What is a holographic will? It refers to a last will and testament that is handwritten and signed by the testator ( the person whose will it is). California happens to be one of the states that allow this type of will. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good option. What are some reasons to avoid a handwritten will?
- It is easy to challenge the will – Proving that the handwriting on the will matches other handwriting samples from the testator is only a matter of time, but there are plenty of ways to prevent an inheritance from being tied up for months or perhaps longer, so why make things more difficult for heirs?
- Witnesses to the signing are optional – Because the document being in the testator’s own handwriting is legally binding, the witnesses who would normally attest to a typed document are often skipped. However, having witness signatures on a will is an extra way to prevent confusion as to the legitimacy of the document.
- Handwritten wills are often prepared incorrectly – This can occur with a typed will too if it is not checked by an estate planning attorney. The best way to deal with this situation is to have a professional draft the document to meet your expressed desires. Then you know your wishes will be carried out in a timely manner.
Help in Drafting a Will or Creating a Trust
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm are happy to help our clients develop legal documents that ensure your wishes will be carried out for asset distribution, funeral arrangements, and other necessary matters. To learn more, give us a call at 619-344-0360.Read More
If you are putting off a conversation with your family about estate planning because the topic is tough to deal with, now is the time to get everyone together. The fact is that as difficult as the conversation may be to have, you need to have it while everyone is calm and has their wits about them. During an emergency medical situation or when cognitive problems start to set in are not the right times for serious talk about the future. Here are a few things you should know.
Why You Need to Have an Estate Planning Discussion
Discussing things as a family does not take away your right to determine what will happen to you or your estate. It simply helps you to convey to your family why your estate plan is being set up as it is, and it allows your family members to voice opinions or ideas you may not have thought of. What should the discussion include?
- Distribution of Assets – Discussing who will get what can curb hurt feelings over what your will or trust will later
- End of Life Decisions – If you don’t want your life prolonged on machines, now is the time to break the news to your family and to discuss who can handle the emotional responsibility of making the call if it comes to that.
- Funeral Arrangements – Now is the time to let your family know how you want your remains to be handled.
- Medical Wishes – If you become incapacitated either physically or mentally, now is the time to establish who will be in charge of making decisions for you and what you expect those decisions to be.
Meeting Your Estate Planning Needs in San Diego, California
By having this discussion, you can help absolve your family of any feelings of guilt when having to make tough calls and limit any hurt feelings that may be piled on top of grief at a later time. Petrov Law Firm can then help you to carry out the decisions you have made by sharing our valuable estate planning experience with you. To begin enacting your plans for the future, call 619-344-0360 today.Read More
One estate planning method that many couples use to avoid probate is called joint tenancy. This means that the two of you own the property together. As a result, if one spouse dies, the other will automatically own the property outright and thereby avoid having to through the mate’s estate to get ownership. Does the same concept apply to cars?
Joint Tenancy of Cars in California
Joint tenancy should help a car pass to the right person automatically. However, it is vital to register the car properly in both names. This is highlighted by a case involving two friends who co-owned a vehicle. When one of the friends passed away, the other expected to get full ownership of the vehicle since both names were on the title. But the court ruled that the title did not create joint tenancy but merely tenancy in common. As a result, the surviving friend received 50% ownership only, and the other half went to the deceased’s trust.
Knowledgeable Estate Planning Advice in San Diego
Knowing how to properly register your vehicle as joint tenancy is important if you want the car to avoid probate and pass immediately to the co-owner, whether that be your mate, another family member, or a close friend. The estate planning lawyers at Petrov Law Firm can help you to make sure you have taken care of all the details that will ensure a smooth transition. To get started on your estate plan and get the accompanying advice that you need, just call 619-344-0360.Read More
A living trust is a great way to simplify matters for your heirs and avoid probate. Since assets that are a part of a trust are passed on differently than those in a will, your heirs may receive their inheritance faster and with fewer legal fees. The difference is in the way the trust is funded. Only a correctly implemented trust will save time and money and avoid lengthy court proceedings.
Why Executing the Trust Properly Is Vital
A 2012 case in El Dorado, California brought this topic to the fore. In the case, an older woman had executed a trust leaving her home to her daughter. Three years later, she changed her trust to make her son the heir but failed to change the deed on the house. Thus, the conflict was whether or not the house should be left to the son or daughter.
