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John B. Palley

John B. Palley

Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
  • Probate, Estate Planning
  • California
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I have been practicing estate and probate law since 1994. My practice is 100% focused on California probate court cases only. I pride myself on efficiency and answering my client's questions within minutes rather than days. I am a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. I have highest ratings on numerous websites including Martindale Hubbell "AV" rated, AVVO "10.0" rated, and am a "Superlawyer." I also am a past Sacramento Bee estate and probate "expert." I speak on estate and probate law to professional groups and have been quoted in numerous articles on the subject. I am married and actively involved in my kids sports and activities in Roseville, CA.

Practice Areas
  • Probate
  • Estate Planning
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
    In select cases.
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    I offer both flat fee and hourly fee arrangements in different cases.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Professional Experience
Meissner, Joseph & Palley, Inc.
- Current
John B. Palley, Attorney at Law
McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
J.D. (1994) | Legal Studies
California State University at Sonoma
B.A. (1991) | Major: International Business; Semester in London 1989
Honors: Deans List
Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers of Northern California
Super Lawyers selects approximately the top 5% of attorneys for standing out in their field.
10.0 Rated
AVVO has become an industry leader and their 10.0 rating is the highest offered among attorneys.
AV Rated
Martindale Hubbell
Martindale Hubbell has been rating lawyers for about 100 years and the "AV" designation is their highest.
Professional Associations
Rotary Club of Roseville
- Current
Activities: The Rotary Club of Roseville has been awarded as being an international leader in the Rotary world and is active locally and internationally to make our world a better place.
Sacramento Estate Planning Council
- Current
Activities: The Sacramento Estate Planning Council is one of the oldest and most esteemed, of it's type, in the area.
California State Bar # 173469
- Current
California State Bar Trusts and Estates Section
- Current
Activities: A leader in legislative reform and education in the areas of trust and estate law in California.
Articles & Publications
Ask an Expert
Sacramento Bee
Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law
State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Websites & Blogs
My Main Website
My Law Firm's Home Page
My Blog
Legal Answers
74 Questions Answered

Q. Probate? What do I need to do to in Alameda Co. to process my Mother's estate of less than $1000?
A: I am sorry for your loss. 40 days, or more, after death you can do a small estate affidavit with the bank (some banks have their own forms so ask them) and also, 40 days after death, you can do the DMV "transfer without probate" form. Best of luck. -John
Q. My sibling and I were in escrow on our parents home when my brother passed away.
A: Was the property still in parents name or in kids names? If in parents names then sell in their probate. If in kids names then yes probate deceased child’s estate. If under $150k small estate options available. I do probate throughout California if you wish to discuss. My practice is 100% probate court work only.
Q. If you are the legal trustee to an estate in a will must the inheritance first go through probate?
A: If the house is not properly deeded into a trust then yes some type of probate court action will be required. If the property is worth under $150k you can utilize quicker procedures but if the property is worth more than $150k in value (no account for mortgage) then a full probate is required. You can sell the property during probate though. I would definitely talk to an experienced probate attorney ASAP to get the process started. I do probate court work throughout California and that is the only type of cases I take. -John
Q. my father died intestate and there are five children no spouse and the assets are under $150,000. need california code §
A: The laws of intestacy of California (meaning for people dying without a will) start at Probate Code 6400 with 6402 saying assets go to "issue" (or kids). The other code I would point to is California Probate Code 13100 and the following sections which talk about the other $150k requirements. Good luck.
Q. In a probate case in CA where there is not a will when does the Inventory and Appraisal have to be done?
A: Yes, pursuant to Probate Code 8800 the inventory should be filed within four months. Since you have an attorney you should talk to them about what options you have for taking advantage of this error by your sister. If your attorney is not as responsive as you think they should be then perhaps you should find a new attorney. Good luck. -John
Q. My mom died and resided in California. She has an account in Ohio I need to close. Total assets 25,000. Probate?
A: I would start with a California small estate affidavit. That is technically the correct thing to do and most banks (regardless of what state they are in) will honor that. Just google "California small estate affidavit form" and you'll find a free form to use. If the bank rejects that (and some do) then you'll need to resort to Ohio laws and they probably have a similar small estate procedure and almost certainly $25k will be a small estate there though I don't know their laws so that is a guess. Good luck! -John
Q. Property in probate can everyone sign their right to one person if they want nothing to do with the property?
A: This can be done by assignment in most cases and generally is not a problem at all. There can, theoretically, be gift tax consequences so one should always talk to a lawyer to confirm that is not a problem. Also, in some cases a disclaimer will work which likely does not have tax consequences but might have other ramifications.
Q. Is the former trustee's attorney obligated to modify an order that contains mistakes?
A: This is unfortunate but it's probably cheaper to file for an amended order than it is to try to compel the other attorney to do it. I would just have the current trustee's attorney get it done. Beyond that, however, I would try multiple banks first. Usually there is a bank that will be friendly. I wouldn't explain the whole back story but rather just hand over the order and the check and explain a new trust account is needed. Good luck.
Q. Im tired of trying to do this probate! I give up Can somebody help please Its out of LA Cali dept 11
A: I’d like to discuss your case to see if I can help. 888-920-5983
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Contact & Map
South Placer Office
2240 Douglas Blvd.
Suite 150
Roseville, CA 95661
Sacramento Office
1555 River Park Dr
Suite 108
Sacramento, CA 95815
Toll-Free: (888) 920-5983
Telephone: (916) 920-5983
Fax: (916) 920-9379