Hi,My mother died two months ago in the County of Orange in California. She had a Revocable Trust. The only asset left in her estate was a Life Insurance Policy worth $5,500 which I want to use to pay for her burial costs.The Life Insurance company said although I was the Executor, Trustee, and Beneficiary of not only the Trust, but the Life Insurance Policy, they could not make the check payable to me because my mother lived past the age of 100. They issued the check payable to my mother's estate good for 90 days.I went to the bank to open an Estate account and the Bank told me that I needed a Letter of Probate, and a Letter of Testimony to open the Estate account even though my mother had a Revocable Living Trust. The Bank said I still needed to go to Court to get a Letter to verify that I do not have to go through Probate. I called the Clerk of Court in Orange County and they told me that I did not have to get any Letter from the Court. They told me that all I needed was to fill out and get notarized a Transfer of Small Estates Without Probate form and present that to the Bank. After I began filling out the form, I noticed on number 6 of the form that it said "Decedent died without a will", so of course I could not fill out the form because she had a trust. And the Bank would not accept this form either.I am at my wits end going back and forth with different stories from the Bank and the Court. With everyone telling me to get a Lawyer. If I could afford a Lawyer, then obviously I would so I would not have to deal with all the run around.Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): California
Self-Help through the Courts
This is the second time in a week that I have had to suggest to someone that they might have to ignore the fact that their ancestor actually had a (meaningless under the circumstances) will, check the appropriate paragraph, get their money and go on with their life. The alternate course of literal compliance will put you into a very difficult and expensive legal proceeding. I hope this is clarification of what you might need to do.
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Regarding "...ancestor actually had a (meaningless under the circumstances) will, check the appropriate paragraph, get their money and go on with their life." Thank you for your quick response, I am confused to what you mean by the above statement. Additionally, It is not a will that she had but a Revocable Living Trust.
Then if she had no will, and the form says: ""Decedent died without a will". You check that she died without a will. The trust has no bearing on that question, or in that context. "Without a will", means exactly that.
She had a Will as well. I was not asking how to fill out the Transfer of Small Estates Without Probate Form. I was just giving background of why I cannot use that form as previously told to me.
The revocable trust has nothing to do with your situation. Revocable Trusts and Wills are apples and peaches. You can completely disregard the trust because it was not the Beneficiary of the insurance. What I'm pointing out here is that when you say there is a will, the bank requires you to go through an attorney, probate the will in court, get yourself appointed as the executor, which will give you the "Letters Testamentary" which the guy at the bank said you need. And this is all because you say that there is a will. There is no simple small estate form for people who die with wills. There is one however, for people who don't have wills. Are you getting the picture now? As an aside, I think that the insurance company did you a real disservice by issuing the check to her estate instead of to you as the named beneficiary. Let me know if you are still having problems understanding the message here.
I was able to get information from a physical lawyer, and I'm sorry but your answer was not sufficient. I was able to complete a Small Estate Administration Affidavit, and I do not have to go through probate either. Reason being because it is a Revocable Trust.
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