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My husband and I were/are legal residents of the State of…

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My husband and I...

My husband and I were/are legal residents of the State of California. As non-residents of France, we owned, together, a house in France. When my husband died, I became, automatically the owner of both his assets and liabilities. As we had no children or inheritors, and as he died without a will, everything passed to me automatically under California Community Property laws.

Lawyer's Assistant: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

The state of California, USA

Lawyer's Assistant: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?

An official, certified Certificate of Death

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes, I am attempting to sell my property in France and am being told by the notaire that I must put him in touch with/and/or supply proof of settlement of the so-called "estate" in California. There is no such thing, and in my case, it was not required. Is there any charge for this service?

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
11/21/2017
Lawyer: P. Simmons, Attorney replied 5 months ago
P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36,601
Experience: 16 yrs. of trial experience
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Hi, My name is***** am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

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Lawyer: P. Simmons, Attorney replied 5 months ago

I am sorry for this dilemma. But not sure I understand your specific question. Were you in CA when your spouse passed?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
This was in October of 2009. Now, I am trying to sell my house in France. The deed states that my huband and I are owners of the house. I have been asked by the notaire handling the sale in France to provide documentation from a California lawyer that the "estate" has been settled. This is not possible, as California is a community property state, and we had no children or heirs, so the "estate" passed automatically to me upon notification of death by submitting the certified Death Certificate. So far, this explanation has not been acceptable to the notary in France, and I am attempting to determine what other "proofs" might be acceptable.
Lawyer: P. Simmons, Attorney replied 5 months ago

I think you are confused or mistaken when you say

as California is a community property state, and we had no children or heirs, so the "estate" passed automatically to me upon notification of death by submitting the certified Death Certificate.

What do you mean...are you claiming that just because you were in CA that there is no probate possible for the property?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I am saying that there was no probate necessary. There was no will, and the "estate" did not require probate. As an aside, I will tell you that I contacted a probate lawyer, who gave me a list of all the documents she wished to review. I then had a sit-down meeting with her after she had reviewed all the documents, and she advised me it was not necessary to probate the estate. I double-checked this opinion.
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 5 months ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,389
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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I am going to have to disagree with whoever you spoke with in CA. While the right to inherit may have passed to you, not having any children doesn't automatically mean there is no probate required. For example, if there were creditors when he passed away then they have to be paid which usually means an estate must be opened so that all creditors, not just the ones you know about, will have a chance to receive notice and file a claim.

In addition, to pass title to your husband's share of community property in a different location (ex. another state and apparently France) there has to be some form of probate opened and an order entered to pass his share of any real property from the estate (which was created at the time of his death) to you as his heir. Otherwise, you have a "break in the chain of title" which means the house can't be financed).

Doing a probate, and there are several kinds, will also provide you with the order you need for France.

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