In the end, the son received the house due to California law allowing for the transfer of the property to the new trust. However, it took 5 years longer than it should have for the son to get the home. So it still drives home the point of properly executing a trust in order to avoid long legal battles.
Help in Executing Your Living Trust in Sand Diego, California
San Diego, California residents can trust the experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm to help execute your living trust properly. This will make for a smooth transition in the future when your heirs receive their inheritance. To learn more and to start planning for the future today, call 619-344-0360.Read More
There is a lot to think about when a couple goes through a divorce, especially if they have been together for a long time and have a family. One major consideration is the status of your estate planning. What estate matters need to be considered following a divorce?
- Does your former mate still have power of attorney to make medical decisions for you?
- Was your spouse the trustee for part or all of your estate?
- Do you share a living trust?
- Is your ex still in your will?
- Is your former spouse listed on your bank, credit, or retirement accounts?
- Do you share any property?
While some of these matters may be resolved as a part of the divorce (for example, jointly owned assets may be liquidated), some things may need to get taken care of afterwards. If you become suddenly incapacitated either physical or mentally, it will be too late to make these changes, so now is the time to think about it.
Compassionate Assistance When Estate Plans Need to Be Adjusted
Life-changing events are never easy. It can be tough to think things through logically following a divorce, especially if you experienced many years together. Having a quality estate planning lawyer in your corner can be an important asset when it comes to making sure you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all of your T’s.
Petrov Law Firm has the compassionate attorneys who can help you to make the right decisions at your own pace. To schedule an appointment, call 619-344-0360.Read More
Some people take the extra time and effort to plan their own funeral and make it a part of estate planning. However, if you do not take this advanced step to outline the way you want your funeral to take place (and many people don’t), it raises the question: Who will plan the funeral?
Can Someone You Disinherit Plan Your Funeral?
You may be surprised to find that answer is yes. Let’s say you pass away and decide not to leave any money or assets to your children. It all goes to your favorite nephew. Out of the $100,000 you leave him, he decides to spend $15,000 of funeral arrangements at a nearby funeral home.
However, the disinherited children step in and decide to plan a $50,000 funeral at a location more convenient for them. Legally they can do that in California as closer relatives. Now half of our favorite nephew’s inheritance goes toward a funeral you didn’t want, that was planned by kids you had a falling out with.
Suddenly it becomes clear why planning a funeral ahead of time is so important, especially if you have close relatives you don’t want to have involved in the planning.
Planning Your Funeral in California
California residents can take control of funeral arrangements by making it part of the estate planning process. This can help a grieving spouse or children by making decisions for them in advance. It can also protect the assets left to another relative by overriding decisions that would otherwise have fallen on a closer relative according to state law.
If you have not yet made arrangements for your future funeral, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can be of assistance to you. Call 619-344-0360 and make an appointment to discuss your estate planning needs.Read More
If you own your own business, one question you may have is what will happen to your business after you pass away. For some, a company serves as a real legacy, even if it is a small family owned business, so you want to be certain that succession will occur in accord with your wishes, especially if something were to befall you suddenly. Here are a few things to know based on the type of business you run.
If You Are a Sole Proprietor
If a person owns a business alone and has not incorporated, there is no legal entity that exists apart from the owner. That means that when the owner passes away, the business goes too. It may be possible for assets of the business to be sold and the profits to be distributed to heirs. However, if you want to leave the company to a successor, you will have to draft paperwork in advance.
The Importance of a Partnership Agreement
If you own a business as a part of a partnership, the original partnership agreement should outline what happens if one partner dies. Thus, this may already be taken care of. However, a partnership agreement is legally required, so a person may not have entered into one, especially if the partner is a relative. Drafting an agreement and deciding what happens if one partner passes before the other is a smart idea.
What If the Business Is an LLC or a Corporation
LLCs and corporations have other laws that dictate what will happen if one shareholder or member dies. Therefore, it is important to consult with an estate planning lawyer to determine what happens with your portion of the business.
