If you determine that the best way to leave your assets to beneficiaries is via a trust that will help keep matters out of probate, there is still something vital to consider. What is the relationship between your heirs and the person (or persons) you are appointing as a trustee? Obviously, a better relationship will make things easier on those who are to inherit your estate.
What Does a Trustee Do?
When the trustor passes away, the trustee is in charge of keeping the trust safe and making appropriate distributions to any beneficiaries. So there are a few things to consider when appointing a trustee:
- Is this person trustworthy enough to carry out your wishes?
- Does the trustee have sufficient ability to handle this responsibility?
- Will the trustee’s relationship with the beneficiary help or hinder the proper distribution of the trust?
Of course, planning your trust properly can also help the process along, even if there is some disputing between the trustee and beneficiary. However, you can minimize how much of the trust ends up going toward administration costs by selecting the right person – someone who has the ability to care for the trust and the desire to do what is best for the beneficiary.
Help for Creating Trusteeships in San Diego, California
If you live in California and need advice or help in creating a trust, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm will be happy to assist you. To learn more, call our San Diego and Chula Vista attorneys at 619-344-0360.Read More
There are a number of different ways to save for your golden years. Some types of retirement accounts are:
- IRA – Contributions are tax deductible and taxes must be paid when the funds are withdrawn.
- Roth IRA – Contributions are taxed in advance instead of at the time of withdrawal.
- 401(k) – Contributions are made pre-tax, and therefore are subject to taxes when withdrawn. In addition, a penalty is imposed if funds are withdrawn earlier than age 59 and 6 months.
The question arises, however: what if you pass ways with money in a retirement account? Who gets it?
Where Your Retirement Accounts Go
The normal process when setting up a retirement account is to designate someone who would serve as a beneficiary and inherit any remaining funds. If you do designate a beneficiary on a retirement account, this will supersede your will. For example, if your retirement account beneficiary is your mate, but you later divorce and leave everything to your kids in your will, you will have to change the beneficiary on the retirement account as well, or your ex will still get that money.
In other words, a retirement account is not a probate asset, so your executor will have no say in what happens to it. You have to make that decision now by keeping your beneficiary up to date.
Having the Proper Estate Planning Attorney on Your Side
In order to ensure that all of your wishes will be carried out, you want the advice of an estate planning attorney who can help you to understand how these little details work. The experienced estate lawyers at Petrov Law Firm can help you plan for the future of your heirs. To learn more, call 619-344-0360 today.Read More
A living trust is a great way to simplify matters for your heirs and avoid probate. Since assets that are a part of a trust are passed on differently than those in a will, your heirs may receive their inheritance faster and with fewer legal fees. The difference is in the way the trust is funded. Only a correctly implemented trust will save time and money and avoid lengthy court proceedings.
Why Executing the Trust Properly Is Vital
A 2012 case in El Dorado, California brought this topic to the fore. In the case, an older woman had executed a trust leaving her home to her daughter. Three years later, she changed her trust to make her son the heir but failed to change the deed on the house. Thus, the conflict was whether or not the house should be left to the son or daughter.
In the end, the son received the house due to California law allowing for the transfer of the property to the new trust. However, it took 5 years longer than it should have for the son to get the home. So it still drives home the point of properly executing a trust in order to avoid long legal battles.
Help in Executing Your Living Trust in Sand Diego, California
San Diego, California residents can trust the experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm to help execute your living trust properly. This will make for a smooth transition in the future when your heirs receive their inheritance. To learn more and to start planning for the future today, call 619-344-0360.Read More
Trust administration refers to the management of a trust by a trustee who has been appointed to distribute the property or funds. The trustor provides the trustee with instructions that are to be carried out. The trustee then applies these wishes in accord with state laws and in the best interest of the beneficiaries. How does California state law affect how trustees carry out this responsibility?
California Laws on Trust Administration
California law dictates how trustees handle their responsibilities in a number of ways including:
- Guidelines that keep a trustee from taking action that does not benefit the heirs or trust
- Requirements to perform certain duties in connection with the trust
- A designated line of succession in case a trustee dies at the same time as or before the trustor or is otherwise unable to carry out responsibilities
The Responsibility Placed on a Trustee in California Trustees are expected to comply with the instructions outlined in the trust as well as with all applicable state and federal regulations. They are expected to handle the estate in a manner that is financially responsible, preserving it for the beneficiaries. The trustee may be in charge of financial records, debts, and taxes. Beneficiaries can request financial statements from trustees to ensure things are being handled properly.
Trusts and Other Estate Planning in San Diego, California
If you are setting up a trust or doing any other kind of estate planning in California, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can provide you with the assistance you need to execute all of the paperwork properly. This will help to ensure that beneficiaries get what they deserve and that your wishes are carried out properly. Call 619-344-0360 to get started today.Read More
Effective the first of the year in 2016, California introduced a deed that can automatically transfer property upon a person’s death. While this may seem advantageous as opposed to hiring a lawyer for estate planning purposes, there are several extreme flaws in the law. Here’s what you need to know before preparing a TOD Deed.
Why a Transfer on Death Deed Isn’t Foolproof
There are two major reasons that the Transfer on Death laws don’t provide as much benefit as trusts and other forms of estate planning.
- You Cannot Set the Transfer Conditions – With a trust, you can set the age at which a benefactor inherits the property. You can also have a contingency plan for inheritance should the primary benefactor die before or at the same time as you. When it comes to a deed, there are no additional conditions. The property simply passes to the named person when the deedholder dies.
