If you were worried that your beneficiaries would have to pay a lot of your estate in taxes should you pass away during 2018, you just got a lot more breathing room. While the estate tax exemption limit seems to go up a little bit each year, from 2017 to 2018 it doubled! What does that mean for you and your beneficiaries?
Do You Need to File an Estate Tax Return?
In 2018, an estate tax return is not required unless the total value of the estate exceeds $11,180,000. That means most estates are exempt from any taxation at all and beneficiaries will get to enjoy the full use of the funds being left to them. But what can you do if your estate exceeds the exemption limit?
Avoid the Estate Tax
There are a number of ways to ensure that your beneficiaries will experience the least taxation on the assets they receive when you pass on. To get help in planning your estate to leave the funds to your heirs rather than to the government, we encourage you to execute an estate plan and keep it updated by reviewing it annually.
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you execute or review your California estate plan. To schedule a consultation, contact our offices in southern California today by calling 619-344-0360. We look forward to helping you get your future plans down in writing to ensure they will be carried out.Read More
The short answer is no, but here is the reason why. A power of attorney is a document that allows you to name an agent to take financial, legal, or medical actions on your behalf (depending on the type of document that you are executing). Here are a few things your agent may do for you:
- Sell your house
- Access your brokerage accounts
- Decide whether you will accept a medical treatment
Of course, a power of attorney may not approve your agent to do all of those things. You control how much authority the agent has when you execute a power of attorney. You may execute a document that allows an agent to care for one financial or legal matter and that is all.
Your spouse only has control of assets that you share or that you have given your spouse power of attorney over. Here are some examples:
- You may give your spouse the judgment call of when to take you off of life support equipment.
- Your spouse can access a bank account that is in both of your names.
- You can make your spouse a trustee, beneficiary, executor of your will, or appoint him or her to any other number of positions.
Executing a Power of Attorney in California
So being married to you or even having a power of attorney document signed doesn’t give any one person control over all aspects of your life. You want your estate plan to clearly outline who gets control of what in the event that you are incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions for a time. Petrov Law Firm can help you to assign agents to care for necessary matters while giving you the ability to regain control should you change your mind about an agent or recover from an incapacitating ailment. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases a report on traffic safety statistics. In September 2016, that report was based on data regarding electronic device usage by drivers during the 2015 calendar year. Here are some of the shocking statistics they recorded involving hand-held device use while driving (which is illegal in most states).
- From 2014 to 2015, the number of drivers caught using their handheld devices stayed roughly the same at 2.2%.
- The greatest increase in handheld device usage while driving was spotted in rural areas and among drivers whose passengers were all at least 8 years of age.
- In the 25-69 age group, the percent of drivers using handheld devices while driving increased from 2.0% to 2.1%.
- In the 18-24 age group, the percent of drivers using handheld devices while driving increased dramatically over the past decade from 0.5% in 2006 to 4.9% in 2015.
What are young drivers doing with those devices? Some are texting or making phone calls. Others are taking selfies. Some are even on social media, live streaming their driving experience. However, this leads to real dangers. The NHTSA also reported that 3,450 people died in fatal accidents due to distracted driving and another 391,000 were injured in crashes due to these risky behaviors.
If You Have Been Injured By a Distracted Driver in Southern California
If you find yourself or a family member injured due to a distracted driver, call the personal injury attorneys at Petrov Law Firm. We can help you to seek compensation for medical bills, lost work, and other damages. To get started on your case, call 619-344-0360 today.Read More
A trip and fall accident involves stumbling over something or perhaps not raising the foot high enough to get over the hazard. What types of injuries are common in this sort of accident and what are some of the most common causes in Southern California?
Trip and Fall Injuries
When a person trips and falls, certain parts of the body are more prone to injury. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Face – If caught completely unaware, you may not have the chance to stop yourself from going face first into the ground.
- Fractures in the hand, wrist, or arm – Your first instinct when tripping is probably to throw your arms in front of you stop yourself from hitting your head. This is how most people sustain hand and arm injuries.
- Knee injuries – In a less severe accident, you may not go all the way to the ground. However, landing on one or both knees can still do a lot of damage.
Causes of Trip and Fall Accidents
Here are a few of the common ways that trip and fall injuries occur:
- An item left where it doesn’t belong
- A high door jamb
- An unmarked step up or down
- Uneven concrete or pavement
- Bunched up carpet
What to Do if You Suffer an Injury Due to a Trip and Fall in Southern California
Trip and fall accidents can happen to anyone. If you have suffered an injury and need compensation for medical costs and other losses, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360.Read More
You may have heard of the term irrevocable living trust, but the irrevocable part doesn’t necessarily come into play until later. Here are the elements of California law that you need to know regarding this popular form of estate planning.
- You are usually the trustee of your own living will. You select a successor trustee to care for the trust if you die or become incapacitated.
- You can designate the trust as irrevocable, even while you are alive. However, most people do not do this because they want to maintain full control over the trust while still alive.
- When you die, the trust becomes irrevocable. Your successor trustee cannot revoke the trust on your behalf.
An irrevocable living trust gives you control and benefits while alive and creates a good environment for your beneficiaries when you pass away since the trust does not have to go through probate. These are the primary reasons that people choose this method of estate planning.
