When you are planning for your estate, the people who come to mind are likely your relatives, and perhaps a charity that is dear to your heart. However, you may not have any close relatives, or at least not anyone you feel close to. What can you do then? Does California force you to leave your estate to blood relatives?
State Laws in Regard to Naming Beneficiaries
This question comes up because of certain European nations which have laws forcing heirship. In the US, such laws don’t exist on the federal level, and California has not done much to impose its own will on whom you may choose to name as an heir. There is only one primary exception.
When a couple holds an asset as a community property (e.g., you each own 50% of your home), you can only dictate who receives your portion of the asset, not the entire asset.
Can I Make My Beneficiary a Random Person?
Sure. While this is a rather unorthodox way to pass on your estate, you could technically look in the phone book and select names at random to place in your will. The main issue will come when your executor is trying to get in touch with these individuals. They may pass away before you, or they may have moved without you knowing, or they could potentially refuse to speak with the executor thinking the call is some kind of scam.
California Estate Planning Law Experts
Whether you want to pass on your inheritance to your closest blood relative, a charity, or even just a good friend, Petrov Law Firm can help. Contact our estate planning attorneys today at 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation.Read More
Mental illness is increasingly common in the world today. If a relative has an illness, it doesn’t make you love them any less or want to take care of them any less. Therefore, your estate plan needs to be able to help you provide the support you want your loved one to have while compensating for the fact that he or she may not be able to manage the money alone. Here are a few tips to help guide you.
- A loyal and compassionate trustee. By appointing the right trustee over any trust that you leave to your loved one, you can ensure that the funds will be used for your loved one at the right times and in the proper amount.
- Controlling what funds can be dispensed for. Perhaps your loved one doesn’t need someone to care for him or her, but is still concerned about things like impulse spending or squandering the inheritance in other ways? Structuring the inheritance so that funds are only released for certain types of expenses is a good way to protect your loved one.
- Covering voluntary treatment costs. You can structure the trust so that your loved one receives a dispensation when he or she seeks medical care relating to the condition. This may move your loved one to see the high value of proper treatment and may provide the funds necessary to get the right care without the guilt of how expensive medical treatment can be in the US.
Discretionary Trusts and Other Estate Planning Methods in California
At Petrov Law Firm in San Diego, our estate planning attorneys will be happy to help you plan for the future needs of your loved ones. To see what types of estate planning are best for your family, contact us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Usually, people are encouraged not to waste their time worrying about things that may never happen, but when you are working on an estate plan, you do have to think about certain scenarios that may be unlikely but that would seriously affect your plans. Here are three “what ifs” that your estate plan should account for.
- What if there is a family conflict after I die? A big inheritance can bring out the worst, even in families that are very close-knit. The best way to protect your loved ones is to be very explicit about who gets what. You may even choose a non-family member as your executor.
- What if my mate and I die together? If a tragedy should occur such as an accident or a disaster, this is a possible scenario. Plan ahead by outlining succession in your estate plan and be certain to include plans for the care of minor children should they lose both parents at once.
- What if I die in another country? If you regularly travel or live in another country for part of the year, be sure that dying in another country will not affect your estate plan. You may need the assistance of a lawyer from the country you spend a lot of time in along with your local estate planning attorney.
Crossing the T’s and Dotting the I’s in California
For California estate planning, contact the attorneys at Petrov Law Firm. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers can help you to plan ahead for all of the “what ifs” so that you can have the peace of mind you deserve. Call 619-344-0360 to get started today.Read More
You cannot just assume that the right people will benefit from your assets when you pass on. Estate planning is required in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of thinking they can do nothing and that their mate and children will automatically get everything. Here’s the issue with that mentality:
The traditional family structure is becoming less common in the US.
If you and your mate have only ever been married to each other and all of your kids are naturally born to the two of you, you may actually be correct in thinking that your loved ones will inherit everything. But how many families are like that?
