Trust and Estate Solutions
first PROBATE Loans

Hi, I'm Jonathan Brooks, the principal of First Probate. First Probate provides short term loans to fiduciaries - executors, administrators, trustees, conservators and guardians - who borrow on behalf of trusts and estates.  First Probate specializes in resolving challenging and difficult title problems associated with trusts and estates.    I have provided these services to the probate community for more than 20 years.


First Probate is happy to provide you with a complimentary property profile, recorded lien and last vesting deed, upon request (Send us an email). 


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Here's hoping we continue to stay in touch and that we may be of service to you!


Very truly yours,

Jonathan Brooks  



  'Court Ordered Liens for Fees'
How to use Probate Code Section 674
In my business of arranging loans to trusts and estates, I also purchase court ordered liens for attorney fees. In the past, I did not record Abstracts of Judgment (Order for Final Distribution and Attorney Fee); and, in some cases, a refinance or sale escrow missed both the recorded Order and Assignment of Lien; so I didn't get paid.
I offer the following suggestions to assist the Trust and Estate practitioners who attempt to secure their attorney fees:
Merely recording a certified copy of the Order for Attorney Fees is insufficient to create a lien on the subject real property. A lien is created by the action of recording an Abstract of Judgment, pursuant Civil Procedure Code Section 674 ("Section 674").
Section 674 has been amended numerous times, since it was enacted in 1872, and provides for the creation of a lien on real property owned by an estate, a ward or conservatee, or a trustee. Simply recording the Probate Court Order for Fees is insufficient to create the lien. The action of recording an Abstract of Judgment is the method of lien creation.
The Abstract of Judgment must be issued by the court and recorded in the County where the subject real property is located. The purpose of an Abstract of Judgment is to create a public record and create a lien.
Many Superior Court Abstract Clerks have never issued an Abstract of Judgment for a Probate Court Order and are resistant/reluctant to do so. Some of the creative ways I have used to have the Abstract issued, include:  
  • In the petition for fees, pray the court to order the Abstract Clerk to issue an Abstract of Judgment
  • If you do not have an order requiring the Abstract Clerk to issue an Abstract of Judgment, an attorney service with familiarity with the court clerks may be your best bet for the Abstract issuance
  • Do not let escrow, title, or any other entity (or person) record the Order for Fees (usually an Order for Final Distribution), as another lien or mortgage may sneak in at a higher priority
  • Since, Section 674 states: "A recorded Amendment to Abstract of Judgment shall have priority as of the date of recordation of the original abstract of judgment . . ."; I recommend that the practitioner record the certified copy of the Order for Fees concurrently with the Abstract of Judgment to reserve the attorney fee priority (be sure the Order is recorded first, then the Abstract)

Revocable and Irrevocable   
Trust Title Requirements   
I arrange loans for trusts and estates; and, have done so for decades. I would like to share with you what I've learned about Title Companies providing title insurance involving transactions involving Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts:
The title company will require a notarized Certification of Trust, see Probate Code Section 18100.5   ("Section 18100.5") states in part: "(a) The trustee may present a certification of trust to any person in lieu of providing a copy of the trust instrument to establish the existence or terms of the trust."
  • When obtaining a title report, submit a Statement of Information with the Settlors/Trustors date of birth, social security number and date of death, to assist the title company in their search for liens on the property
  • Title companies frequently require a copy of the trust document, in addition to the certification of trust
  • Death Certificates usually are required for deceased Settlors/Trustors/Trustees
  • Should the probate court appoint a trustee, a certified copy of an Order Appointing a Trustee/Successor Trustee is mandatory
  • Should the probate court retain control over the trust, a certified copy of an Order to Sell or Order to Borrow Money is mandatory

PFAC Marketing Committee Update

The Professional Fiduciary Association of California has appointed me as chair of the Professional Fiduciary Association of California 2015-2016 marketing committee.
I am happy to report that attendee and sponsorship activity is up from previous years; and I am continuing to lead a year-long effort focusing on the PFAC annual conference, working to increase awareness of the organization, and helping to  build non-member conference participation.
To receive 2016 PFAC Conference news via email, click here .

Have Questions?
We're happy to help answer any questions you have.

(818) 788-2308