Probate gets a pretty bad rap for being something that delays beneficiaries from receiving their inheritance and may even eat up considerable funds from the estate. Is there any time when probate court can actually be a good thing? Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of probate.
The Advantages of Probate
If someone passes away without executing a will or having other estate planning measures in place, probate can really save the day. A few of the advantages include:
- Provides a legal means of redistributing the estate
- Enforces and validates the wishes included in a will
- Cares for remaining debts and taxes so heirs don’t have to worry someone will eventually come knocking at the door looking for money that may have long been spent
- May encourage debt forgiveness due to the window for claims against the estate being short
The Disadvantages of Probate
Here are a few of the reasons most people try to avoid probate with their estate planning:
- Probate is public record, so anyone can look up your financial information
- Executor fees and court costs may cut significantly into the value of the estate
- Probate can keep beneficiaries from receiving funds for weeks, months, or in some cases even years
- Complicated probate regulations can put a huge strain on beneficiaries and especially on the executor of the will
- The courts make the final decisions on your estate rather than you
- The higher the gross value of your estate, the higher the probate fees, making it more cost effective to create and maintain a revocable trust
Southern California Estate Planning Attorneys
Petrov Law Firm has the Southern California estate planning attorneys you can trust to help you develop an affordable and effective plan of action for the future. Contact us today by calling 619-344-0360 to get started.Read More
You want to save for your future, but you also want to plan for the future of your family. How can you get your retirement plan to play nice with your estate plan and ensure that you get to enjoy your golden years and still pass on an inheritance to your loved ones? Here are a few things to consider.
Your Retirement Fund Can’t Be Part of Your Trust
Your trust can’t own the retirement fund. That means you have to select a separate beneficiary for your retirement account. You can leave the retirement money and the trust to the same individual, just not with one nested under the other.
When selecting a beneficiary for a retirement fund, remember that there are tax advantages and other financial benefits to leaving these funds directly to a spouse. For example, regardless of who the beneficiary is, retirement funds don’t go through probate. They pass directly to the named beneficiary. However, only a spouse can defer minimum distribution until he or she hits retirement age.
Making Your Retirement Fund Beneficiary Your Trust
Why not simply leave your retirement fund to your loved one? What if he or she was to make the mistake of taking all of the funds at once and ends up paying half of the inheritance out in taxes the next year? That would be an expensive error. But your trustee could ensure that the retirement fund is stretched and distributions are taken at the proper times to maximize the payout.
Leaving Your Estate and Retirement Funds Behind the Right Way
Petrov Law Firm can help you to negotiate the laws that California has in place regarding estate planning and retirement funds. To get the help you need in planning for a better future, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with estate planning is thinking that all estate planning is about is what happens when you die. Your estate plan should include contingency plans for during your lifetime. Here’s something many people miss, and a quick fix for it.
Planning for Incapacitation
It’s a scenario we forget to plan for because we don’t like to think about it. What if you ever become mentally incapacitated during your lifetime? It could be due to an accident or illness that leaves you unconscious for a period of time or simply due to the mental degradation that sometimes accompanies old age. But it raises the question: Who will make financial decisions for you if you are no longer of sound mind to do so yourself?
Naming a power of attorney in your estate plan is the perfect way to ensure the courts don’t end up having to appoint a conservatorship to care for things for you. You get to select someone you trust to carry out your wishes rather than their own. And you don’t have to worry about undue influence affecting you if your judgment ever becomes less than sound. This can prevent your estate from becoming tied up in a long legal battle.
Planning for the Future in Southern California
From selecting a power of attorney to setting up revocable living trusts, Petrov Law Firm can help you select the estate planning options that are best for you. Speak to one of our estate planning attorneys to learn more. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
While you probably don’t want to think about someone else having to raise your precious little ones, if you and your spouse experience an accident, you don’t want to add to the tragedy by not having a plan in place. Here are 5 tips for selecting an appropriate guardian should an accident leave your children orphaned.
- Someone your kids like – If you have friends that just make your kids go, “Ugh, do we have to see them again?” that’s probably not the family to leave your kids to.
