Probate court can drain valuable resources from your estate and cause your loved ones to have to wait to receive their inheritance. How can you fast track some of the funds that your family will need when you pass away? The type of bank accounts that you use can help. Here are two to consider:
- Joint accounts – This is the best option for couples. You can share the bank account. If something happens to one of you, the other will retain access to the account. The only downside to joint accounts is that anyone else on the account has access to the funds at any time, even while you are still alive, which is why this is not a common account for other relationships besides marriage mates.
- Payable on death (POD) accounts – This option is better when you want someone to inherit the money immediately if something happens to you, but you don’t want them accessing your funds while you are still alive. You name a beneficiary who receives the remaining account funds when you pass away. Just remember that you have to change the beneficiary name immediately if you want someone else to get the money. There will be no way for anyone to contest the beneficiary after you die.
Southern California’s Estate Planning Experts
Petrov Law Firm can help you to have things in order well in advance of any emergency situations or end of life decisions. This can give you and your family peace of mind. Call 619.344.0360 to discuss your options with an experienced estate planning attorney.Read More
The novel coronavirus has a lot of people thinking about the future of their family and estate. The good news is that couples have a lot of great estate planning options available to them in California. Here are a few situations that call for specific types of trusts.
- You have a very large estate – An A/B trust can help to protect your estate when it is large enough to be impacted by the estate tax. Obviously, this is rare, but the option exists for those fortunate enough to be in this category.
- You want to leave everything to the one and only mate you have ever had – A survivor’s trust is perfect if you want to leave your spouse everything, and you have not been previously married to anyone else.
- You have a blended family or a smaller estate – A survivor’s trust with QTIP is good for remarried individuals and those who don’t have as much to leave to their family.
There are also additional options for people who fall into very specific categories, such as the marital disclaimer trust. Hiring an experienced estate planning attorney will help you to understand which estate planning documents are the best for you and your loved ones.
Southern California’s Estate Planning Attorneys
If you are planning for an estate in or near the San Diego area, contact Petrov Law Firm at 619.344.0360. We can help you to customize an estate plan to meet your family’s unique situation.Read More
Trusts can help your estate to bypass probate court. This allows your beneficiaries to receive the full amount you leave to them without having to wait or pay court fees. What are a few types of trusts that you may not know about?
- QPRT – A qualified personal residence trust allows you to transfer ownership of a property that you own to a family member without them having to pay the current value. This protects your assets while you are still alive, and it offers tax benefits for you now.
- IDGT – An intentionally defective grantor trust is the way to pass a family business to a beneficiary. It also offers some protection against creditors for the family. So if you have a business and want to keep business and personal assets separate, this is an important trust to know.
- CRT – A charitable remainder trust is one to know if you want to leave some of your estate to charity. Additionally, your beneficiaries may receive tax benefits if you leave part of your estate to a charity in this way, so it benefits your family while doing a good deed for the community.
Gifting Through Trusts to Protect Your Assets
Petrov Law Firm wants to help you ensure that the maximum amount of your estate goes to your beneficiaries rather than being wasted on court fees, high taxes, and other things that can cut into an inheritance. Call 619.344.0360 to discuss options for working on your estate now.Read More
At the time of the writing of this article, California already has more than 4,000 cases of coronavirus. With nearly 25,000 deaths globally due to this pandemic, you can’t afford to leave the future of your family to chance. Here are two important steps to take regarding your estate plan (or lack thereof) in California.
- Get started today – If you don’t already have an estate plan in place, now is the time to jump into action. Don’t assume you are too young to be affected either. Parents especially need to take care to protect their mate or minor children by means of a competent estate plan.
- Review your existing plan – If you already have an estate plan, now is the time to review it to ensure that your current wishes are stated clearly. Now is not the time to accidentally have an ex as your retirement fund beneficiary or to have an estate plan that never changed when you moved from one state to another (each state has its own laws regarding estate planning). You always want to be certain that your medical wishes are up to date.
Planning Ahead Is Not Alarmist – It’s Smart
We hope that you and your family enjoy your time at home together during this pandemic without incident, but the course of wisdom is to be prepared. If you need to begin or update an estate plan in southern California, Petrov Law Firm can help. Call 619.344.0360 to get in touch with an estate planning attorney today.Read More
If all you have is a last will and testament (or worse – nothing at all), then when you pass on, your estate will have to go through probate court. Of course, probate is there for a reason. It’s not all bad. However, there are some excellent reasons to try and pass as much as possible to your heirs without this provision. Here are a few reasons:
- It can affect how much your beneficiaries receive – Probate court isn’t free. The longer the money stays tied up, the more court costs will consume, leaving less for your loved ones.
- It is a matter of public record – Sadly, we have to worry about scams and thieves. That is the world we live in today. If it is on public record what you left to your family members, it could result in criminals targeting your heirs.
- It can result in delayed receipt of assets – Your beneficiaries may not even receive their inheritance for months or years after you pass away. This is especially true if there is no will or if the will was poorly written, and it ends up contested in court.
Estate Planning Attorneys in San Diego
You can keep much of your estate out of probate court by having your estate planning handled professionally. Call the experienced attorneys of Petrov Law Firm today at 619.344.0360 to learn more. Whether you need to start your estate plan from scratch or update an existing plan, we’re here to help residents of southern California.Read More
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
In California, if you have an estate worth more than $150,000 and no will, the estate has to pass through probate court and will be subject to fees. And probate fees can by high. For example, an estate worth $250,000 will get charged $8,000 in probate fees. The best way to avoid probate court and probate fees is to have a lawyer create a thorough will. And you need to keep that will up to date.
Even if you have an estate worth less than $150,000, you should have a will. Passing away without a will is a good way to create problems in your family. However, if you want to know how to calculate the value of your estate as seen by the probate court, use the following guide for identifying exclusions:
• California does not include any property you own out of state
• You do not include any property with joint tenancy.
• You do not include any community property with right of survivorship.
• You only include half the value of any other community property.
• Life insurance is not considered part of your estate.
• Cars are not included in the calculation.
• Financial accounts with multiple owners are not included in the calculation.
• Assets held in a trust are usually not included.
If you use the general guidelines above and find that your estate is close to the $150,000 mark, don’t risk probate court fees. Hire a lawyer. The money you invest up front is well worth the savings to your estate.Read More
If you die without a will, it’s very possible that your family will have to wait for a probate court to review your assets and distribute them according to state laws. While a will is a good way to avoid probate courts, you can consult with your estate planning attorney to review a few of the other options for you.
Assets such as a 401k, life insurance policy, and an annuity have beneficiary designations. Upon your death, these kinds of accounts generally do not have to pass through probate. The beneficiaries will have to do little more than to prove their identity and show a death certificate to take possession of the asset. Some states allow this same kind of benefit with bank accounts and investment accounts. These can be called a Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD) account. A life estate deed is an option for avoiding probate for real estate.
Review the legal implications of how you hold real estate. There are several options for how to hold real estate. For example, if your deed says “Tenants in Common” your real estate will have to pass through probate before it can be distributed. You can consult with an estate planner to ensure your assets are properly designated.
Lastly, you can avoid probate by giving all of your assets away before you die. Luckily, you can put a lot of your assets into a trust (there are several kinds) that will benefit whomever you choose during your life and afterward. An estate attorney can help you create the proper kind of trust for you and your family.Read More