If you are raising grandkids, have children from multiple spouses, have adopted children, or have been married more than once, you may have no idea what the line of succession will be for your family. On top of that, family members may have different ideas as to how to care for you medically if you become incapacitated later in life. There can also be fights over funeral arrangements.
Lovingly Caring for the Future of Your Family
The loving way to care for the future of your family is to have an estate plan in place. Petrov Law Firm is your source for estate planning attorneys in southern California. Get in touch with our San Diego and Chula Vista lawyers today by calling 619-344-0360. We can help you plan for your future.Read More
Estate planning is about more than leaving money to your heirs. This is an opportunity to create or pass on a real family legacy. Here are a few ways to ensure that your name will live on long after you are gone.
- Trusts – You can create trusts that are dispensed when certain conditions are met. For example, you can create an education trust so that your grand kids can attend the university of their choice. You can even create trusts that provide incentives to reach goals, such as a trust that becomes available to your niece when she opens the new business she has been talking about venturing into. Knowing that the capital is there to get the business off the ground may be just what she needs to decide to give it a try.
- Letters and Old Photographs – While many modern personal documents and photos all exist in the cloud and are easy to pass on, your family may still have a treasure trove of old letters and printed photos. From pictures of your parents and grandparents to love letters that passed between relatives back in the 19th century, you can leave a wealth of family history to the next generation.
- Video and Audio Files – Your knowledge and experience can prove beneficial to future generations. But what if you are worried that the modern generation won’t care about your handwritten or typed letters? Why not try creating digital recordings of your advice or, better yet, video recordings. These can be preserved for years to come, allowing generations of the family to benefit and to see your face and hear your voice even if they never got to meet you in person.
Let Us Help You Establish Your Family Legacy
At Petrov Law Firm, we specialize in estate planning and can help you to leave behind a legacy for future generations. To learn more, contact us today at 619-344-0360. We look forward to helping you ensure that your future is well taken care of.Read More
If you and your mate are planning for the future, you have some options that are unique to couples and that may offer some tax benefits to the survivor. Here are a few things you should know about estate planning for married couples.
- You can use a Survivor’s Trust if you want to leave everything to your mate. This is the simplest way to leave your estate to a spouse. However, if your surviving mate remarries, this does leave things open for the estate to be passed to the new mate and his or her children rather than yours.
- A Marital Disclaimer Trust gives the surviving mate the option to use a Bypass Trust. However, the help of an attorney is recommended so that the survivor exercises this option at the most financially sound time.
- For very large estates, you may need an A/B Trust to act as a tax shelter. However, with the estate tax only applying to massive estates, this is no longer a frequently used option.
- If you have a blended family or a smaller estate, you may benefit from a Survivor’s Trust with a QTIP (qualified terminable interest property) plan. You maximize the distribution of assets to the surviving spouse while still taking advantage of the best deductions for a married couple.
Learn More About Estate Planning for Married Couples in California
Petrov Law Firm has been helping married couples to plan for the future since 2014, and we are proud to specialize in California estate planning. To get started on your future plans, call our California estate planning attorneys at 619-344-0360 today!Read More
Making your own decisions is an important part of the estate planning process. After all, it is your future, and the whole point of estate planning is to ensure that your wishes are carried out regardless of whether you become incapacitated or pass away. But a do-it-yourself will based on an online template poses several risks.
- Leaving out important details – An estate planning attorney will know what questions to ask. Do you need to change your beneficiaries? Have you opened new accounts since you last looked at your will? You don’t want a 20-year-old will to outline wishes that you don’t even agree with anymore.
- Loopholes – When you leave money or other assets to family and friends, you don’t want to leave loopholes mistakenly. This could result in a greedy or vindictive family member dragging out a long probate battle, exhausting much of the funds and tying up what isn’t wasted.
- Taxes pitfalls – You don’t want your beneficiaries getting stuck paying most of your estate out in taxes. An estate planning attorney can help you to pass along the funds the right way and even help you to leave advice for beneficiaries.