- Values and parenting style – Every parent is going to raise their kids a little different, but if you have friends that you see raising their kids the way you would want yours to be taken care of, that’s a good option as a guardian.
- Location – Will your kids suddenly find themselves without parents and having to adjust to a new town and school? If you have nearby friends who could be the guardians, that can reduce the upheaval.
- Age and health – While you may want to leave your kids to your parents should something happen to you, how old are your parents? How is their health? Who would they leave the kids to if they also pass away before the kids are old enough to be on their own?
- Prepare the kids – Talk to your kids about who you have listed in your estate plan as guardians and why. Knowing your desire to care for them, even if you can’t be here to do it yourself, may be comforting, especially if your kids end up with those guardians someday.
Estate Plans with No Loose Ends in Southern California
If you need assistance with legally drafting an estate plan in the state of California, contact Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360. We can help you to prepare for your future and tie up loose ends to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.Read More
No one wants to think about the end of his or her life. However, if you have anything to leave behind to your loved ones, you have probably at least gone through the mental exercise of deciding who gets what. There are other elements of an estate plan, however, that require engaging the emotions. Here are a few things to consider:
- Protecting the emotions of survivors – When you pass away, there will be people who mourn you. Your estate plan can make things easier for But you need to consider now what emotional burdens your family may face so you can plan accordingly. For example, will it save infighting if you detail how you want the funeral to be arranged?
- Keep private matters private – A last will and testament becomes public record when you die. So if you don’t want everyone being able to look into your business, it is better to consider other estate planning options such as leaving assets to your loved ones by means of a trust. This can keep anyone from having hard feelings over knowing who received which parts of your estate.
- Leaving behind a legacy – You may wish to leave private letters or videos for your beneficiaries to provide advice or just to say goodbye and give them a memento. Your estate is a great way to pass on heirlooms, family lore, and other priceless history that may not have monetary value but plenty of sentimental value.
California’s Compassionate Estate Planning Attorneys
If you want estate planning attorneys on your side who can help you to navigate both the logical and emotional side of planning for the future, you want the compassionate lawyers at Petrov Law Firm in your corner. Contact us today at 619-344-0360 to start planning how to leave your loved ones something truly special.Read More
Some people are willing to take the chance that everything will pass to their spouse and kids. Others are content to draw up a will and let the courts have their part in matters. But if you want your family to receive your estate with an increased degree of certainty and without the courts causing delays and expenses, there are two things you need to include in your estate planning.
- Trusts – A trust can allow your heirs to skip probate. You can manage the trust while you are alive and appoint a successor trustee to carry out your wishes and disseminate the trust in your absence. It gives you the flexibility you need while you are alive and provides your beneficiaries with the convenience of fewer court fees and the excessive time it may take to receive funds if probate is involved.
- Power of Attorney – Whether you are appointing a healthcare agent to make medical decisions should you become incapacitated or a power of attorney to make financial decisions, this is a great way to block courts from stepping in and appointing a conservatorship to take care of matters for you. You can outline your wishes in advance and appoint someone you trust to carry out those wishes as opposed to whomever the court may grant guardianship to.
Smart Estate Planning in Southern California
Petrov Law Firm offers smart estate planning options to residents of San Diego and the surrounding areas. If you are ready to take control of your future rather than leaving it in the hands of the court system, give us a call today at 619-344-0360.Read More
When it comes to estate planning, trusts are an excellent way to protect your family from drawn-out court proceedings and expensive probate hearings. We’re going to look at two of those options, and how they may be able to add a level of protection to your estate plan.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a great way to leave your estate to your beneficiaries without having it go through probate. You can even serve as the trustee while you are still alive and control what goes into the estate personally. Then you can appoint a successor trustee to distribute things to the right heirs at the right time. Some people even decide to make the revocable living trust the beneficiary of their life insurance policy. That makes it payable to the trust beneficiaries and no one else.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
This type of trust helps you to administer the benefits of one or more life insurance policies for your beneficiaries. It provides tax benefits and protects the insurance money from creditors. You can also fund the trust with other assets besides just your insurance policies. Those assets can be used to pay the insurance premiums.
