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
In June of 2016, a new law went into effect in the state of California. This law, signed by the governor in the fall of 2015, involves medical aid in the death of terminally ill individuals in the state. Thus, California joined its neighbor to the north, Oregon, in assisting dying patients in ending their sufferering through medical means. Awareness of this new law means that many California families should be having a frank discussion before the end of life scenarios arise.
Whether or Not to Amend an Existing Health Care Directive
If you have an existing health care directive that outlines who will execute end of life decisions for you should you become incapacitated, as well as outlining what those decisions are, you may need to have a frank discussion with your power of attorney about your choices. If you want to amend your directive to take advantage of the End of Life Option Act should you become terminally ill, you need to communicate with your designated decision-maker to ensure that he or she is comfortable carrying out your wishes. Assisted death is a very touchy subject for some, as is indicated by a letter that the American College of Physicians sent to the California governor urging him to veto what they called “the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.”
Getting Help with Estate Planning
Drafting a healthcare directive is an important part of estate planning. The compassionate lawyers at Petrov Law Firm can help you to be certain that your wishes are carried out in the event you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for yourself. To learn more about how to execute such a directive, please 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
As of January 1, 2017, Medi-Cal laws have changed in the state of California. The primary difference involves a way the state intends to recovery much of the funds its Medicaid program pays out. Keep in mind that Covered California is the ACA’s manifestation in the state, and the same recovery laws don’t apply. Medi-Cal is the state-funded Medicaid program.
How California Intends to Recover Medi-Cal Funds
When a person who has received Medi-Cal benefits passes away, the state can seek recovery of some of the funds paid out while assets are in probate. Here’s an example of how it would work.
Let’s say a widowed woman named Mary own’s a home in California. Late in life, she receives $100,000 in Medi-Cal funds to cover time she spends in a nursing facility. When she dies, her home goes into probate and is sold for $300,000. The state takes back the $100,000. Mary’s adult heirs are thus left with $200,000.
That’s just a simplified version of how the process works. Basically, if a person dies without a spouse or minor children, numerous expenses could be recouped by the state and reduce the inheritance that heirs receive.
Smart Estate Planning Avoids Medi-Cal Recovery
Medi-Cal recovery won’t affect a family trust. This is because the trust doesn’t go to probate, so the state never has the opportunity to stake a claim on funds. This makes estate planning an important factor for anyone who is benefiting from the Medi-Cal system. Using a trust instead of a will is a great way to make sure your loved ones get your entire estate, rather than paying back your Medicaid benefits posthumously during probate.
The Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you determine how to make sure your family gets your estate, rather than having to share it with the state. Just call 619-344-0360 to start your estate planning today.Read More
There are many ways to get tax benefits from charitable donations. However, not every person who makes charity a part of estate planning is doing so for the tax break. This is also the opportunity to make a real difference for a non-profit organization and leave a lasting legacy. What are the 3 major types of charitable organizations, and how can you make charity part of your estate plan?
3 Types of Non-Profit Organizations
For those who are also thinking about tax benefits of contributing, we’re going to go through this list in order from least tax advantages to the most.
- Private Foundations – These groups are usually privately funded by one family, although they may accept contributions from others. This is the simplest form of non-profit to organize and also has minimal tax benefits for donors. These foundations do not engage in charitable work directly but do forward funds to public charities.
- Private Operating Foundations – These foundations are still private, but they do engage in charitable acts directly. The main difference is the percent of funds that are privately contributed versus publicly.
- Public Charities – These are organizations that are funded by the general public. Less than half of their funds can come from large donations made by companies or individuals. These organizations are what most of us think of when we envision donating to charity. This is also the best way to get tax benefits from donating.
How to Leave Money to Your Favorite Charity
Depending on the charity itself, some may prefer a trust and others may prefer a donation via a will. The benefits of using a trust include the money avoiding probate. You can select one specific charity or an entire portfolio of non-profits that you would like to make a contribution to, so don’t feel tied down if you are having trouble deciding who to leave your contributions to.
Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you make charity a part of your estate plan. Just call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys.Read More
If you are a resident of the state of California, there is something you need to know about present estate tax laws and the possibility of future federal and state regulation changes. Before addressing these changes, it is important to note that this article is for informational purposes and is not an editorial opinion on the part of our law firm.
Here are the facts:
- There presently is no state tax on estates in California. California does not impose any additional taxes on top of the federal estate tax.
- 2017 federal estate tax exemption is $5.49 million. That means your heirs will not pay federal taxes on inherited assets including either estate tax or gift tax.
- Federal estate tax could potentially be repealed. The current president of the United States has suggested that he wants to repeal the estate tax entirely so that the federal government does not take any taxes on inherited funds regardless of the sum.
- If the federal estate tax is repealed, California may implement a state estate tax. State Sen. Scott Wiener has already introduced a bill to introduce an estate tax for the state of California. The idea is that the state can recapture this money freed up by tax cuts offered to the wealthy by the federal government for use by the state, especially for use in education, healthcare, and public transportation and roadways according to a statement made by the senator.
How Estate Tax Changes May Affect You and Your Family
If you are leaving a large estate to family or other heirs, planning your estate properly is more vital than ever. As of now, the federal estate tax on funds exceeding $5.49 million is at 40%. If that number is eliminated by the present administration, it is not known whether California will adopt a statewide estate tax. If this occurs, it is not yet known the percent that will be taxed or how much of an estate will remain tax-free. As this situation continues to develop, working together with an estate planning attorney with your best interests at heart may become even more vital.
Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help ensure that that your heirs receive the maximum amount of your estate. Please call 619-344-0360 today to schedule a consultation.Read More
Giving someone power of attorney mean that they have the authority to act on your behalf in situations legally outlined by you. For example, you may provide someone with power of attorney regarding your medical decisions should you be unconscious and unable to make decisions for yourself. Or you may choose to give someone the ability to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters, especially in connection with estate planning and financial decisions that may need to be made if you suffer from mental deterioration later in life.
The big problem people often run into when it comes to providing power of attorney is that many people decide to draw up papers using examples they see online rather than having a lawyer draft a legal document. Also, sometimes choosing the wrong person can cause issues. As a result, problems can arise involving the following situations:
- Power of attorney is not used in line with a person’s wishes. For example, a man may remarry later on in life and give his new wife power of attorney. She may use this authority to ensure her children receive all of the family’s inheritance, cutting out children from previous marriages.
- The documents were executed incorrectly. The person who is supposed to have power of attorney wants to act as requested. However, because paperwork was handled improperly, he or she legally does not have power of attorney.
These are just a couple of examples of ways that power of attorney issues can make a mess of one’s estate. So the question to ask yourself is: Is it time to update my power of attorney?
Ensure Power of Attorney Documentation Is Accurate
To avoid the problems noted above and other estate planning issues, come and see us at Petrov Law Firm. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you to update your power of attorney documentation to ensure the right person has the correct amount of authority and that documents are legally drafted and executed. Call 619-344-0360 to get started now.Read More
Estate planning is subject to different laws by state, so it is important to know how things such as Wills, Trusts, and Probate work in your home state. An estate planning attorney can be of great assistance in this regard, but here are 3 things to help you get started.
If You Have a Will, Your Estate Still Goes Through Probate
Some people are under the misconception that as long as they execute a Will, heirs automatically receive the inheritance. The fact is that even if you have a Will, you have to determine an executor who will take care of the probate process and help to ensure that your desires are carried out. How long the process will take depends on numerous factors.
Trustees Can Only Be Removed in Superior Court
That is where the probate division of court matters is handled. Some states will allow a person to utilize the civil court system to take action against a Trustee or to take care of other Trust matters. In California, civil suits cannot be filed for estate matters.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will or Other Estate Planning?
Intestacy law is a division of law that constitutes the state’s rules of inheritance. In California, the order of inheritance is: spouse, direct descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), parents, siblings, grandparents. However, other factors may complicate this succession.
Taking Control of Your Estate Planning
Petrov Law Firm can help you to take control of your estate planning and navigate the many state and federal statutes that are involved. Call 619-344-0360 to get started on your plans.Read More