Sally Bergman

Sally Bergman

Law Office of Sally Bergman
  • Elder Law, Estate Planning
  • California
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial Media
Practice Areas
  • Elder Law

  • Estate Planning

    Guardianship & Conservatorship, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills

Additional Practice Area
  • Medi-Cal & VA Pension Benefit Planning
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Placeholder image for jurisdictions.
Western New England University School of Law
LL.M. (2016) | Estate Planning & Elder Law
Placeholder image for education.
San Francisco Law School
J.D. (1982)
Placeholder image for education.
Professional Associations
Mission Hospice & Home Care
Board Member & Direct Care Volunteer
Placeholder image for professional associations.
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
President, Northern California Chapter
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Academy of VA Pension Planners
Placeholder image for professional associations.
California State Bar  # 104209
- Current
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
137 Questions Answered

Q. In 1996 mom married a man in prison for life. They lost touch yrs ago. She now wishes to divorce him,as she has the
A: Your question crosses over into both family law and estate planning. Your mother's interest in that property would be her own separate property that she is typically allowed to pass to anyone she chooses. There are occasions, however, when the other spouse may gain a community property interest in the property. That can occur when community property funds pay all or part of the maintenance, taxes, etc. Your mother should ASAP talk to an estate planning attorney or elder law attorney who can evaluate these issues and who would likely refer her to a family law attorney to pursue a divorce. This could all get very messy if it is not handled by professionals who know what they're doing.
Q. If my father left me money in his trust, can the trustee change that trust when he passes away
A: While it's possible the trustee may have the power to control the circumstances, timing, and amount of any trust distributions, it's not likely the trustee can change the provisions of the trust. There are times, for example, when a beneficiary may have a substance abuse issue. In those situations, the trust likely requires the beneficiary to prove they are clean and/or sober for a certain period of time before the trustee is allowed to make a distribution. There are a multitide of possibilities here, but bottom line is, an attorney needs to review the trust. Once your father passes away, the trustee within 60 days is required to send you a notice of the trust as well as either enclosing a copy of the trust or letting you know you have a right to request a copy of it.
Q. If I inherited my father's house after he passes, and I sell it, do I get hit with capital gains tax?
A: When your mother passed two years ago, the property received a "step-up" in basis to market value at that time. When your father dies, the property will get a second step-up in basis to the then market value. This assumes the property was community property and that the trust did not require assets to be split at the time of the death of your mother. If there is any doubt about that, your father should have an attorney review the document now as there are ways to fix it if it is not. Should you decide to keep the house after your father passes, it should not be reassessed. This means you would continue paying the same property taxes your parents were paying since Proposition 13 came into being.
View More Answers
Contact & Map
1900 S Norfolk St, Suite 350
San Mateo, CA 94403
Telephone: (650) 242-9800
Fax: (888) 462-6850