Gary Whitehead & Associates

From The Desert to The Shores



Frequently Asked Questions

  • We are here to answer your questions.
  • You have a series of complications that requires expert guidance. You have a lot of assets at risk and any decisions you make no can and will affect you for years.

    The quoted estimate of fees from this attorney seems reasonable considering the problems you face. Frankly, I would not trust any paralegal, including myself to assist you in this. We just don’t have the legal ‘pull’ that an Attorney has. You need strong, reliable and experienced representation. Go with the attorney and listen to her guidance. It will cost you plenty, but it’s worth it!

  • You do have a problem here. First, your Mother thought she was protecting her children here by having a will and giving this house to the both of you. WRONG. She did you no favors here because she SHOULD HAVE formed a Revocable Living Trust, transferred the house into the trust and her children could have sold the house. Now you and your brother must ‘probate the Estate’, meaning that you both need to open a probate case and should probably seek Attorney counsel for this process. Probate fees are high so be prepared, but that is the only way you can eventually get title.

    Also, while it’s nice that your brother kept up the payments, but I suspect he’ll want a larger percentage of the house because of his financial commitment. I hope you can agree. You and your brother had better work efficiently with your chosen Attorney and if you think you can do it yourself, you are living in dreamland. It is that complicated and a Probate Judge will dismiss your action if proper procedures are not met.

    Further, any Paralegal that doesn’t know to direct someone to an Attorney, especially in complicated issues like Probate, should be prohibited from practicing. I am outraged that a Paralegal would not tell you emphatically that preparing deeds would do you no good because the one signature that is paramount on any deed is the transferor and that is your deceased Mother.

  • Small Claims Court is your choice here for claims $ 10,000.00 and less. The filing fee is low and can be waived under some circumstance. You will have you r day in Court within about six weeks from filing. If you have served your defendant and filed a proof of service, a Judge will hear your case. Be careful of ‘Judge-pro-temps’ as they are usually attorneys recruited unwillingly to hear cases, sometimes don’t know the law and have been known to take out their bitterness on life on the litigants. Only accept a REAL Judge, so to speak. If given the opportunity for your case to be heard from a ‘Judge-Pro-Temp’ decline, it is your right. Also, to help the Judge decide in your favor, have ALL you paperwork and proof in order. And, be sure to be honest and truthful. Judges hate liars and can spot a dishonest Plaintiff or Defendant immediately.

  • You can prepare your own divorce. You can access the forms on the County of San Diego website. You can prepare it, file it and complete the entire process for the cost of the $ 435.00 filing fee. That can be your only costs.

    If you have the time and intellect to weather the rigors of complicated documents, then do it. But, the Clerks at the Court will NOT tell you how to do it. They can not give you legal advice. They will hand you the documents or refer you to the Court website. There may be a divorce workshop offered somewhere.

    It really is an issue of time. Divorce petitions can be very tricky and when a Court Clerk reviews for accuracy and consistence in the documents, they only do their job and that is to reject and send back to the Petitioner for correction. I have seen simple uncontested divorce petitions take a year or longer because the parties were still trying to do everything themselves to save a few hundred dollars.

    So, can you do it yourself? Certainly. Try it and keep me informed as to the progress, just plan on making this a part time hobby and a great learning experience.

  • First, there is no such thing as extra points from Heaven for paying off your debts. The pearly gates there do not open any faster for those who never filed for bankruptcy. This is not something to be ashamed of.  I will say that I hev never and I do mean never had a client say to me “gee, I wish I had never filed for bankruptcy.” Most say “Why did I wait so long?”
    Second, while it’s too late now; you should have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER touched your retirement. It is exempt in bankruptcy, meaning it is not an asset considered by the Bankruptcy Court. You should have never borrowed from a secured asset to pay off an unsecured debt. Now you have penalties to pay on the retirement withdrawal, added housing expense and still more debt. Solution?
    It’s time to get real and file bankruptcy. You have few options, short of an inheritance or a lottery win. Assuming you qualify, Bankruptcy is you r way out of this mess. If you can’t keep your payment on the house current, it’s time to sell or rent out rooms to generate revenue. What you don’t want is a foreclosure that can have serious consequences if you try to qualify for a mortgage in the next ten years and more so than a Bankruptcy. Quit hiding from the truth. Gather your bills, run your credit report and get serious about bankruptcy. It’s time for a fresh start!

  • You need to stop listening to “everyone” and get the facts. Yes, tenants have rights and so do you. You have the right to expect rent from your property and hopefully you had a tight written legal agreement.
    The only logical reason for an eviction taking several months to evict is because the preparer was incompetent. Naturally a Judge has to dismiss incompetent filings and once again, CLERKS THAT TAKE YOUR FILINGS AND FEES CAN NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE!
    I recall a property owner once; let’s call him “Cheapskate Charlie.” He was so tight with a buck that he squeaked. He rented his half million dollar house to some people without doing a back ground, rental reference or credit check. Because they went to his same Church, he ‘believed’ them to be fine people.
    After three months of excuses, lies and stalls, ‘Cheapskate Charlie’ decided to evict. He found out that service was going to cost him several hundred dollars plus filing fees. Being the ‘do it yourselfer’ he did it himself. His case was dismissed, he prepared the documents again and that was dismissed. His tenants were experts at this and had 17, that’s right; 17 prior evictions on their record going back 8 years! The tenants knew the process.
    When I came into the scene, ‘Cheapskate Charlie’ had lost 8 months of rent. Eight months @ $ 2,200.00 a month = $ 17,600.00 gone forever. By trying to save a few hundred dollars, he lost thousands and STILL the tenants had the property hostage.
    I begin the process and I will say, the tenants really fought hard. They knew every step. The eviction took 2/1/2 months. Total loss to the owner? $ 23,100.00 to save how much? I will admit that I couldn’t help but remind ole Charley of his folly, so to answer this simple question with a long answer,  if the procedure is properly and accurately prepared, no matter how many children are living in the property; the tenant will get evicted and usually within six weeks – two months, at least that’s my track record