In our years of estate planning expertise, we’ve just about seen it all. This allows us to help our clients avoid the common pitfalls that affect many estate plans. Here are a few things to watch out for.
- Not Doing It – No one wants to think about his or her own mortality, but you are only hurting your loved ones by not having a plan in place. You don’t have to wait until you are a senior citizen to plan ahead for your future. And should some tragedy cut your life short, having an estate plan in place can make things a lot easier on the people you care about most.
- Neglecting Medical Planning – Estate planning is not all about assets. You also want to make advanced medical decisions. This gives you the opportunity to appoint an agent to champion your medical decisions or to make decisions for you should you become incapacitated for a time.
- Never Reviewing Your Plan – Our lives can change in an instant. A birth, a marriage, an adoption, a divorce, a financial reversal – these are all things that can have a profound effect on an estate plan. Be sure to review your plan every year to make sure it still accurately reflects your wishes and review it immediately when you experience a major life event like those listed above.
Plan for Your Future the Right Way
Petrov Law Firm offers the experienced California estate planning attorneys that you need in order to plan ahead for your future and protect your assets and rights. To learn more, contact us for a consultation at 619-344-0360 today.Read More
You have the freedom to make advance decisions as to whether you want to have your life prolonged should there be a reasonable degree of medical certain that you will not regain consciousness, your condition is irreversible and fatal, or the risks of treatment would outweigh the benefits. With that in mind, how you word your advance directive plays a key role in whether your wishes will be observed.
An advance health care directive needs to be a part of your estate planning. This document allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. It also allows you to state your medical wishes in advance on sensitive topics such as end of life decisions.
This document makes the process simpler for the person you designate as your health care surrogate. Your decision is already made. All he or she has to do is make sure your medical wishes are carried out by giving you a voice when you can’t speak for yourself.
Help in Preparing Your Advance Health Care Directive
Your decisions should be yours to make. However, if they are not executed properly, someone may be able to object when you can’t defend your wishes. Petrov Law Firm can help you to word your advance directive clearly and in harmony with California state law. Every state requires different wording for health care directives, so even if you have moved into California with an existing document, it needs to be updated right away. Call 619-344-0360 to get the help you need.Read More
Most people realize the importance of setting up a power of attorney to care for financial matters should they become incapacitated for a time. However, healthcare is frequently overlooked. This is a sensitive area and many people, even family members, will disagree on the type of medical care they want. With that in mind, here are 3 documents you need in case you are ever incapacitated and need medical care.
- Advance Healthcare Directive – Your healthcare directive allows you to designate a health care agent who can make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated for a time. It also gives you the opportunity to leave instructions for your health care agent so that you are still making your own medical decisions. The health care agent is therefore just carrying out your wishes until a situation comes up that you haven’t accounted for. Then he or she will step in to make those decisions for you.
- Living Will – This gives you the opportunity to express additional wishes in regard to end of life decisions. For example, you can determine whether or not you want your life to be prolonged by machines, even if there is relatively little hope of being revived.
- HIPPA Authorization – You need to give health care practitioners the legal right to share your medical information with your health care agents as having access to your records will make it much easier to make decisions in harmony with your wishes.
Planning for Your Future Health in California
Whether you have an estate plan that addresses financial matters but not health or you need to start from scratch, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. Give us a call today at 619-344-0360 to ensure that your wishes will be carried out, not just after your death but even while you are alive should you become incapacitated.Read More
California’s Health Care Decisions Act makes an advanced healthcare directive (AHCD) an important part of your estate planning in California. What are some of the things you need to know about this act? What does it allow you to do? Why do you want the document to be legally executed? Here is what you need to know.
- Your Current Directive May Not Be Valid – If you have had an AHCD for a long time, you will want to check and make sure that it meets the current state guidelines. During a medical emergency is not when you want to find out that your AHCD hasn’t been valid for years.
- Appointing a Health Care Agent – This document allows you to appoint a health care agent who can make decisions for you should you become incapacitated. It also allows you to prepare instructions for your healthcare in advance, including end of life decisions.
