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David L. Crockett

David L. Crockett

Attorney/CPA; Trust/ProbateLitigation, Estate Planning, Tax, Real Estate Law
  • Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate Law ...
  • California
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California Attorney David L. Crockett has been providing comprehensive legal representation for over 40 years in the areas of Trust and Estate Litigation, Trust and Probate Administration, and Estate Planning including preparation of Wills and Trusts. As these areas all overlap, his experience with the courts and litigation has given him unique insight in the preparation of wills and trusts. Mr. Crockett is dedicated to the careful preparation of documents to meet the specific needs of his clients.

As a Licensed Certified Public Accountant and Real Estate Broker, Mr. Crockett prepares all types of estate, trust and real estate documents including tax returns and accounting. These licenses allow planning and administration to run smoothly, giving clients an advantage in litigation. Additionally, Mr. Crockett has owned and managed rental properties, apartments and hotels, giving him insight and understanding into related business, real estate and financial matters.

Mr. Crockett has authored a number of articles on taxes, litigation, trusts and estates that are found under the "blogs" tab on his website. The various blog articles have been written to explain and educate clients on topics unique to this area of practice and are based upon his practical experiences and litigation situations that he has observed. Some blogs provide "how to" information and others discuss unusual situations that are not commonly known or written about in textbooks.

Mr. Crockett and his entire family are dedicated UCLA alumni. He is active with the UCLA Order of the Blue Shield, UCLA Bruin Professionals, and UCLA Chancellor's Society. Outside of work, Mr. Crockett enjoys skiing, mountain biking and traveling the world.

University of California - Los Angeles
J.D. (1969) | Law
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University of California - Berkeley
B.S. (1966) | Business Administration & Accounting
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Professional Experience
Crockett Law Corporation
- Current
Litigation Attorney/CPA, Partner
Reedy & Crockett, Attorneys
Associate Litigation Attorney
Overton, Lyman & Prince, Lawyers
Tax Senior
Arthur Anderson & Co, Certified Public Accountants
Certified Public Accountant
California Board of Accountancy
Top Attorney Trusts-10.0 rating
AV Preeminent Rating in Ability & Ethical Standards
Professional Associations
Orange County Bar Assn
Activities: Taxation Section, Real Estate Section, Trusts & Estates Section
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CA State Bar
Activities: Taxation Section, Real Estate Section, Trusts & Estates Section
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CA Association of Realtors & OC Realtors Assn
broker member
- Current
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American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants
- Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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U.S. Supreme Court
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United States District Court-California Central District
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United States Tax Court
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  • Free Consultation
    Free Initial Consultation
Practice Areas
Estate Planning
Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
Probate Administration, Probate Litigation, Will Contests
Real Estate Law
Commercial Real Estate, Condominiums, Easements, Eminent Domain, Homeowners Association, Land Use & Zoning, Mortgages, Neighbor Disputes, Residential Real Estate, Water Law
Tax Law
Business Taxes, Criminal Tax Litigation, Estate Tax Planning, Income Taxes, International Taxes, Payroll Taxes, Property Taxes, Sales Taxes, Tax Appeals, Tax Audits, Tax Planning
Additional Practice Area
  • Trust & Probate Court Litigation
  • English
Legal Answers
Q. What happens to a mortgaged property when homeowner dies intestate and nothing is filed in probate.
A: This is a usual type of situation and hopefully the heirs of the homeowner are on top of the situation. The mortgage and the obligation to make mortgage payments stays on the property after the death of the homeowner. If the payments are not made late charges will accrue and eventually the mortgage lender will foreclose. The house could be lost to foreclosure unless the legal deadlines and legal notices are tended to.

It doesn't matter if anyone is living in the property. The lender will foreclose in any situation if not paid. If there is a foreclosure sale then whomever is living on the property will eventually be evicted by whomever buys the property at the foreclosure auction.

Somebody needs to file a probate court proceeding in the county where the homeowner died. The point of probate is to put somebody in charge of the property and other accounts and assets of the deceased person. Ultimately, the assets are sold and/or distributed through the court probate process after all debts and taxes are paid. The distribution is to the heirs in percentages according to the laws of intestate succession found in the probate code.

Any interested party can file the probate and take charge of the situation. That is typically a surviving spouse or surviving children or parents.

David L. Crockett, attorney/CPA/broker, Martindale Hubble AV preeminent rating.
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Q. What should I do in CA if the executor has not filed probate within the 30 days required and has exceeded 3 months.
A: It is not unusual for executors to not be prompt in getting their act together to file. However, I don't blame your mom to want to get on with it. Since your mom is in the will, meaning she is an heir/beneficiary, she has a legal right to file a petition for probate in the county where the person making the will (the decedent) died. If she files, then her brother will also be forced to file a petition for probate or he will lose is preference to be appointed. It is not uncommon for there being competing petitions for probate in the same estate and then the Judge will sort it out and decided who is the one to become the executor.

I would recommend that your mom send one demand letter to her brother and keep a copy of the letter. The demand letter should point out the facts: name of decedent, date of death, the named executor, maybe the named alternate executor, and state that if he doesn't file a petition for probate in 10 days and notify of it in writing then she is going to file instead as an "interested party". If your mom has an attorney, then maybe have her attorney write it for more impact.

It is also a legitimate concern to get a probate going so assets don't disappear. The longer the delays, the more likely assets will disappear and/or money gets improperly spent. Good luck on this.

David L. Crockett, attorney/CPA/broker/Martindale Hubble AV preeminent rating.
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Q. What is the correct title for an 850 petition, and how much detail should I go into for the court?
A: Sorry to hear about your situation. The proper title would be " PETITION FOR DETERMINATION OF TRUST ASSETS

[P.C. §17200]". I just did one in the Orange County Superior court and it was successful. It could also be referred to as an 850 petition. Also, I was able to get an earlier court date than the court first assigned so that we could get a court order determining that the property was in the trust so that the trustee could sell it. Doing a petition such as this avoids probate but these petitions can involve various court appearances and filings.

You might save a lot of time having an experienced lawyer handle this. If the house in question is to be sold some lawyers would wait to get paid out of the house sale proceeds.

The petition has to state the proper facts in the proper legal terminology to get it through the court system. To answer your question, probably the more detail you put in it the better but also if it is not done correctly it could be denied and/or after up to a year of back and forth with the court the petition could be denied and then you would be having to do a probate which could take up to a year. Good luck with this.

David L Crockett, attorney/CPA/broker/Martindale Hubble preeminent rating.
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Websites & Blogs
David L. Crockett's Website Profile
Crockett Law Corporation Website
Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer Blog
Contact & Map
Crockett Law Corporation
901 Dove St
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Telephone: (949) 851-1771
Fax: (949) 851-1775
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: Closed (Today)
Sunday: Closed