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James Edward Berge

James Edward Berge

Berge & Berge LLP
  • Elder Law, Estate Planning
  • California
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media
Golden Gate University School of Law
LL.M. | Taxation
Honors: Cum Laude
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Santa Clara University School of Law
J.D. (1986)
Honors: Cum Laude
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Santa Clara University
B.S. (1981) | Accounting
Honors: Magna Cum Laude Alpha Sigma Nu
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Professional Experience
Estate Planning Attorney
Berge & Berge LLP
- Current
Articles & Publications
Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting and Administration
University of California Continuing Education of the Bar
Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
Elijah Watt Sells Award
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Top 100 Score in the Nation on May 1981 Uniform CPA Exam
Professional Associations
California State Bar  # 126568
- Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Practice Areas
    Elder Law
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
Legal Answers
Q. My uncle died in 2019, I provided notice a week after he died. He left property to me in his trust.
A: Obviously, as the legal owner of the property, you can sell it or give it away, but if your uncle can prove by clear and convincing evidence that you weren't entitled to the property, then you can be held accountable for the sale proceeds or the fair market value of the gift, so sell or gift at your own peril. Whoever buys the property from you would likely be considered an innocent party, also known as a bona fide purchaser (for value), and would protected. Anyone who receives a gift from you could be required to give up that property if your uncle is able to prove a superior title.
Q. My uncle left me property in his rust, I transferred that property into my name. Now relatives are taking me to probate
A: More than likely, yes. Did you provide the contestants with notice of the trust as required by California Probate Code section 16061.7 when your uncle died? If not, there’s nothing to prevent the lawsuit from continuing until it’s resolved. There are many reasons why a trust may be invalid, including fraud, duress, mistake of fact or law, undue influence, or lack of capacity. These all involve questions of fact and sometimes the law. That’s what the court system is for. If you haven’t already, I would suggest you get a good probate attorney who can represent you.
Q. Probate for unclaimed property?
A: You don’t need a probate for a small estate (under $166,250). Use a small estate affidavit and send the company a copy of the statute which authorizes the collection procedure (California Probate Code section 13100). Good luck!
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1101 S Winchester Blvd Ste I-208
San Jose, CA 95128
Telephone: (408) 985-9918
Fax: (408) 985-9945