- The “Restitution Demand” Clause – An estate representative can demand the return of a property within a set period of time from the death of the owner – 3 years. This could leave the Transfer on Death recipient homeless. Or if the property has already been sold, the beneficiary would have to pay back the value of the home, perhaps even more than it was sold for. This gives the executor of the estate true power over the property for the first 3 years.
A Better Way to Avoid Probate when Leaving Property to Heirs
Setting up a trust is a far superior way to leave property to heirs without having to worry about probate. While estate planning with an attorney may cost more than getting a Transfer on Death Deed issued, the benefits far outweigh any inconvenience. To take advantage of affordable estate planning with an experienced attorney, contact Petrov Law Firm today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Estate planning is subject to different laws by state, so it is important to know how things such as Wills, Trusts, and Probate work in your home state. An estate planning attorney can be of great assistance in this regard, but here are 3 things to help you get started.
If You Have a Will, Your Estate Still Goes Through Probate
Some people are under the misconception that as long as they execute a Will, heirs automatically receive the inheritance. The fact is that even if you have a Will, you have to determine an executor who will take care of the probate process and help to ensure that your desires are carried out. How long the process will take depends on numerous factors.
Trustees Can Only Be Removed in Superior Court
That is where the probate division of court matters is handled. Some states will allow a person to utilize the civil court system to take action against a Trustee or to take care of other Trust matters. In California, civil suits cannot be filed for estate matters.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will or Other Estate Planning?
Intestacy law is a division of law that constitutes the state’s rules of inheritance. In California, the order of inheritance is: spouse, direct descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), parents, siblings, grandparents. However, other factors may complicate this succession.
Taking Control of Your Estate Planning
Petrov Law Firm can help you to take control of your estate planning and navigate the many state and federal statutes that are involved. Call 619-344-0360 to get started on your plans.Read More
This is a commonly asked question when it comes to estate planning. The short answer, if you have executed a will, is yes. In the state of California, the person assigned to handle your affairs when you die is your executor.
What Is the Job of the Executor?
If you die with only a will, then your estate will go through probate. At that time, your executor will be in charge of accounting for all of your assets and distributing them to your heirs as declared in the will. The will gets filed with the probate court. The executor is also in charge of paying off debts or creditors, so these individuals need to be informed of the death. The executor is also in charge of paying the taxes due on the estate and will appear in court on behalf of the estate as necessary.
Avoiding Probate with a Living Trust
A living trust or revocable trust is a great way to avoid probate and the need for an executor. This is a common practice in California, but it can still be confusing to know which option is best for you and how to execute it properly. That’s what the Petrov Law Firm is here for.
Our estate planning attorneys know how to maximize the benefits for your heirs when you are no longer here to take care of them yourself. Call 619-344-0360 to set up a consultation with one of our estate planners today.Read More
Many people execute a living will without the assistance of an attorney. While trusts and other forms of estate planning may provide certain benefits, a person may decide a living will is enough if he only has a small estate. However, there are still a few situations where a person may want legal advice even for a living will or a healthcare document. Here are a few cases.
Worried About Family Disagreements
When it comes to healthcare, in particular, family emotions can flare. What one person said he or she is willing to do to follow your wishes may change in an emergency. If you are worried about a close family member fighting your medical wishes, consulting a lawyer to check your healthcare directive is a good idea.
You’re a Frequent Traveler
Medical documents are often only valid in the state they are executed in. If you spend a lot of your time in a neighboring state for work or other reasons, you may want to consult a lawyer to execute a legal document that bears the right language for multiple states.
You Need More than Just a Living Will
If you have more assets, you may want to consider other options such as trusts and other documents that can help your heirs to avoid lengthy probate issues. A capable estate planning lawyer can help you to see the best way to protect your assets and help your family in their time of loss.
To learn more from the estate planning legal experts at the Petrov Law Firm, please call 619-344-0360 to set up a consultation.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.
The Sweetheart Trust is a particular type of revocable living trust. This type of trust earns its name because of the degree of control passed on to a spouse when the first mate dies. While both mates are alive and have use of their mental faculties, either mate has control over his or her portion of the trust, hence the idea of it being revocable. When one spouse dies, the survivor gains complete control over the entire trust. So the term Sweetheart refers to the idea that either surviving spouse would gain control after the loss of his or her mate.
Is This the Right Choice for a Married Couple?
For many, it is. This is because it is a very straightforward way to structure a trust that becomes the possession of the surviving mate. It can also be less expensive since it helps to avoid probate issues and ensures the surviving mate is administered the trust quickly. This is also a great option for taking advantage of the $5 million unified credit amount which allows the money to pass estate tax-free. Of even more benefit is that the couple can add their unified credit amounts together and leave descendants more than $10 million that is not subject to estate taxes.
Is There a Downside to the Sweetheart Trust?
There are a few circumstances that could affect whether this is the right option for you. Let’s say a couple gets married and each spouse already has children of their own. Now there are two sets of heirs. If one mate dies, the survivor may be tempted to make his or her heirs the only beneficiaries now that the survivor has full control of the trust. Also, if the survivor marries again after the death of a mate, the new spouse may get the money rather than any heirs of the original couple. Therefore, it is important to consider your marriage and family situations carefully with the help of an attorney.
We know just who you can call. The Petrov Law Firm is very experienced with estate planning law. Our attorneys can help you to determine the best way to ensure your estate goes where you want it to at your death. For more information, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More