One mistake that many people make when estate planning is either leaving it up to the state to pass an inheritance on to the right people or preparing a will and then never looking at it again while going through many life changes in the meantime. Here are a few things to consider to ensure that your possessions will reach the beneficiaries you have in mind.
- Don’t leave it up to the state – The best way to avoid conflict and make things easier on your family is you have documents prepared in advance to explain who will receive your assets.
- Check your beneficiaries regularly – Once a year, you should go over all of your beneficiaries, from wills and trusts to retirement plans, POD bank accounts, and insurance policies. Make sure that all the names are spelled correctly and that the individuals listed as your beneficiaries are the ones you want to be named.
- Consider life changes that have taken place – The traditional family structure in the US has changed dramatically. If you are married to your first spouse, and all your kids are from your marriage, you are in the minority. If you have multiple spouses and kids from different relationships, you have to plan ahead in order to ensure everything doesn’t just go to your current spouse and the children the two of you have together.
Estate Planning Support in Southern California
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to get your affairs in order. Contact Petrov Law Firm at 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys. We can help you to ensure that your possessions pass on to the right people.Read More
You can have a generic will drafted and insert the names of your beneficiaries. At least you are planning ahead and not leaving things up to chance for your family. But what if you really want to put your own stamp on your estate plan and make it personal? Here are a few ideas:
- Name heirs to receive particular heirlooms – You may not think that your family has any heirlooms because nothing sentimental was left to you. However, you can start an heirloom that gets passed on for generations to come. Leave your favorite piece of jewelry or other type of valuable to a specific family member who will cherish it.
- Donate to charity – You can make your favorite charitable organization a beneficiary of some of your estate. This can allow you to make a reputable name for your family and do good for the community.
- Share your experience – From photos and handwritten letters to digital pictures, videos, and audio files, you can leave a wealth of knowledge and experience to the next generation. Share how you were able to become such a success, and maybe future generations will follow.
Develop a Personal Estate Plan in Southern California
The experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to develop an estate plan that you are proud of and that will provide joy to your family during their time of loss. To schedule a consultation, give us a call today at 619-344-0360. We’re the estate planning attorneys that San Diego residents trust.Read More
Most people think about two things when it comes to estate planning: (1) Leaving your assets to the next generation, and (2) Making sure that you have your medical wishes in order regarding end of life decisions and things of that nature. However, there is another important element to estate planning, and that is leaving a legacy behind. Here are a few tips:
- Photos and Letters – Leaving behind old family photos and handwritten or typed letters can allow you to pass on some of the family’s history to the next generation.
- Audiovisual media – By leaving recorded messages and videos for your family to watch, you ensure that future generations will not only remember you but will continue to benefit from your wealth of wisdom.
- Conditional trusts – Rather than just leaving funds directly to heirs, you can set up conditional trusts. Your successor trustee will then distribute funds when the conditions you require are met. For example, you can set funds aside for the grandchildren that will only be released for college tuition and other educational costs. Or you can encourage young entrepreneurs in your family by leaving funds to be distributed when they finally open that business they’ve been talking about for years.
Create a Family Legacy, Not Just an Estate Plan
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you in your endeavor. If you live in the state of California, give us a call at 619-344-0360 to get your estate plan started today.Read More
Sometimes people make estate planning even more complicated than it really is. At other times, people fail to understand the nuances and make errors that could easily have been avoided. Either way, there are a few key elements to making sure that your estate plan is prepared properly.
- Get it done now – The worst thing you can do with estate planning is to wait. If an emergency arises, you become incapacitated, or you pass away suddenly, it’s too late to go back and have your estate planning done in time.
- Remember to plan for medical care – Preparing your financials is one thing, but preparing an advance medical directive is another key component of estate planning.
- Review your plan on a regular basis – Not only should you review your estate plan every year, but you should also review it right away if you have a life-changing event such as a marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, etc.
If you get going on your estate plan now, remember to include medical decisions, and review your plan regularly from here on out, everything should be in order when your family needs it most.
Planning for Your Future in the San Diego Area
Petrov Law Firm is helping families with estate planning in the San Diego, Chula Vista, and North County areas. Call us today at 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation, and make sure that your plan for the future is in place today. Our expert estate planning attorneys are ready to help you get started.Read More
Last year we reported on the fact that the estate tax exemption limit doubled between 2017 and 2018. This was a sharp divergence from the usual uptick, which has been gradual for many years. As a result, the number of estates subject to taxation is even less than before. Did the trend continue in 2019? And what about tax exclusions on gifts?
Estate Tax Exemption Regulations
In 2018, any estate with a total value of under $11,180,000 was exempt from taxation under the law. That number has once again increased. While the change was back to a normal increase rather than doubling, the figure for 2019 is $11,400,000. What can you do if your estate is larger than $11.4 million and you want to avoid taxes for your heirs? One option is to distribute some of your estate while you are still alive.
Gift Exclusions in 2019
Gift exclusions have remained the same this year at $15,000 per person per year. What does that mean? You can distribute $15,000 to each person you want to give a gift to this year, and they won’t have to pay taxes on that gift. And remember that this is per person, so you can gift a couple (make sure both names are on the check) $30,000 per year tax-free.
Assistance in Avoiding Tax Penalties on Gifts and Estates
The laws are making it easier than ever to avoid taxes for heirs and the recipients of large gifts. Learn more about how to make sure your estate goes to the people you love rather than on taxes by calling 619-344-0360 to speak with the estate planning professionals at Petrov Law Firm.Read More
Sometimes our clients mistakenly believe that their spouse automatically has power of attorney. The answer to the question in our title is no, but it is important to understand why this is the case and how to correct the problem.