Handling Your Affairs the Right Way in Southern California
The San Diego based attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to handle your affairs the right way so that no details are left out, all the loopholes are closed, and tax concerns are handled properly. For peace of mind in the estate planning process, call 619-344-0360 today.Read More
Writing up a will is not the first thing on the mind of most people in their 20s. After all, you are probably in good health, and it is unlikely that you have amassed a major fortune that early in life unless it was left to you by the previous generation. So what is the point of estate planning in your 20s? Here are three reasons you want your affairs in place:
- Accidents happen – A car accident or some other fatal accident can affect anyone at any time. Having an estate plan in place is a kindness for surviving family members who will be bereft enough by the tragic and premature loss of such a young loved one.
- Medical decisions – A living will allows you to make medical decisions in advance. If you become incapacitated due to an accident, injury, or illness, you can make medical decisions in advance including appointing someone who can make choices for you.
- Keep the peace – This is a unique opportunity to have your funeral arrangements set out the way you would want them to be handled. Whether you want a burial or cremation, the family doesn’t have to wonder or fight over what you may have said to various family members or friends at one time or another.
Estate Planning Is for Everyone
At Petrov Law Firm, we believe that estate planning is important for everyone. So if you are a resident of Southern California, speak to one of our estate planning attorneys by calling 619-344-0360 today. We can help you to prepare for your future.Read More
Estate planning is about being as prepared for the future as you possibly can be. With that in mind, we’re going to tell you about three of the mistakes people commonly make, so you can avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Not Planning at All
The biggest mistake you can make is deciding estate planning is not for you. People make all sorts of excuses – I’m too young, I’m in good health, I don’t have that much money – but the fact is that it hurts the ones you leave behind if you don’t have a plan in place.
Mistake #2 – Not Keeping the Estate Plan Up to Date
There are certain events that should always trigger a review of your estate plan. These would include life-changing events such as a marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, the death of a successor, and the like. It would also include major financial events like suddenly receiving or losing a large asset or sum of money.
Mistake #3 – Not Preparing for Incapacitation
Many people only make plans for death and not for temporary incapacitation during life. Should you be affected by mental illness, become unconscious due to an injury or accident, or even suffer from dementia later in life, you want plans in place for the sake of both your finances and your medical care. That means appointing individuals to implement your wishes for you.
Getting Your Affairs in Order in Southern California
If you live in San Diego or any of the surrounding communities, the Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you plan effectively for your future. Talk to our estate planning attorneys now by calling 619-344-0360. We can help you to avoid the pitfalls of trying to plan for your estate on your own.Read More
Even once you have an estate plan in place, your job isn’t over. You need to regularly maintain and review your estate plan to make sure it accurately conveys your present wishes. We’re going to give you five tips to help you review your plans successfully without making it a burden.
- Scan the Plan Annually – Every year you should at least look over your estate plan to make sure you don’t need to change beneficiaries, power of attorney, or other vital things such as these.
- 3 to 5 Year Review – Every few years, you should do a more thorough review to go over your financials. Make sure you haven’t taken on any new assets that have not found their way into the plan somehow.
- Review Income Changes – If you have a sudden influx of income or suddenly have significantly fewer assets, you will want to review your plans to make sure they still make sense.
- Major Life Changes – Marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a successor or beneficiary, or any other major life event will require changes to your estate plan.
- Change of Mind – Any time you change your mind about anything related to your estate plan (who gets what, funeral arrangements, medical wishes, etc.), you will want to look over your estate plan again.
Help in Making Estate Plan Adjustments in California
If, after careful review, you discover that you need to make adjustments to your estate plan, contact Petrov Law Firm in San Diego. Our estate planning attorneys can provide you the assistance you need to keep your future plans up to date with your current wishes. Call 619-344-0360 today to schedule an appointment.Read More