- Your Decisions Can’t Be Altered by Someone Else – Neither your health care agent nor your doctor can override the explicit instructions you provide in your advance healthcare This allows you to take control of your healthcare choices.
- You Have to Mentally Competent – Now is the time to execute this document. You must be an adult (over 18) and mentally competent at the time the document is executed in order for it to be legally binding.
- You Can Make Changes at Any Time – All you have to do is provide your doctor with a written document that revokes your AHCD, and it becomes invalid. You can also issue a new document to replace your old one any time your wishes changes as long as you are still mentally competent at the time.
Help in Protecting Your Right to Make and Enforce Healthcare Choices
At Petrov Law Firm, we take seriously each individual’s right to make his or her own medical decisions. Including an AHCD as a part of your estate planning is a vital part of making these decisions in advance in the state of California. To learn more, contact our team today by calling 619-344-0360.Read More
Advanced medical directives help maintain a person’s right to self-determine and to make medical decisions in advance while in the proper frame of mind so that health decisions can be carried out in accordance with his or her wishes if unconscious or no longer in a proper state of mind to make such decisions. One type of medical directive is a psychiatric care directive.Who can benefit most from this type of legal document?
Who Benefits from a Psychiatric Care Directive?
First of all, it is important to note that one does not to be suffering from any form of mental illness to have this type of directive. The document is in place to determine a person’s desires should he or she ever suffer from a mental disorder in the future. It can outline things such as desired forms of treatment as well as name persons who can make healthcare decisions on his or her behalf should the need arise.
If an individual suffers from a mental disorder, it is important for the person to be in the right frame of mind when the document is executed in order for it to be legal. If a person is deemed mentally incapacitated at the time the document is executed, it may be considered void.
Legal Advice Regarding Advanced Medical Directives
If you intend to execute any type of advanced medical directive, the estate planning attorneys at the Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help. This will ensure that the documents are executed properly, and your wishes will be upheld during a medical emergency whether psychiatric or otherwise.
When someone has a will only and does not make use of a trust, the majority of the person’s assets will end up going through probate after his death. However, California law protects certain assets from going through probate. That means these assets will automatically pass to certain individuals. Which assets fall into this category? There are 4 specific groupings.
Life Insurance Policies – Your named beneficiary will be paid directly by the life insurance company.
Retirement and Pension Plans – IRAs and other retirement accounts will automatically pass to the beneficiary that you have named.
POD (Payable on Death) Accounts – When a POD account is set up, you select the beneficiary who will receive the account upon your death. These funds, therefore, do not go through probate as other bank accounts may.
Joint Tenancy Properties – Joint tenancy properties can include things such as a home, vehicle, or even a bank account. The advantage of having both names on a deed, title, or bank account is that these assets then avoid probate. The disadvantage is that creditors may be able to go after these assets for debts owed by the deceased.
Making Trust and Will Decisions in California
In order to keep your family from long and expensive probate battles, you may choose to use a trust to pass on your estate. However, the four means noted above also hasten the process and avoid probate even if you use a will only. Which option is best for you? The estate planning lawyers at the Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you make these decisions so that your loved ones will be well cared for when you are gone.Read More
If you are left unconscious by an accident or illness, how can you protect your right of self-determination in the state of California? It is of vital important to have an advanced health care directive legally filled out in advance. What is involved in completing this legal document?
A Document Specific to the State of California
First of all, it is important to note that heath care directives differ from state to state, so you need the wording to be appropriate for your home state, and a lawyer with experience in advanced health care directives can help you to execute this document properly to ensure your wishes are followed.
Second, you need to select the individual (or individuals) responsible for upholding your wishes if you are not conscious to do so yourself. This can be a family member, a reliable friend, or anyone else you trust to uphold your stated decisions. It is important to note that you cannot select a health care provider, your provider’s employee (unless related), or someone who works for any kind of community or residential care facility (again, unless related).
What Does the Directive Accomplish?
