Sally Bergman

Sally Bergman

Law Office of Sally Bergman
  • Elder Law, Estate Planning
  • California
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Practice Areas
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
Additional Practice Area
  • Medi-Cal & VA Pension Benefit Planning
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
California
Education
Western New England University School of Law
LL.M. (2016) | Estate Planning & Elder Law
-
San Francisco Law School
J.D. (1982)
Professional Associations
Mission Hospice & Home Care
Board Member & Direct Care Volunteer
Current
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
President, Northern California Chapter
Current
ElderCounsel
Current
WealthCounsel
Current
Academy of VA Pension Planners
Current
California State Bar # 104209
Member
- Current
Websites & Blogs
Website
Legal Answers
124 Questions Answered

Q. what is ment by a "Bixby Trust"?
A: I've never heard of a "Bixby Trust" although there is a 1949 California Supreme Court case regarding spendthrift trusts in which the plaintiff's name was Bixby. See it here: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-supreme-court/1796531.html
Q. Can anyone advise me where I may be able to find a living trust,I was told it was lost,never had a chance to view it .
A: Thank you for your service. Also, my condolences for the loss of your father, as well as for the timing and manner that you learned of the news he had died. If your father had a trust and left no spouse, you should have received a notice and a copy of the trust from the person designated in the trust to take care of trust assets. Depending upon the type of trust he had, it's possible he could have died while married to a spouse other than your biological mother, and had a trust that would not have required notice to you. There are many variables here so hard to say one way or the other. If he had any real property in his name, for example, a house, you could search records of the County Recorder where the property is located. These records are available for anyone to search, partially online and more fully at your local recorder's office. Also, check records of unclaimed assets at https://ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx., although it may take 3-4 years before any assets show up there. I'm in Northern California where I'm familiar with SwordstoPlowshares.org as a wonderful nonprofit serving Vets who might assist with these issues. I also am a VA accredited attorney who assist Vets, no charge, with issues like these. Disappointed to try to access VA website for a local resource for you, only to see that web page not functioning for me, but more importantly, for you.
Q. Is an attorney ethically obligated to report suspected financial abuse of a disabled adult beneficiary by the trustee?
A: Attorneys are not mandated reporters of suspected financial elder abuse. As well, our ethics rules do not follow the American Bar Association ethics rules all other states follow that allow for more attorney action. Our rules on this subject can be found here: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/rules/Rule_1.6-Exec_Summary-Redline.pdf . While our ethics rules prohibit us from disclosing any confidential communications with our clients, if there is any action we can take to protect our client without violating the rules, we'll take that action.
Q. May a property which passes by intestate succession pass to the deceased spouse's trust, trustee?
A: If the spouse had retitled the property into the name of the spouse's revocable trust, the answer is a clear yes. If the spouse had not done so, it may still be possible to transfer the property into the trust, but you will need to file a court petition to accomplish that transfer. This would not be a do-it-yourself kind of project, but most attorneys who practice in this area of law are quite familiar with these petitions.
Q. How do I best give (or sell for a nominal amount) my house to one of my daughters?
A: I recommend you talk with an Elder Law Attorney as you raise many important issues very specific to elder law.
Q. irrevocable trust in place and mom died last month. What docs need filed relating to cost step up basis?
A: You need a qualified trust and estates attorney to review the trust documents as irrevocable trusts can be very complex. In addition, it may be that this is an old "AB" trust that prevents step up in basis, but may possibly be amended to get rid of the AB trust provisions and thus get a step up in basis. It's important that an attorney look at everything before you start trying to distribute any of the assets.
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: To add to what my colleagues have stated, if she were legally adopted by another person or couple, that adoption would have severed her rights to inherit from her biological parent(s). In addition, rules surrounding 401K's follow their own set of rules. If there was a designated beneficiary on those accounts, those designations take priority over other heirs. You should contact a probate attorney and go over details to determine exactly what your rights may be.
Q. Can POA be legally signed after a stroke affected half brain & paralyzed left hand for my son Great G-Mom to sign?
A: If the second POA was executed while the grandmother lacked mental capacity, it would not be valid and would not have invalidated the earlier POA. There's no question that your son needs to talk to an elder law attorney as soon as possible.
Q. Do you have to have a lawyer do a durable power of attorney in California
A: While you do not need an attorney to do a durable power of attorney in California there are circumstances in which consultation with an attorney is advisable. For example, if the person is in the early stages of any type of dementia or if they may need to qualify for long-term Medi-Cal benefits in the future, an elder law attorney would craft a power of attorney very specific to those situations that are rarely seen in any standard document, but which can be very critical.
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1900 S Norfolk St, Suite 350
San Mateo, CA 94403
USA
Telephone: (650) 242-9800
Fax: (888) 462-6850