San Diego Estate Planning Attorneys
If you are planning for your future in the state of California, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360 today. We can help you to take control of your estate and dispense it according to your wishes. Planning for the future is important, and we want to help you ensure that your wishes are carried out properly. Whether you are starting your first estate plan or revising an existing one, contact Petrov Law Firm for the legal advice you need.Read More
What is a conservatorship? This is a provision that is made to care for financial and other matters when a person is determined by the courts to be incapable of caring for his or herself. But does this mean that you are doomed to a conservatorship being put in place if you are suffering from a mental illness? Not necessarily. Here are a couple of things to consider:
- In order for a conservatorship to be forced upon a person, they must be “gravely disabled.” While it is up to the court to determine what that means, there has to be proof that you can’t take proper care of yourself due to the mental illness.
- There must be proof that you cannot provide for your own basic needs. Basic needs include acquiring things such as clothing, food, and shelter. In many cases, a person suffering from a mental illness can still hold down a job, find a place for rent, afford suitable clothing, and keep the pantry stocked.
There are cases when mental illness can be so severe that a person is unable to obtain these necessities properly. For example, an uncontrolled case of schizophrenia may leave a person homeless and severely deprived of proper food or clothing. On the other hand, someone else with the exact same condition may experience similar symptoms but have it under control to the point of being able to function autonomously.Read More
When a person suffers a slip and fall injury, a settlement usually takes place. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before signing a settlement agreement and before rejecting one. Here are two important things to remember.
- You only get one shot. Once you sign the settlement agreement, it will protect the defendant from further lawsuits. So to be sure you are getting the full compensation you deserve, you should seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney before signing anything. Many people try to reach a settlement themselves to avoid paying out a cut to an attorney, but the amount they get shortchanged would have more than paid the legal fees.
- You only have two years to file suit in a slip and fall case in California. That means you need to hire an attorney right away in case things do go to court. Once those two years are up, all settlements will be off the table because opposing counsel will know that you can no longer sue, no matter how serious your injuries were.
The Help You Need for a Slip and Fall Accident in Southern California
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury in the Chula Vista or San Diego areas, contact Petrov Law Firm today at 619-344-0360. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you to maximize your settlement and keep you from missing out on receiving compensation due to allowing the statue of limitations to lapse.Read More
Driving distracted is responsible for thousands of deaths each year. The state of California has laws in place to discourage this practice when it comes to the use of cell phones by a driver. Here are the ones you should know about.
- Since 2008, hand-held devices cannot be used while driving. If you are over 18, you can use a hands-free device.
- There is no texting and driving whatsoever in California. This law was passed in 2009 and includes the writing, sending, and reading of text messages.
- As noted above, the law prohibits those under the age of 18 from even using a hands-free device while driving.
While these laws should instill the importance of avoiding distracted driving, many drivers still seem to insist that those laws are in place for someone else and that they can drive distracted without consequences. If you ever find yourself in a vehicle with someone who allows themselves to be distracted by a mobile device, don’t be afraid to speak up – you may just save a life.
Car Accident Injury Attorneys in San Diego
If you are injured in an auto accident in the San Diego, California area, Petrov Law Firm can help. Speak to one of our experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys today by calling 619-344-0360 to schedule an appointment. We can help you to recoup your losses, especially if the driver who caused the accident was distracted by a cell phone.Read More
Any time you have a major change in your life circumstances, you should review your estate plan, and a divorce certainly counts. Here are a few things to consider regarding your estate plan if you recently or currently are going through a divorce.
- Don’t forget the kids if you remarry – If you get remarried there is a risk of all of your estate going to the new mate and children, so don’t forget to include any kids from the previous marriage when you plan your estate.
- Changing beneficiaries – Not everything goes through probate, so if you have retirement accounts, a life insurance policy, or trusts with a named beneficiary, you want to be sure you change the primary beneficiary to reflect your new situation.
- Settling quickly – If a divorce settlement is still in progress when you pass away, this can tie up your estate indefinitely in probate court, so be sure to clear up and potential legal conflicts with a finalized settlement as soon as possible.
Help in Developing or Updating Your California Estate Plan
The experienced estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to plan for your future with a comprehensive estate plan that takes good care of your beneficiaries. We can also help you to update an existing estate plan whether due to a change in circumstances, like a divorce, or even something simple such as being a recent move-in into the state of California. Call 619-344-0360 today to schedule an appointment and get your affairs in order.Read More
The words probate court probably have you envisioning huge wait times and losses for your heirs. While this is not always the case, it can be, so we’re going to look at a simple way to cut out the middleman, as it were. Here is how you can use bank accounts to avoid probate.
- POD Accounts – You can set a bank account to be payable on death. This allows the account to transfer directly to the named beneficiary without going through probate. Keep in mind that you need to remember to change the beneficiary if you have a change in circumstance and want a different person to inherit the account. Otherwise, this will go to the named beneficiary, regardless of how your wishes may have changed.
- Retirement Accounts – Retirement accounts generally require a named beneficiary. These also transfer automatically when the account holder passes away. This is another situation that involves reviewing and updating your estate plan regularly to ensure the right people are listed as your beneficiaries.
- Shared Bank Accounts – Anyone you share an account with would obviously still have access to it if you pass away. The main downside to this type of account is that the other individuals could do whatever they want with the money even while they are still alive.
Planning for Your Estate and Probate in California
To help money transfer quickly and seamlessly to your heirs in California, contact the Petrov Law Firm today. You can speak to an experienced estate planning attorney in San Diego by calling 619-344-0360 and scheduling an appointment.Read More