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
While you probably don’t want to think about someone else having to raise your precious little ones, if you and your spouse experience an accident, you don’t want to add to the tragedy by not having a plan in place. Here are 5 tips for selecting an appropriate guardian should an accident leave your children orphaned.
- Someone your kids like – If you have friends that just make your kids go, “Ugh, do we have to see them again?” that’s probably not the family to leave your kids to.
- Values and parenting style – Every parent is going to raise their kids a little different, but if you have friends that you see raising their kids the way you would want yours to be taken care of, that’s a good option as a guardian.
- Location – Will your kids suddenly find themselves without parents and having to adjust to a new town and school? If you have nearby friends who could be the guardians, that can reduce the upheaval.
- Age and health – While you may want to leave your kids to your parents should something happen to you, how old are your parents? How is their health? Who would they leave the kids to if they also pass away before the kids are old enough to be on their own?
- Prepare the kids – Talk to your kids about who you have listed in your estate plan as guardians and why. Knowing your desire to care for them, even if you can’t be here to do it yourself, may be comforting, especially if your kids end up with those guardians someday.
Estate Plans with No Loose Ends in Southern California
If you need assistance with legally drafting an estate plan in the state of California, contact Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360. We can help you to prepare for your future and tie up loose ends to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.Read More
What is a conservatorship? How could it potentially protect you from undue influence regarding financial matters and end of life decisions? Let’s look at this legal way to protect your decisions even if you should become unable to make those decisions for yourself later in life, or even just for a limited period of time.
What Is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a final line of defense against having financial or medical decisions made without a person’s ability to consent. While proper estate planning can provide a power of attorney to make these decisions, a conservatorship involves the probate court assigning someone to make valid decisions on a person’s behalf. There are 3 types of probate conservatorships.
- A general conservatorship involves the court giving a person the legal ability to care for the personal decisions of another, including financial decisions.
- A limited conservatorship is usually only set up in the case of an adult who is developmentally disabled and needs some assistance in decision making.
- Under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a conservatorship can be set up to assist someone who becomes so gravely disabled they can no longer provide their own basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing.
In the case of a person trying to influence someone who has become mentally incapacitated to make financial decisions that are different from what a will or medical directive may have originally dictated while the individual was of sound mind, a conservatorship may provide a neutral party to maintain the wishes a person expressed in the past.
A Better Way to Ensure Your Decision Remain Yours
The best thing to do is to have your estate planning properly prepared now. Everything from how your assets are to be divided to what you want your funeral to be like should be part of your estate planning. Appointing a power of attorney to make financial decisions or appointing a healthcare agent to uphold your medical decisions can also make things easier on family members who may have differing opinions on how to care for matters if you cannot do so yourself for one reason or another. To learn more, contact Petrov Law Firm today by calling 619-344-0360.Read More
There are many ways to get tax benefits from charitable donations. However, not every person who makes charity a part of estate planning is doing so for the tax break. This is also the opportunity to make a real difference for a non-profit organization and leave a lasting legacy. What are the 3 major types of charitable organizations, and how can you make charity part of your estate plan?
3 Types of Non-Profit Organizations
For those who are also thinking about tax benefits of contributing, we’re going to go through this list in order from least tax advantages to the most.
- Private Foundations – These groups are usually privately funded by one family, although they may accept contributions from others. This is the simplest form of non-profit to organize and also has minimal tax benefits for donors. These foundations do not engage in charitable work directly but do forward funds to public charities.
- Private Operating Foundations – These foundations are still private, but they do engage in charitable acts directly. The main difference is the percent of funds that are privately contributed versus publicly.
- Public Charities – These are organizations that are funded by the general public. Less than half of their funds can come from large donations made by companies or individuals. These organizations are what most of us think of when we envision donating to charity. This is also the best way to get tax benefits from donating.
How to Leave Money to Your Favorite Charity
Depending on the charity itself, some may prefer a trust and others may prefer a donation via a will. The benefits of using a trust include the money avoiding probate. You can select one specific charity or an entire portfolio of non-profits that you would like to make a contribution to, so don’t feel tied down if you are having trouble deciding who to leave your contributions to.
Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you make charity a part of your estate plan. Just call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys.Read More
Food banks and other non-profit organizations have to careful about what goods they serve. Restaurants have to be careful about the food they donate. If you work for a restaurant looking to donate food, or a non-profit looking to distribute food, contact a personal injury attorney to ensure that you are not exposed to any liabilities.
Food that needs to be refrigerated spoils quickly, and the chain of custody has to be certified and reliable at every step. So unless the non-profit organization looking to serve the food has a refrigerated van, the food can spoil between the restaurant and the non-profit’s donation center.
Non-refrigerated food like bread can spoil but might be an acceptable donation. Bread and pastry can grow mold, but mold at a toxic level is visible. Generally, bread donations don’t expose the giver or receiver to much liability as long as the bread is relatively fresh. Day old bread is a great way to contribute to the needy.
