Estate planning is an important way to ensure the future of your loved ones and protect them from having to make difficult decisions without knowing your wishes. However, there are some common pitfalls that many fall prey to when it comes to estate planning. Here are some of the biggest estate planning mistakes.
- Waiting – No one wants to think about death. And the younger a person is, the more he or she is likely to put off estate planning. However, life is uncertain. If a tragic accident were to befall you tomorrow, what would happen to your family? Estate planning is a kindness to your loved ones, and the sooner you take care of it the better.
- Never Changing It – Our lives change. Things like divorce can dramatically affect how your estate plan should be set up. You don’t want to accidentally leave something to a beneficiary whom you no longer have a personal or business relationship with simply because you forgot to change the paperwork.
- Not Including Medical Wishes – Most people associate estate planning with financial matters and funeral arrangements. But having an advance healthcare directive is also vital. This allows you to make healthcare decisions in advance should you ever becoming incapacitated. It also allows you to select someone trustworthy to execute those decisions for you.
- Lack of Communication – Your executor shouldn’t see your will for the first time after you have passed away. Benefactors need to know how you have chosen to divide things so that no one is shocked or hurt by your decisions. When you clearly communicate with your family, there will be fewer disputes over your will.
Effective Estate Planning in California
Don’t make the common estate planning mistakes we’ve outlined here. Contact the Petrov Law Firm to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in the San Diego or Chula Vista areas. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
IRAs have become a popular form of retirement account. They offer tax benefits and are also convenient for a person who runs his or her own business. However, there are a few concerns when it comes to estate planning and IRAs. Here are three things you need to protect your retirement account against so your beneficiaries receive their full inheritance.
- Taxes – Sometimes when an IRA account owner dies, the account is liquidated, and the funds are sent as a check to the beneficiary. The problem with this is that accepting that check may subject your beneficiary to paying a ton of taxes, thereby negating any tax benefits you previously received from putting money into the retirement account.
- Divorce – With an IRA, you select a beneficiary. Thus, a divorce will likely mean changing the beneficiary on the account, a fairly simple process but one that is easy to forget. A 401(k) is a little more complicated because it automatically goes to your next of kin. That means if you pass away before the divorce is finalized, your soon-to-be-ex may end up getting the money.
- Creditors – While retirement funds don’t pass the same way a bank account would, it is also very different from a trust. Thus, creditors may have the opportunity to sneak in and get their cut.
Proper Estate Planning to Protect Your IRA, 401(k), and Other Retirement Accounts
To make sure the right person or persons benefit from your hard-earned money, trust the estate planning pros at Petrov Law Firm in San Diego. We offer the premier California estate planning services in the area. Call 619-344-0360 to get started now.Read More
There is something you need to know if you and your partner are not legally married. You can’t expect California state law to treat two people who are cohabiting the same way that it does a married couple when it comes to succession. As a result, if you don’t plan on getting married anytime soon, you need to think about the effect this will have on your estate planning. After all, you want your partner to be well taken care of if something happens to you.
How California Estate Laws Differ for Married and Unmarried Couples
When two people are married and one spouse dies, the other spouse has inheritance and property rights that automatically go into effect. This is not the case when there is not a legal union between the two individuals. However, this does not mean an unmarried partner is entirely without recourse.
In fact, as long as the petition is filed promptly, California law may even help an unmarried survivor to enforce verbal contracts that were made when both parties were alive. The term for this type of case is a Marvin petition.
Estate Planning in California to Avoid Complications
Of course, rather than relying on the ability to win such a case in court, the best way to make sure the person you love receives an inheritance is to fill out your estate planning documentation properly now. The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm in San Diego and Chula Vista would be happy to help you prepare your documents properly. To get started today, call 619-344-0360.Read More
When you name the beneficiaries in your will, your assumption is that you will pass away before your heirs. However, due to the general uncertainties of life, a beneficiary may sometimes die before you. What does this mean for the transfer of your estate? Here are a few things you need to know.
- California has an anti-lapse statute – This means that your estate can pass to the spouse or children of your kin. For example, if you leave money to your brother, but he dies before you, his wife or kids will receive the inheritance. This won’t work if you leave your money to a close friend who is not a blood relative.
