Who should inherit your possessions when you pass on? Most people immediately think of a mate or children. But what if you have no family? A close friend may suffice. But what if you have lived a long, full life and have outlived your close friends? Or what if you are just really eccentric and want to be a little more indiscriminate with your assets?
California state laws, along with federal laws in the US, don’t have any major requirements when it comes to selecting a beneficiary. It is expected that most people will choose family or friends, but it is not required.
The only time you lose the ability to choose who gets your assets is when they are considered community property. For example, if your mate’s name is also on your title or deed, you can only distribute your half of the property. You can’t give away your mate’s half.
Succession in California
If you don’t have a will or any other estate planning in place, California has laws of succession that dictate who will receive your belongings. Depending on who is still living, the line of succession usually starts with a spouse, then children, then any living parents, and finally siblings.
Estate Planning Assistance in California
Of course, you don’t want to leave things to chance, especially when it comes to blended families. Stepchildren are often cut out completely, and if you are remarried, your current spouse may not have to share anything with your children from a previous marriage. To avoid these types of issues, call Petrov Law Firm at 619.344.0360 to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.Read More
While it is not a common practice, there are times when it makes sense to have the beneficiary of your life insurance policy be a trust rather than an individual. Is this the best option for you? Here are a few ways to tell:
- You are concerned that your beneficiary and you may die simultaneously. You want to leave your life insurance to your mate, but what if you are traveling together and die in an accident? Who recovers the policy then?
- You already have a trust set up to avoid probate. Your life insurance policy goes directly to your beneficiary, not into probate. However, if you are already setting up a trust to protect your other assets, then you may want to include your life insurance policy.
- Your beneficiaries are under 18. Minor children won’t be able to collect on your policy until they come of age anyway. A trust can protect the funds and allow for special case dispensations (providing guardians with funds for educational supplies, healthcare, and things of that nature).
San Diego’s Estate Planning Experts
Rather than trying to figure out the best way to arrange your affairs on your own, why not give the professional estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm the opportunity to help you understand your options. This will allow you to take better care of your family’s future. Call 619.344.0360 today to get the assistance you need when it comes to estate planning.Read More
Married couples can enjoy unique estate planning privileges that make it easier to prepare for the future. Here are some types of trusts that can help you protect one another financially.
- Survivor’s Trust – This is a trust that provides a clean transition if you want to leave everything to your mate. It’s very cut and dry but may not be the right option for individuals who get remarried to someone who is not a parent of their children.
- Survivor’s Trust with Qualified Terminable Interest Property – This is the right type of survivor’s trust for blended families (as well as for those with a smaller estate). It does offer nice deductions while you are both living.
- Marital Disclaimer Trust – Be sure to consult an estate planning attorney to see if this is right for you. In this case, the surviving mate has an option for a Bypass Trust. It’s a very specific type of trust for special circumstances.
- A/B Trust – This is a rare trust to provide shelter in the case of an enormous estate that would be subject to an estate tax. If you have such a large estate, be sure to ask your attorney about this type of trust.
California Estate Planning for Married Couples
Petrov Law Firm in San Diego can provide you with the estate planning advice you need. Get in touch with us today by calling 619.344.0360, and let us help you to ensure that your estate is in good orderRead More
If you want to leave a gift to family or friends when you pass on, a trust is a great way to do it. Here are four types of trust you should know about when you do your estate planning.
- Gift Trust – This is a great way to give loved ones a gift now and set more aside for later without a huge tax penalty. Your family can take the maximum allowable gift per year that is not taxable, and the rest rolls over into a trust that will become available when you pass away.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust – If you want to transfer a property you own to your family, but you don’t want them to have to pay the full market value, a QPRT provides tax benefits as well as asset protection.
- Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust – An IDGT is the right trust for passing on the family business. However, it provides protection for the family member against creditors.
- Charitable Remainder Trust – What if you want to make your gift to a charity? The CRT is right for you. Plus, your beneficiaries may get tax benefits on the rest of the estate, so everybody wins.
Giving Gifts the Smart Way in Southern California
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to be generous with your gifts while still making sound financial decisions for the future of your family. Give us a call today at 619.344.0360, and you can schedule a consultation at any of our three convenient locations.Read More
Being a successor trustee is a huge responsibility, and depending on the amount of funds left to you to help you carry out the assignment, there may not be a very big payoff. How can you be loyal to the trustor and carry out your duty in a fine manner? Here are a few tips:
- Get help with bookkeeping – You may have been selected because you are trustworthy, not for your math skills. In that case, it may especially be important to hire an accountant to help out. If it is a sizable trust, the beneficiary should be happy you have the extra help rather than being concerned that the accountant’s fee will mean there is slightly less in the trust for him or her.
- Avoid envy – This may not be as difficult if the trustor also left you a nice sum, but if you are doing all the work and the beneficiary is wasteful with money, it can be easy to give in to envy and think you deserve the money rather than him or her.
- Don’t go beyond your role – Your job is to carry out the wishes of the trustor. He or she believed you would put those wishes ahead of your own personal gain. That’s how you became the trustee in the first place. Stick to the instructions you’ve been provided.
California Estate Plan Assistance
For help from the estate planning attorneys southern California residents trust, call Petrov Law Firm today at 619-344-0360.Read More
It is possible to make your retirement funds work hand in hand with your trusts and other estate planning. Making your trust the beneficiary of your retirement plan is one of the main ways to do this.
