an attorney in Mexico to determine what they will need. Being that there is no will they may not need anything from the California probate. I am not sure. Good luck. -John
Q. My husband of six years passed. Are my step-children entitled to any part of the home he owns?
A: I would say it depends on when and how it was acquired. The oral agreement probably means nothing. Your name not being on title is a presumption that it is your husbands separate property but not the answer. Was it acquired before or during marriage? Was the down payment from his money from work or from other source like a gift or from before marriage? Were mortgage payments from his work or from other source? Was there a pre nuptial or post nuptial agreement? All of these factors are considered to determine if it is separate or community property. If community property you could get 100% of the house. If separate property you might only get 1/3rd of the house. Or maybe it’s a combination of community and separate in which case you’d get somewhere between 1/3 and 100%. I would definitely talk to an experienced probate attorney to see what is best here. A spousal property petition might work which would be great for you.
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Contact & Map
South Placer Office
2240 Douglas Blvd.
Suite 150
Roseville, CA 95661
Sacramento Office
1555 River Park Dr
Suite 108
Sacramento, CA 95815
Toll-Free: (888) 920-5983
Telephone: (916) 920-5983
Fax: (916) 920-9379