- You can overrule the anti-lapse statute – Let’s say you want to leave $15,000 to your favorite nephew, but you have no relationship with his wife or children. You can include a clause in your will that he gets the money if he survives you, but that the gift lapses if he is not alive.
- The key is clarity – Include clear instructions on what is to happen if your beneficiary does not live to receive his or her inheritance This will ensure that your estate goes exactly where you want it to go.
Preparing a Will and Other Estate Documents in California
In order to ensure that your last will and testament along with other estate planning documents are all executed properly, contact San Diego’s estate planning professionals at Petrov Law Firm. To get started on your documents or to update existing estate plans, contact us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Are you concerned that your beneficiaries may still have a long way to go in learning to handle money? If so, you may want to protect them from misusing their inheritance by installing a spendthrift clause into your trust. What does this provision do? How can it protector your heirs from creditors?
The Benefits of a Spendthrift Trust
Once funds have been distributed to a benefactor, creditors can go after these assets. However, funds that are not under control of the heir or that have not yet been dispersed can be protected from certain creditors. This is where a spendthrift clause comes into play.
In a spendthrift trust, the funds are under the control of a trustee who distributes funds to the heir when he or she sees fit. Since the beneficiary cannot access these funds at will, they are not considered to be his or her property. This provides the additional protection from creditors who can only go after what the beneficiary actually owns.
There are, however, exceptions to every rule. For example, a court may direct that child support or alimony payments that have been awarded can be taken from a spendthrift trust.
Learn More About Your Estate Planning Options
To learn more about your estate planning options, contact the experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360. From developing an estate plan from scratch to reworking an outdated plan, we can help you to prepare for the future with confidence.Read More
If you are debating whether to form a living trust as a part of your estate plan or to just leave everything behind by means of a last will and testament, this article may help you make that decision. We’re going to look at three things that make a trust superior to a will.
- Avoid Probate – Don’t make your assets have to go through probate court and be subject to an executor. Forming a living will can allow you to pass your estate directly to your beneficiaries. You can still include clauses that dictate how the trust is dispensed (for example, you can instruct the successor trustee to manage the funds until your heirs turn 18).
- Manage Your Own Trust – You can control what goes into your trust and serve as the trustee until you die. This gives you full control over the trust. You do, however, also have the option of appointing a trustee to care for things while you are still alive.
- Keep Your Estate Private – Trusteeships remain confidential, even after you die. A last will and testament becomes a matter of public record. This allows anyone to be able to see what was passed on to your heirs and could cause them to become the subject of scam attempts. So creating a trust may be a protection.
Are You Ready to Form a Living Trust?
Contact the California estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm today to ensure that your assets go to your beneficiaries rather than to the courts. To learn more, call 619-344-0360 now.Read More
What is undue influence? It occurs when an influencer (sadly, often a family member), exerts pressure on someone that causes the person to act contrary to the way he or she normally would. This is done by the one exerting the pressure (the influencer) in order to benefit him or herself. In other words, a person influences someone who is susceptible (due to age, the onset of dementia, etc.) to make financial or other decisions for his or her benefit (and usually to the detriment of rightful heirs).
This is an unfortunately common occurrence. How can you be sure that your estate planning isn’t subject to undue influence? Is there any way for heirs who feel they were cheated by someone exerting undue influence to take recourse?
Avoiding the Effects of Undue Influence
The best way to avoid undue influence is to have an ironclad estate plan in place that spells out your wishes in no uncertain terms. Should you decide to change your will or beneficiaries later in life, you need to be sure that your estate planning is equally meticulous, so no one can make claim that there may have been an influencer behind the scenes scheming for material gain.
When an Influencer Exists
Fortunately, there are measures in place to contest wills and other estate planning that clearly involved undue influence. But this ties up funds, sometimes for years, and wastes much of those assets on court fees. Thus, it is far better for heirs if estate planning is well thought out and documented
The estate planning experts at Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you develop your California estate plan. Call 619-344-0360 to get your comprehensive estate plan started today.Read More
One of the things that we love to help our estate planning clients with is setting up a living trust. This gives you some great options. For example, while you are alive, you can serve as your own trustee and take care of the trust as you wish. You can also leave instructions for a successor trustee. What does the successor trustee do after you pass?