Planning for Your Estate in California
If you have an estate to leave to beneficiaries in California, even if it is primarily your life insurance policy, you can still benefit from the professional advice of the estate planning attorneys at the Petrov Law Firm. To get started, give our San Diego office a call at 619-344-0360.Read More
Most people realize the importance of setting up a power of attorney to care for financial matters should they become incapacitated for a time. However, healthcare is frequently overlooked. This is a sensitive area and many people, even family members, will disagree on the type of medical care they want. With that in mind, here are 3 documents you need in case you are ever incapacitated and need medical care.
- Advance Healthcare Directive – Your healthcare directive allows you to designate a health care agent who can make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated for a time. It also gives you the opportunity to leave instructions for your health care agent so that you are still making your own medical decisions. The health care agent is therefore just carrying out your wishes until a situation comes up that you haven’t accounted for. Then he or she will step in to make those decisions for you.
- Living Will – This gives you the opportunity to express additional wishes in regard to end of life decisions. For example, you can determine whether or not you want your life to be prolonged by machines, even if there is relatively little hope of being revived.
- HIPPA Authorization – You need to give health care practitioners the legal right to share your medical information with your health care agents as having access to your records will make it much easier to make decisions in harmony with your wishes.
Planning for Your Future Health in California
Whether you have an estate plan that addresses financial matters but not health or you need to start from scratch, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. Give us a call today at 619-344-0360 to ensure that your wishes will be carried out, not just after your death but even while you are alive should you become incapacitated.Read More
You are to be commended if you already have an estate plan in place. It shows that you care about your beneficiaries and you want things to go as smoothly as possible for them once you are no longer here or even if you become incapacitated for a time.
However, things come up in life that require changes to an existing estate plan. If you come across any of these life experiences, it is time to change your estate plan as soon as possible.
- Marriage – Whether you have a previous marriage or not, you want to be sure that there is nothing in your estate plan that would keep your new mate from inheriting his or her fair share of your assets.
- Birth or Adoption – This would include your children or any grandchildren. Don’t forget that if you divided everything evenly between several kids and grandkids that you will have to add in the latest child or grandchild so no one gets left out.
- Divorce – It is unlikely you want a former mate to receive anything, or at least not the same share he or she would have received while you were married. Don’t forget to change the name of your beneficiary on your retirement funds or life insurance policies.
- Death of an Heir – There are times when sadly we outlive our successors. It is especially important to select a new executor or successor trustee quickly should one of them pass away.
- You Move Out of State – Different states and countries have varying laws. So if you have moved to a new state or country, you need to review your estate plan. If you have moved to California, give Petrov Law Firm a call.
San Diego’s Estate Planning Attorneys
Petrov Law Firm has the estate planning attorneys you need to help you enact or update an estate plan. Call us today at 619-344-0360 to get started!Read More
We’re going to take a look at three often unforeseen events that can threaten to ruin a person’s estate plans. How can you develop a plan that is protected against these potential dangers?
#1 Family Conflict
Sometimes an inheritance can come between even the closest of family members. With that in mind, it is important to be specific about who gets what in your estate planning. You may choose to have an executor or trustee be an unbiased non-family member if you anticipate any possible issues.
#2 Simultaneous Death of Both Mates
If you plan on leaving everything to your surviving mate, you need an alternate plan in place should you both pass away together. This may occur in an accident if the two of you spend a lot of travel time together, so it is best to plan ahead just in case, so tragedy isn’t compounded by confusion over what happens to your estate.
#3 Death in a Foreign Country
If you don’t live in the country where your estate plan was formed, or you intend to travel to another country, it is important to see if anything in your estate plan conflicts with the laws of the other country you will be in. This will help things to go smoothly should you pass away while overseas.
Planning for Your Future With an Estate Planning Lawyer in California
Petrov Law Firm is here to help you include all of the contingencies you may require from your estate planning documents. To learn more, contact our San Diego or Chula Vista offices today by calling 619-344-0360.Read More