At first, the reason may seem obvious. You want to put everything you can into your trust so it doesn’t go through probate. But this is not the reason for making your trust the beneficiary of your retirement account. After all, your retirement account passes directly to the named beneficiary, so it will never go through probate. So what is the reason for making your trust the beneficiary? Here are two good reasons:
- Keeps your beneficiaries from removing the funds prematurely – If you pass away while your spouse is still under the retirement age, you don’t want them making a mistake that could cost a lot of money by removing the funds from the account too early and receiving a penalty.
- Keeps your beneficiaries from removing too much from the fund at once – Taking retirement funds in a lump sum can result in huge amounts of taxation. Your successor trustee can help your beneficiary to understand the consequences and to make better decisions.
Planning Ahead for Your Family’s Needs
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to make things easier for your family. Call us today at 619-344-0360 to set up an estate plan that really works for your needs.Read More
An irrevocable living trust is just one of the many ways that you can choose to leave assets to your heirs. This is a popular option for a number of reasons. Here are three things you should know about irrevocable living trusts.
- They can help you avoid probate – Trusts are cared for by a successor trustee who is designated to take care of the trust and make sure your beneficiaries get the money faster and without court fees.
- You can be the trustee while alive – This means that you can make changes to the trust on an ongoing basis (unless you choose to declare it irrevocable while still alive). This makes a living trust a popular option for people who want to be able to control what goes into the trust and who the beneficiaries are.
- The trust becomes irrevocable at death – While a trustee has a little more leeway with a regular trust, an irrevocable trust is set once you die. The successor trustee will carry out your instructions for distributing the trust in the amounts and to the individuals set forth by you.
Planning Your Estate in Chula Vista and North County
Petrov Law Firm has the experienced estate planning attorneys that Chula Vista and North County residents can trust. Start planning for the future of your family now, or have our attorneys look over your existing trust to see if it can be structured in a better manner. Call 619-344-0360 to get started and see the benefits that come from having seasoned estate planning lawyers in your corner.Read More
If you give a gift to a family member or friend that exceeds a specific value, it can be taxed. Because of this, some people decide to leave gifts in the form of a trust. It allows you to leave much more money to a person without a portion of it going to the government. Here are some of the best ways to leave a gift via trust to your loved ones.
- IDGT – The intentionally defective grantor trust is used to leave the family business to another household member, and it protects the beneficiary from the company’s creditors.
- QPRT – A qualified personal residence trust is a great way to transfer a house to your family when you don’t want them to pay the full market value. Your family will receive asset protection as well as tax benefits.
- CRT – A charitable remainder trust is for when you want to leave the gift to a charity rather than an individual. It also provides tax benefits to your estate.
- Gift trust – A gift trust with annual exclusions allows you to give family members the maximum exempt amount per year with the rest going into a trust that will be dispensed later. While the family doesn’t get access to all the funds immediately, they also don’t have to pay half of it in taxes.
Generous Estate Planning Options in Southern California
For more generous estate planning options in southern California, contact the estate planning experts at Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360. Our experienced attorneys can help you leave assets to your heirs with the minimal tax burden, so your family enjoys your assets rather than the government.Read More
Being a successor trustee is a weighty responsibility. You want to be sure that person you select will do what is best for the trust and ensure a good financial future for your beneficiaries. However, there are some common pitfalls that a successor trustee could fall into. Here are a few ways to provide help that may prevent the most common pitfalls.
- Bookkeeping errors – Is your trustee level-headed but not the best with numbers? An accountant can help ensure that no mistakes are made. Plus, a second set of eyes keeps everyone on the straight and narrow.
- Crossing the line – A successor trustee can fall into think that he or she plays a larger role in how the assets are preserved than you intended. Leaving precise instructions will help your trustee to remember what his or her proper function is.
- Envy – Your trustee sees what you are leaving to your beneficiaries and is the one doing all the work. In order to avoid feelings of envy or jealousy from clouding the trustee’s judgment, it is a good idea to provide adequate compensation.
It is also important to be objective when selecting your successor trustee. The best way to avoid problems is to select the best person for the job rather than allowing sentiment to get in the way.
California Estate Planning Experts
For more assistance with trusts, contact the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360. We are happy to help California residents plan for the future with confidence.Read More
You may recognize some of the benefits of leaving your estate to heirs by means of a trust rather than simply executing a will. It is a great way to avoid having your funds tied up in probate battles. However, you need to understand the different types of trust.
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
When you are leaving a life insurance policy to a beneficiary, you want to protect the funds from creditors. You can also add other funds to the trust besides the life insurance money. You can even designate funds in the trust to be used for paying the policy premiums while you are alive, ensuring that there is never a delayed or missed payment that could result in the policy being withheld from your family. The trust is considered irrevocable because only you can modify the trust while you are alive or your beneficiary after you pass on.
A Revocable Living Trust
This is a great way to set aside funds for loved ones while still being able to adjust the trust at any time while you are alive. You can establish a successor trustee to ensure that your beneficiaries receive the funds as directed by the trust. You can even make the trust your life insurance beneficiary. Since the trust is revocable, you can take trust distributions while you are still alive. When you die, it automatically transfers to your beneficiaries and becomes irrevocable.
Help Establishing Trust Funds in California
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you determine what sort of trust is best for you and your heirs. To learn more, you can call our San Diego office at 619-344-0360.Read More