The Role of a Successor Trustee
A trust does not go through probate, so the executor of your will won’t have anything to do with the trust (unless it is the same person you select as your successor trustee). The successor trustee administers the trust after the grantor has died. Usually, the grantor will leave written terms to guide the decisions of the trustee.
A trustee is an appropriate name because you are trusting this individual to put aside his or her own personal interests on behalf of the trust and those who are designated as beneficiaries. Thus, even when it is necessary for the trustee to handle matters that call for decisions not outlined by the grantor, the trustee should be guided by what the grantor would have wanted as well as what is in the best interests of the trust itself and of the beneficiaries.
Selection of a Successor Trustee Is Serious Business
Because of these facts, you want to give serious thought to who you will assign as a successor trustee. You also want to leave detailed instructions, so your trustee has a firm basis for knowing your wishes. This will ensure that your beneficiaries get the maximum yield from the trust.
To set up a living trust and to put other estate planning measures in motion, call 619-344-0360 and speak to the attorneys at Petrov Law Firm. We are experienced estate planning attorneys serving San Diego and the surrounding areas in southern California.Read More
Assigning a durable power of attorney is an important part of estate planning. This is especially true if you ever become incapacitated for a time and do not have either the physical or mental ability to care for your own finances. Here are 6 vital things a power of attorney can take care of for you should you become temporarily incapacitated.
- Bank Accounts – If you are married, your mate is probably on all of your bank accounts. But if he or she usually allows you to take care of the financials for the family, then it is important to have a fiscally responsible person in charge of these accounts and to move around money as needed.
- Loans – A power of attorney (POA) can pay down your loans by either making minimum payments or paying them off completely depending on what is best for the estate in the current financial market.
- Bills – Your POA can also take care of the day to day bills such as utilities, credit cards, insurance, and the like. Much of this may be on an automatic payment system, but for things that are not, it is important to have someone who knows what is due and how it is paid.
- Taxes – This is one of the most complicated aspects of financial responsibilities, so your POA needs to be someone you can trust to be honest and to put in the work to ensure that you don’t miss out on things that could have been written off.
- Real Estate – Whether you have land that is being leased, renovated, or lived in, someone needs to manage all of your properties at all times. If that is usually something you do yourself, you need a POA who can handle it. If you have a property management service, then the POA needs to be in touch with them as regularly as you would have been.
- Lawsuits – Any pending lawsuits for which you may be a plaintiff or defendant would now rest on the shoulders of your POA.
Preparing Your Estate Plan in California
If you live in or near the California area, Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you set up or review your estate plan. Appointing a power of attorney is just one element in this process. To get started, call us at 619-344-0360.Read More
There are a number of ways to form a successful estate plan. Today, we will look at two options by means of a comparison. Here are three of the major differences between wills and trusts.
- Privacy – When a person dies, his or her will becomes public record. This means that anyone who knows you have died can see your will and find out what was left to your heirs. On the other hand, a trust is private. No one needs to know what you left to each of your beneficiaries.
- Timing – A will doesn’t go into effect until after you die. You can, however, set up a living trust and manage the assets yourself while still alive. You can also set up a trust and designate a trustee to take care of the financial side of things even while you are still alive.
- Probate – The executor of your will has to deal with the legal process of probate to distribute your estate to heirs. This can be time consuming and costly. A trust has the added benefit of avoiding probate and providing the inheritance directly to your beneficiaries (with whatever restrictions you may have imposed as part of the trust – i.e., not having money pass to minors until their 18th birthday).
Help in Preparing Wills and Trusts
For more information that can help you to make an informed decision on the best way to leave your estate to heirs, contact the Petrov Law Firm. Our estate planning attorneys can help you to draft a will, set up a trust, and take care of many other elements of planning for the future. Call 619-344-0360 to get started now.Read More