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
Charitable planning is a wonderful part of estate planning that can allow a person to pass on a legacy of benefit to those in need. However, failing to plan properly for this giving can lead to legal issues for both the charities you intend to help and your family members whom you may intend to leave the bulk of your estate to. Here’s an example of the messy situations that may arise.
Charity Sues Trust Over Use of Funds
An issue arose for a man who executed his estate planning all the way back in 1967. A trust was formed that gave the man’s grandson a $100/month payout for as long as he lived. There was also a stipulation that would allow the trust to provide the grandson with additional funds for special situations like medical bills, accidents, and other cases of “dire need.”
The grandson dipped into the trust for such a case of “dire need” in 2009 when he went through a divorce. The trustee approved more than $160,000 in disbursements. So far everything seemed to be working as intended, but there was one catch.
Several charities were to share what was left in the trust when the grandson eventually died. These charities had already been waiting for 50 years, and one in particular was not happy that $160,000 was going on a divorce, disagreeing with it being a case of need that the trust should pay for. The case has bounced between state and federal courts and was back in a California court as of January 2017. No doubt this was not the way the man who left behind the estate wanted things to go, with more and more of the trust’s money ending up going to lawyers and court fees.
Protect Your Trust with Good Estate Planning
By planning one’s estate carefully, it is possible to provide for descendants and also for charities to benefit fully from assets without a legal battle. Petrov Law Firm specializes in estate planning, and our attorneys can help you to plan effectively for various situations that may arise in the future. Call 619-344-0360 to get started.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
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
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
You probably realize that accidents happen and life can be cut short suddenly, making estate planning important. So why do surveys show that less than half of Americans even have a will let alone a trust? Here are the top 3 reasons that people put off estate planning.
#1: “I’m Not Wealthy.”
Many people think estate planning is just for those with millions of dollars to pass on to heirs. However, even if you only have a few assets to leave behind, if you want those assets to avoid probate and go directly to your family, you need to start thinking about estate planning now.
#2: “I Don’t Like Thinking About Dying.”
No one does, but this is for your family. You just need to sit down with your loved ones, decide who gets what, and then spend a little time with an estate planning lawyer to get everything on paper and signed. Then you never have to think about it again until it actually happens.
#3: “It’s Too Time Consuming.”
Sometimes procrastination can turn a small chore into a giant that we have to slay. Estate planning doesn’t have to take a long time. The right attorney can help you to take care of matters easily. Then you can rest assured that your family will be well taken care of should something happen to you.
The Top San Diego Estate Planning Attorneys
If you are looking for the top estate planning attorneys in San Diego, give Petrov Law Firm a call at 619-344-0360. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys can help walk you through the process, so you can see how easy it is to leave whatever assets you may have to the right people without having to spend too much time thinking about it.Read More
Trust administration refers to the management of a trust by a trustee who has been appointed to distribute the property or funds. The trustor provides the trustee with instructions that are to be carried out. The trustee then applies these wishes in accord with state laws and in the best interest of the beneficiaries. How does California state law affect how trustees carry out this responsibility?
California Laws on Trust Administration
California law dictates how trustees handle their responsibilities in a number of ways including:
- Guidelines that keep a trustee from taking action that does not benefit the heirs or trust
- Requirements to perform certain duties in connection with the trust
- A designated line of succession in case a trustee dies at the same time as or before the trustor or is otherwise unable to carry out responsibilities
The Responsibility Placed on a Trustee in California Trustees are expected to comply with the instructions outlined in the trust as well as with all applicable state and federal regulations. They are expected to handle the estate in a manner that is financially responsible, preserving it for the beneficiaries. The trustee may be in charge of financial records, debts, and taxes. Beneficiaries can request financial statements from trustees to ensure things are being handled properly.
Trusts and Other Estate Planning in San Diego, California
If you are setting up a trust or doing any other kind of estate planning in California, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can provide you with the assistance you need to execute all of the paperwork properly. This will help to ensure that beneficiaries get what they deserve and that your wishes are carried out properly. Call 619-344-0360 to get started today.Read More