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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Question Distribution of Estate Assets, Estate Lawyer Wants "Receipt on Distribution" and SSN

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: California

    Problem: California estate was unable to sell unimproved parcel of real estate, not worth much at all, so now it is being distributed to heirs, a number of whom are out of state, as "undivided interest." Liquid proceeds have already been distributed. The lawyer has sent a document called "Receipt on Distribution" which he wants heirs to sign and return as a kind of "receipt" for the liquid proceeds distribution AND the "undivided interest" in the unimproved land parcel. No actual property deed or official government document proving ownership of the land parcel is being given to heirs, however - nothing beyond the few statements in a few of the estate attorney's letters so far. I have checked some online info, though, and apparently the new heirs have been recorded with some county office for this piece of property.

    Question: what are the ramifications of refusing to sign and return this "Receipt on Distribution"? What if you don't want your fractional undivided interest in this land parcel, since it seems like much more trouble than it's worth (property taxes, potential problems, etc.)? Can you simply reply accordingly to the estate attorney repudiating your interest in it, or is it already a done deal if your name is recorded for it in a county office? I've been told that just because you are willed something doesn't mean you have to accept it. Is a quitclaim deed required already now, or would that only be required if you actually sign and return this "Receipt on Distribution," in effect accepting the "undivided interest" in the land parcel?

    Problem #2: although it's already been a very long probate and is more or less over, only now the estate attorney has requested the heirs' social security numbers, stating the estate cpa "requires" it in order to complete the income tax returns for the estate. Although there would not be any actual federal inheritance/estate tax filing requirement, apparently the estate itself had income since the liquid portion had to be kept in an interest bearing account for a long time.

    Question: what are the ramifications of refusing to send your social security # if you don't feel like doing that? Is there any downside? Can't the CPA in California just file the income tax returns with whatever information about the heirs he/she has without it mattering or being of any consequence to you personally as one of the heirs if you merely don't send your ssn?

    I've spoken to some local attorneys in my own state (not California) in a legal plan I'm part of. Unfortunately they have almost nothing to say really, and basically say that since they are not licensed in California they can't give any definitive answers. Thanks in advance if anyone can shed light on these things.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Distribution of Estate Assets, Estate Lawyer Wants "Receipt on Distribution" and

    If you receive your distribution, you have it.

    If you refuse to provide your SSN such that the attorney can complete estate documents, and it is in fact necessary to the completion of those documents, you will likely delay the resolution of the estate and may find that the court won't release your share to you until you provide the information necessary to close the estate.

    You should continue with your plan to discuss the facts and details of this case with a lawyer, as we don't have enough facts to give you any certainty.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Distribution of Estate Assets, Estate Lawyer Wants "Receipt on Distribution" and

    Thanks for your reply. Well, the cash portion was already sent to the heirs and the check cleared. The lawyer, however, wants us to return this "receipt" for both the money and the fractional "undivided" share of the real property, even though the only thing that has ever been sent and "received" with regard to the latter is a few statements in a few letters. It's as if I asked you to give me a receipt acknowledging that you received a refrigerator from me when all you have ever received is a few statements I made in a few letters saying that you are to receive a refrigerator. He never mentioned any information I could find online either, but it's only on my own initiative that I searched and found some evidence that the heirs names have been added in association with this real property for some record involving a country assessor's office. Unfortunately, however, it looks like the lawyers I was able to talk to in my own state have nothing more to add, and my "consultations" with them are done. As for the ssn, I'm also just not aware of any reason why I need or should send it if I don't want to, apart any inconvenience that may pose for a CPA hired by the estate in filling out a few income tax returns. Well, thanks again, and of course if any one has any more to say much appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Distribution of Estate Assets, Estate Lawyer Wants "Receipt on Distribution" and

    P.S. I recently received a follow-up letter from the CA estate attorney. He refers to the social security # as "required for the Estate's income tax returns listing the distributions made from the Estate"; I guess that means "distributions" of the income the estate itself earned, not the overall "estate distributions" we received consisting of a single check for the principal-plus-share-of-any-income-earned. As mentioned above, there would not be any federal inheritance/estate tax liability (below the exemption amount). He also reiterates that the signed "Receipt on Distribution" he has requested from us serves in "acknowledging receipt of the court ordered distribution of cash [...] and an undivided interest in real property [...]"; however, as also mentioned above, the only thing we have really received for the real property are a few statements in a few letters from him, and I would rather not have anything to do with this real property now or do anything that would legally constitute "accepting" it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Distribution of Estate Assets, Estate Lawyer Wants "Receipt on Distribution" and

    Quote Quoting abrahamlingkon
    View Post
    I am happy for reading this thread .Want to share that Are you relocating OR looking for a new apartment or home?!
    Congratulations!! You have come to the right place! Allow us to take it from here and be 'Your Apartment Guy
    LOL. No plans yet, may never happen at all, and certainly not any time soon, though I have thought about CA or somewhere near CA for perhaps the future. But this is an odd funny place to be posting spam like this, LOL. Cheers, John_

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