In your advanced medical directive, you can outline the types of medical treatment you will or will not accept as well as end of life decisions. This can make such decisions easier for loved ones since they will know your wishes in advance rather than having to make a decision on their own during a time of mourning. The directive also ensures that you will not receive treatments you may find offensive or do not wish to receive for some other reason.
What can happen if you do not have such a document? In the case of you being unable to make a decision (loss of consciousness, etc.) your medical decisions may be made by a distant relative, your doctor, or even a court order from a judge. These individuals may have no idea how you feel about certain forms of treatment. Thus, an advanced medical directive protects your legal right to make health care decisions for yourself.Read More
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to spell out your decisions for end-of-life care ahead of time. A clearly drafted advance directive will make your wishes clear to your family, friends, and health care professionals and will circumvent any confusion with your care and treatment should you become unable to speak for yourself. In a sense, it is one face of a living will as it gives direction for your medical care.
Typically when we think of creating living wills and advance directives, we imagine an elderly person who may be ill and hospitalized and is in need of legal documents outlining how everything should be taken care of once they are unable to make the decisions themselves. However, it is a good idea to consider an advance directive earlier on in life. By thinking ahead and outlining a plan for care before you find yourself in a compromising situation, you will be in a clear state of mind to designate the steps you would like for your loved ones to take should you become incapacitated. Often times, when we wait until we are hospitalized to draft up an advance directive, we might be influenced by surrounding stresses and pressures.
An experienced attorney will help guide you through the steps of drafting and signing an advance directive. It is important to have the text of your advance directive be as clear as possible as this will serve as your voice when needed. An attorney will make sure the right persons are listed for care and your wishes are unambiguous for the next person to interpret.Read More
Health Care Directive.
“I don’t want to be hooked up to tubes and machines.” This is one of the most common wishes for people who are trying to vocalize their end of life wishes. However, tubes and machines don’t always mean it’s the end of the patient’s life. While creating a health care directive, you need to be specific — medically specific — so as not to leave vague instructions that could mean unnecessary stress or legal actions.
While you should consult with an estate planner to create a comprehensive health care directive, you might also consider consulting with a physician. Health Care Directive need to be created through a series of realistic scenarios, and you need a coordinated effort between your doctor and your lawyer to make sure you wishes are reflected in your end of life instructions.
Often, people are very uncomfortable when discussing end of life health issues. In order to shorten the conversation, they will use broad, vague statements (like to one above) to avoid the painful conversation. Your lawyer can give you a set of questions that you can review with your loved ones and your doctor.
Keep in mind, tubes and machines aren’t just a way to keep you alive — they keep you alive to help you get better. Two months on a machine might mean another ten years alive.
It’s critical to review the questions and the answers with your family. They might be surprised at your decisions, but it’s better to discuss your answers now, in person. Then, your answers feed into your estate plan creating a comprehensive health care directive. The process can take several weeks and generally will involve several conversations. So, start now.Read More
Once you fill out the standard healthcare directive form, or you have created your healthcare directive with your estate planner, you need a simple, but comprehensive way to ensure that your wishes are known upon your incapacitation. Make several copies of the directive, indicating on each, the location of all the copies.
You need to keep the original for yourself. Don’t store it in an ultra-secure location like a safe hidden under the floor in the basement of your cousin’s house. Your healthcare directive needs to be easy to find on a moment’s notice. Simply place the original in a folder at your desk. Of course, if you have a safe, put a copy in there as well.
Give a copy to your lawyer. If your lawyer helped you create the healthcare directive, then she or he will already have a copy. However, double-check to ensure your lawyer has a copy. If the directive comes under question, you will want your lawyer to have quick access to the most recent copy.
Give a copy to anyone named as a healthcare agent. You should have already gone over your wishes with anyone named as your healthcare agent. However, once you have actually signed the final version, distribute a copy to those named in the document.
Think carefully before you hand out any other copies. Your healthcare directive might have some personal choices that will upset your spouse or children. Keep your instructions as private as possible.Read More