What Is Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney refers to a legal document that allows someone else to make decisions or sign legal documents on your behalf. For example, you may execute a power of attorney to allow someone else to sell your home without you present, to give a person access to your brokerage accounts while you are traveling abroad, or to make medical decisions for you in a situation where you are unconscious or otherwise unable to make your own choices.
When a power of attorney is executed, you determine the extent of responsibility given to the person. For example, in the scenarios noted above, you may decide that a different person will be responsible for making financial decisions than the person who is designated to make medical decisions.
Why the Confusion?
In short, people think their mate has power of attorney since many documents may already be in the names of both individuals. For example, you may both be able to write checks and make deposits on your bank account, but that is because both of you are named to the account. Your home may automatically pass to your mate if you die, but that may be because both names are on the deed.
Executing a Power of Attorney in San Diego
If you need to execute a document to give power of attorney to an individual, regardless of the scope or the timeframe, Petrov Law Firm can help. Our San Diego, Chula Vista, and North County offices are conveniently located for our southern California clients. Call 619-344-0360 to schedule an appointment.Read More
An irrevocable living trust is just one of the many ways that you can choose to leave assets to your heirs. This is a popular option for a number of reasons. Here are three things you should know about irrevocable living trusts.
- They can help you avoid probate – Trusts are cared for by a successor trustee who is designated to take care of the trust and make sure your beneficiaries get the money faster and without court fees.
- You can be the trustee while alive – This means that you can make changes to the trust on an ongoing basis (unless you choose to declare it irrevocable while still alive). This makes a living trust a popular option for people who want to be able to control what goes into the trust and who the beneficiaries are.
- The trust becomes irrevocable at death – While a trustee has a little more leeway with a regular trust, an irrevocable trust is set once you die. The successor trustee will carry out your instructions for distributing the trust in the amounts and to the individuals set forth by you.
Planning Your Estate in Chula Vista and North County
Petrov Law Firm has the experienced estate planning attorneys that Chula Vista and North County residents can trust. Start planning for the future of your family now, or have our attorneys look over your existing trust to see if it can be structured in a better manner. Call 619-344-0360 to get started and see the benefits that come from having seasoned estate planning lawyers in your corner.Read More
A conservatorship is formed when the courts decide that an individual no longer has the capacity to take care of themselves. Is there a way for you to avoid this unfortunate process should you fall victim to some sort of incapacitation or even a debilitating mental illness? Here are a couple of things you should know about California conservatorships.
- The legal term is “gravely disabled” – Therefore, there is some room for the courts to make their own determination as far as what gravely disabled entails. In the meantime, you can head things off at the pass by listing someone in your estate planning documents to care for you should you ever become gravely disabled.
- There must be sufficient proof of disability – If you are eating three meals a day, paying your rent, and keeping your body and clothing clean, it would be tough for a court to declare you gravely disabled. This means that most mental illnesses won’t result in a conservatorship.
That having been said, someone with a condition like schizophrenia who is not taking their medication properly may be disabled to the point of needing a conservatorship. In other cases, this is reserved for people in comas and other forms of complete incapacitation.
Estate Planning Attorneys in San Diego and North County
If you are looking for estate planning attorneys to help you plan for your future in San Diego or North County, then Petrov Law Firm can help. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you to designate a health care surrogate or power of attorney in advance, so the courts don’t have to. Call 619-344-0360 today to learn more.Read More
If you are presently going through or have recently been through a divorce, there are probably many things on your mind. However, you don’t want to let estate planning changes slip through the cracks. Here are a couple of important changes to make following a divorce.
- Beneficiary changes – There are some accounts that do not go through probate. For example, if your mate was listed as the beneficiary of your retirement account, life insurance policy, or a payable on death (POD) bank account, you need to change the beneficiary if you want someone other than your ex to get the money.
- Factor in children if you remarry – If you end up remarrying in the future, you don’t want any children from the first marriage to get left out. Therefore, you may need to add the children from your first marriage directly to the will or a trust. Otherwise, if you remarry and forget to adjust your estate plan, you may end up leaving everything to your second mate and their children rather than children you had with a previous mate.
Navigating Estate Planning Laws in San Diego, California
To help you get your estate planning just right so that your assets are left to the people you want to give them to, be sure to seek the assistance of the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm. Call 619-344-0360 today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced California attorneys.Read More
Probate court isn’t always a bad thing, but it can sometimes mean that your heirs will have to wait a while to get their inheritance. It can also be expensive since creditors may get their share and the courts will, of course, take a cut for fees. So how can you use your bank accounts to avoid probate? Here are a couple of ways.
- Payable on Death (POD) Accounts – If you make your bank account payable on death to a specific beneficiary, then you cut out the middleman and get your money directly to the heir. The only negative is that you will need to change the name of the beneficiary right away if you have a change of circumstances or just want someone else to get the money.
- Joint Savings or Checking Accounts – If someone else’s name is on your bank account with you, then they can continue to use the account as usual when you pass. The money is already theirs in the eyes of the bank anyway since the account is shared. This is an easy way to leave funds to someone who you trust not to take anything from you while you are alive.
California Estate Planning Attorneys
If you need help planning for your estate in the state of California, the experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. To schedule a consultation, give our San Diego office a call today at 619-344-0360. We look forward to helping you plan ahead for the future of your family.Read More