Food banks often don’t accept fresh produce or bread simply because they don’t have the storage capacity to ensure the donations will last. If you are looking to donate fresh, non-refrigerated items, contact individual donation center to ask about specific policies.
With the number of people that suffer with hunger, unused food is a sad waste. However, with the proper channels, you can use a lot of fresh food to help out during the holiday season.Read More
Creating a charitable trust as part of your estate planning process serves several important purposes. Work with your estate planner to determine the best kind of trust and how to properly funnel money into it.
While you are still alive, the IRS lets you donate up to 50% of your income to the charity of your choosing. If you’d like to donate your money but still keep control over its use, you can create a charitable trust and donate to it. Once the trust is established, you can elect the ways in which you’d like to see your money go to use.
The most valuable way to create a charitable trust, however, would be to continuously invest the donated funds until the trust can be self-sustaining. Not only do you create a reliable stream of funds for the causes that concern you most, but you demonstrate to the future generations of your family how money can create sustainable good.
Once you pass, the trust can start to donate excess funds to the causes that meet your criteria. Over time, you can allow the trust to adapt its scope, creating an avenue by which the trust can expand its purpose to meet future needs.Read More
The investigator has the right to demand that a lawyer represent the interests of the conservatee if the conservatee seems unable to understand the process or speak on his or her own behalf. The investigator then speaks to all of the interested parties (spouses, domestic partners, parents, children) gathering information to assemble a report.
The final step is a hearing in front a judge. The investigator, the conservatee, the family, and any attorneys will have to attend the hearing. The judge reviews the report by the investigator and interviews the interested family members.
Once the conservatorship begins, the investigator will review the case after six months and after one year. Then the case is reviewed annually to ensure the conservator is fulfilling all responsibilities.Read More
When someone is unable to care for himself due to physical or mental disability, a court can grant a conservator to be responsible for physical care or finances. Generally, the court prefers that a spouse or family member be named as conservator, however, if no one is available, the state becomes guardian.
Often when an older adult is diagnosed with a progressive physical or mental problem, the patient and his or her family decide on who is best to serve as the eventual conservator. An estate attorney can help draw up the necessary documents so that when the time comes to grant the conservatorship, the process is easy.
There are several options for a conservatorships, however the need for care can be divided between physical and financial challenges. For physical care, the patient and the family seek a conservatorship of the person. For financial care, the judge would grant a conservatorship of the estate.
The process for having a judge approve a conservatorship can take a significant amount of time. Generally, the family has to petition the court, undergo an investigation, and stand in front of a judge. If you or a family member is suffering from deteriorating physical or mental health, start now to ensure the conservatorship process is completed ahead of need.Read More
Financial ups and downs are common, and charitable organizations frequently close down when there is an economic downturn. When looking to give charitable donations as part of estate planning, donors are frequently skeptical about handing over large sums of money. There are few ways that your estate planner can help you donate your money in such a way that it won’t be wiped away by a financial downturn.
Giving to large, well-established organizations, like a university, is one way to ensure the money won’t be wasted. Funds for general operating procedures can be hard to come by, so large non-profit organizations with significant administrative costs are always grateful for money that can added into a general pool instead of funds that come with restricted use guidelines.
Organizations like The United Way represent a variety of small non-profit organizations. These larger non-profit organizations are stable but still give you access to small organizations. If the smaller organizations shut down, your money can be diverted to other like-minded non-profits.
Lastly, you can use a gift annuity to ensure a steady stream of money for a specific non-profit and a specific program within any organization. These gift annuities are a great way to provide regular, reliable income. Gift annuities are also a great way to provide money for annual scholarships.
Your estate planner can review with you the amount of money you are likely to have for donations in your will. Because options vary based on the amount you can give, your lawyer will guide you through selecting the best choice for your specific financial circumstance.Read More
Either intentionally or unintentionally, your will can change meaning with an act of independent significance. Generally, this means that your will has a statement or clause that is vague and can change meaning based on circumstances.
For example, if you are part owner of a business, you can state that you want your shares in the business to be distributed to “the other legal owners.” You’ve avoiding listing the names of the other owners knowing it’s possible that list will change over time. This is also helpful when indicating what you want to go to your “children” or “grandchildren” in case the family grows after you complete the will.
Another independent change can be in the contents of a house, bank account, safe, etc. You can simply state that the assets for distribution are the “contents of my house.” Between the writing of your will and your death, the contents of your house will likely change. Therefore, the recipients get the contents that are in your home at the time of your death.
In addition, you can state in your will that you will write further instructions for distribution. So if you know how much money you want to go to charity, but you haven’t selected the charity, you can choose the recipient at later time.
A good estate lawyer will help you construct a will using acts of independent significance to ensure your assets are distributed exactly as you intend.Read More