Estate Planning Attorneys to Help Protect Your Legacy
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you protect your legacy for future generations. Just call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
Most people will answer that question by saying, “My spouse.” That makes sense. In a marriage, if one mate dies, the bulk of the estate goes to the surviving mate. However, complications arise when both mates die at the same time or within a short period of time. How can changing your beneficiary correct these issues and provide other heirs, especially your children, with the benefits of some additional precaution?
The Primary Beneficiary – Your Revocable Trust
One way to get around these issues is for both spouses to change their primary beneficiary to a revocable trust. In case one mate dies, the other will have fast access to the trust, so changing the beneficiary doesn’t affect how soon the money is available. In the case of both mates passing at the same time, kids (especially minor children) don’t have to worry about things like not getting anything until they turn 18 or seeing the money go through probate and having to pay court fees. This also means that if only one parent passes away and the other doesn’t transfer the money to a trust right away (these things can be tough to deal with at the moment), and then the second parent passes away not long after, none of the aforementioned issues arise. All of this can be avoided by changing the primary beneficiary on the policies.
Smart Estate Planning Advice to Protect Your Heirs
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to effectively settle your affairs in a way that will bring benefits to those who stand to inherit your assets. To schedule a consultation, call 619-344-0360.Read More
We live in a do-it-yourself age where people want to feel the accomplishment of completing a task without the help of a trained professional. When it comes to putting together your own Ikea furniture, that’s a great attitude to have. However, estate planning is not the place to miss out on professional advice for the sake of saving a little money. Here are 2 reasons to avoid simply downloading a pdf form will and filling it out yourself.
#1: A Form Document May Not Address Your Specific Needs
What if the document you download has a place for assigning who will inherit property when you pass away, but doesn’t mention anything about future properties you might acquire after you complete the document but before you leave the inheritance to your heirs? A form document can’t take into consideration the specific circumstances of each person who will download and fill it out, so you can’t be sure you are getting what you need.
#2: You Miss Out on Valuable Legal Advice
These sites don’t provide you with a live person to give you advice on how to fill out the documents. At best, you get some simple instructions. The legal system is very complicated, and trying to do your own estate planning from a form is like trying to stitch a would yourself after reading a how-to article online without the help of a medical professional. You might end up doing it right the first time, but there are some things that are too important to read about on the Internet and then try yourself with no practical experience.
Meeting Estate Planning Needs and Providing Sensible Legal Advice
At Petrov Law Firm, we help our clients determine what their estate planning needs are, and then we provide the necessary legal advice to ensure your wishes are met. Don’t try to go it alone only for your family to receive a rude awakening later. Give our experienced estate planning attorneys a call at 619-344-0360.Read More
Estate planning is vital regardless of the amount of money you may have to leave behind for your loved ones. Unfortunately, due to some myths that are frequently cited on the Internet, some are moved to take either the wrong actions or no action at all when it comes to estate planning. We’re going to address those 3 estate planning myths and help you to prepare for your family’s future properly.
Myth #1: You Can Just Download a Will Template Online
You can, but you shouldn’t. The fact is that you don’t know who drafted the template you are downloading. If may not be viable in California if it was worded for execution in another state. You don’t want to wait until your family is in probate court for them to learn that your will was not executed properly. The Internet is a great tool for research, but some things are too important to do without the help of an experienced attorney.
Myth #2: I Can Transfer Everything to My Kids and Get Medicaid
That’s a great idea in theory, but you have to come up with the idea well in advance of needing medical care. If you just sign everything over to an heir and then immediately apply for Medicaid, it will get caught in the check, and you may get hit with penalties that will make you wish you just sold your assets and paid your medical bills in cash.
Myth #3: I Can Avoid Estate Tax by Using a Trust
First of all, the estate tax is for estates that exceed $5.49 million in value, so only a small fraction of estates have to worry about this tax. Second, forming a trust doesn’t automatically avoid this tax. You’re going to need to spend years combining trusts, gifts, asset transfers, and the like to avoid estate tax legally. Finally, trusts have plenty of benefits when it comes to things like avoiding probate.
Estate Planning Attorneys You Can Trust
Rather than trying to navigate the murky waters of estate planning on your own, come and see us at Petrov Law Firm. We enjoy helping families to see the full benefit of good advance planning. To schedule a consultation, call 619-344-0360.Read More