A living trust is an essential component of a modern estate plan that protects your assets for your family or other beneficiaries. However, if you had your living trust drafted years ago, there may be some elements that will do more harm than good. Here are some reasons why you should review and update your trust periodically.
- Are new assets in the trust? – When you first formed the trust, you had to add your assets into it. However, if you have new accounts, properties, and other assets since then, you need to add them.
- Special needs of beneficiaries – Review the wording regarding your beneficiaries. Most people don’t want assets going to an adult child’s ex-spouse (unless they have the grandkids). Be careful with the structure of the trust if your loved one receives a government check (for example, if they are on disability). You don’t want your generous gift to negatively impact their income.
- Changes in your retirement accounts – It could be the accounts attached to the trust, or just the sheer amount of assets if you have done really well in recent years, that impact your estate planning. Remember that laws regarding how much time your beneficiaries have to take the assets from your retirement accounts has changed, and this can have major tax implications.
Get the Help You Need to Update a Living Trust in California
Petrov Law Firm has experienced estate planning attorneys who can help whether you need to set up a new estate plan or modify an existing plan. Call 619.344.0360 to get started today.Read More
A living trust can help maximize the benefits your family gains from your estate planning. Here are some of the advantages of this method of financial planning.
- Affordable – While it is much cheaper simply to have a will than to set up a trust, you still have to factor in things like the time and money that will go to probate court. A trust gets the money to the right heirs faster and with minimal costs.
- Flexible – Some people avoid trusts because they think their estate is too small. However, this is a very flexible form of estate planning. The size of your estate doesn’t really matter – it won’t be too large or too small. Plus, if you have a sudden change in the size of your estate, a trust is equipped to handle it.
- Retain control – A living trust allows you to keep control of all your assets while you are still alive. It is not shared, such as when having a family member’s name on your accounts. The money or assets are not locked into the estate. You can add or remove what is in the trust at your own discretion and buy or sell as you please.
Southern California’s Estate Planning Attorneys
Keep in mind that the laws of succession are different from state to state, so you will want to find a local estate attorney, especially if you have just moved to California from another state. Petrov Law Firm in San Diego can help. Give us a call at 619.344.0360 to start your estate plan or review and update an existing plan.Read More
One thing you will come across when researching estate planning is the ability to use a living trust to control your assets while you are alive and then leave them to your family later. Is this really a beneficial method of estate planning? Yes! However, there are some misconceptions that cause people to shy away. Let’s debunk a few.
- Myth: It’s too expensive – While it is true that an attorney will charge more to draft a living trust than a standard will, the savings will come for your family. Rapid transfer of assets without the costs of probate court makes an initial fee more than worth it.
- Myth: My estate isn’t large enough – If your estate isn’t huge, that is all the more reason to leave it all to your family and not to the court system. Probate court will absorb a larger percentage of a smaller estate, and it will waste valuable time.
- Myth: I will lose control of my assets – Not with a living or revocable trust. You are free to do whatever you want with your things while you are still alive. An irrevocable trust is a different story, but the tax advantages are beneficial if you do have an extremely large estate.
Preparing an Effective Estate Plan in Southern California
Petrov Law Firm has the estate planning attorneys to help you prepare for the future of your loved ones. Let us assist you in finding the most efficient way to leave behind an estate of any size. Call 619.344.0360 to get started today.Read More
An irrevocable living trust can be a vital part of your estate planning. How can you get the most from this useful tool? Here are a few things to consider.
- The right successor trustee is crucial – When you die, your living trust becomes irrevocable. That means the decisions you have previously made regarding the trust will stand. Who will carry out those wishes? The successor trustee will do so. Therefore, it is essential to appoint someone who can handle the responsibility and who is trustworthy.
- Control your assets while you are still living – The successor trustee won’t play a role in the trust until after you pass away. While you are still alive, you can exert control over the trust and do as you see fit with your assets.
- Avoid probate for beneficiaries – Probate court can cause issues for your beneficiaries. For example, the assets may be tied up for a long time if there are disputes. This can drain your estate of funds that should go to your heirs. Probate is also public record, so anyone can look up what your beneficiaries received from your estate. Setting up a trust avoids these issues.
