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
At Petrov Law Firm, we see each of our clients as an individual. As a result, we help you to determine what is best of you and your beneficiaries. For some families, leaving a life insurance policy to a trust as a beneficiary is a good idea. Here are a few situations where this method works well:
- Your beneficiaries are minor children – If your kids are under 18, they won’t get your life insurance policy until they come of age anyway. Having the money go directly into a trust can allow a trustee to dispense some money to the children as needed such as for new outfits at the beginning of the school year.
- You want to avoid executor and court fees – If your estate ends up in probate court for any significant amount of time, a good portion of the assets can go toward court fees and executor expenses before your family sees any of it.
- You are concerned about the simultaneous death of yourself and your beneficiary – Let’s say the person you were going to name as your life insurance policy beneficiary is someone who is always traveling with you. What happens if you die together in some sort of travel-related accident? Having the money go into a trust is a good way to ensure it passes on to your other family members.
Personalized Estate Planning in San Diego, California
Let our professional estate planning attorneys help you to determine what methods will meet your family’s needs. Call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation today.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
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
The short answer is: It can be. The fact is that many estate planning options provide different benefits depending on your specific situation. So we prefer to offer the best options to each client individually once we have a consultation to learn about your specific needs. However, we can provide you with a few of the benefits of naming your revocable trust as the beneficiary for your life insurance policy.
- Protects your assets against the simultaneous death of your beneficiary – What if you are in a fatal car accident with your spouse who is listed as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy? Now that money will have to go through probate court to determine who it belongs to.
- Protects estate from executor and attorney fees – In California, much of your estate can end up going to the executor and the required lawyer if your insurance policy ends up tied up in probate court for a significant amount of time. There are also additional out of pocket expenses for loved ones if the life insurance is tied up for months.
- Protects minor children – Your kids won’t get the life insurance policy right away if they lose both their parents before they turn 18. You can set a revocable trust to make annual disbursements, so the kids have funds before the entire trust becomes available.
Estate Planning to Meet Your Personal Needs in Southern California
At Petrov Law Firm, we understand that each of our clients will have different estate planning needs, so rather than offering you a cookie cutter approach, we take your personal needs and wants into consideration when making recommendations. To start planning for your future, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More