Estate Planning Attorneys in San Diego
From North County to Chula Vista, San Diego residents can turn to Petrov Law Firm for all of your estate planning needs. To learn more, give our experienced attorneys a call today at 619.344.0360. We look forward to helping you successfully plan ahead for the future of your family.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
Did you know that gifts can be taxed once they reach a certain value in a calendar year? That’s why gifting trusts exist. By sending gifts that exceed the exclusion amount to a gifting trust, you add to a beneficiary’s trust and don’t get hit with a huge tax penalty. Here are four types of gifting trusts that each have specific benefits.
- Gift Trust with Annual Exclusions – This is how you get around the gift exemption amount. You put anything that you gift above the exclusion amount into a trust for the individual. The money isn’t immediately available, but it also doesn’t get taxed into oblivion.
- Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT) – This trust can be used to transfer a family business to another member of the family and offer protection from creditors for the beneficiary.
- Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) – Are you looking to leave money to a charity rather than family? This is a form of gift trust that is specifically designed to gain tax benefits for the estate when you leave money to the charity of your choice.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) – This is a way to transfer a home to your children at a value that is far lower than the current market value. It provides tax benefits as well as asset protection for the house.
More Generous Gifting Solutions in California
If you are making generous gifts to your beneficiaries or you want to plan for your future in other ways, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm are happy to help. Contact us today at 619-344-0360 to get started on your estate plan.Read More
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways that a shady trustee can get away with no liability under California Law. What are a few things that you need to know in order to cover yourself? Here are some ways to keep from getting scammed if your trustee goes rogue.
Full-Disclosure Is Your Best Friend
The fact is that unless the trustee fully discloses the details of a transaction, you can’t provide valid release or consent. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you do receive full disclosure, it is up to you to catch a bad transaction before providing consent or release. If the disclosure was made to you in writing, you don’t even have to consent in order for your trustee to be free from a lawsuit. And there is a timeframe to think about as well. You only have 3 years to file your lawsuit after the transaction is disclosed to you in writing.
By the way, this does not include things like exculpation, which basically allows a trustee to get away with negligence, and equity, which allows a probate court to side with the trustee even if the trustee is at fault. So how can you keep a trustee accountable for how the trust is handled?
If You Need to Call a Trustee to Account
The Petrov Law Firm is ready and willing to help you defend your trust and hold a trustee accountable for his or her actions. The fact is that equity can work for you as well. You just need to convince the courts that siding with you over the trustee is fair and just. That’s where having an experienced law firm in your corner comes in. Give us a call at 619-344-0360 today to set up a consultation.
Legally, of course, there are no differences anymore in estate planning or asset control. (However 200 years ago, women in the US had virtually no rights to own property or assets.) Practically speaking, however, woman in the US are poised to inherit a significant amount of money and property over the next thirty years.
Women live longer than men. For many women in the 60s and 70s they have already inherited money from their parents. And because women live longer than men, these same women are set to inherit yet another estate from their husbands.
Because of gender role assignments in the 1950s, some of these women have not been exposed to significant financial planning throughout their lives. And while no one is ever too old to learn about asset management, trying to understand complex estate issues would be difficult for anyone in a time of grieving.
Women also tend to make different spending and estate planning choices from men. Women tend to travel more and are more likely to donate to charities. An estate planner can include charitable donations as part of an estate plan, frequently helping make the financial contribution higher given forethought and planning.
Women are frequently living into their 90s. And while inheriting money from parents and husbands will help make those years easier financially, an estate planner can ensure a continuous stream of income to account for that longevity.Read More
Trusts are a common way to pass assets along without worrying about probate court and probate costs. Generally, your lawyer will use a trust to legally hold your assets (like your house and your major investment accounts). Every trust has a grantor (also known as a settlor or trustor), a trustee, and (one or more) beneficiaries.
The grantor, settlor, or trustor is the person who created the trust by contributing assets. This person will never change. Even after death, the grantor of the trust remains the same.
The trustee manages the assets. When you create the trust, you can name yourself as the trustee of the trust. At any point, you can change the person who is named as the trustee. As part of your estate plan, you and your lawyer should name a primary and secondary successor. As soon as you become incapacitated or die, the primary trustee will take over administration of the trust.
The beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust receives the benefits of the assets. Again, you can be the beneficiary of the trust when you create it and while you are alive. You can name as many people as you’d like to be beneficiaries of your trust, and one of these beneficiaries can also be a trustee of the trust.
At any point, you can hold all three positions of a trust you created. Your trust can exist forever and you can structure the trust so that there will always be a trustee to manage the funds for whomever you or the trustee see fit.Read More