Often abbreviated as DPA, a durable power of attorney is a vital component in your estate planning. This document appoints an agent to make decisions for you should you become incapacitated. What does the document contain and what exactly is your power of attorney responsible for?
What a Durable Power of Attorney Should Outline
The primary purpose of this document is to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you. A separate document should be executed to appoint a person to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
But how can you be sure that your power of attorney will treat financial matters in the way you would want? And what qualifies as you being incapacitated? There is no need to leave these matters to chance or opinion. You can include descriptions in the document regarding what you consider incapacitation, whether it be literal unconsciousness or mental degradation that leads to senility or dementia.
You can also provide instructions for your power of attorney as to how your financial matters should be handled. While it should be a responsible person, you also want it to be someone who will understand your instructions and be willing to carry them out.
Help in Preparing your Durable Power of Attorney and Other Estate Planning Documents
If you are interested in setting up a durable power of attorney to protect your estate should you become incapacitated, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. We pride ourselves on putting the best interests of our clients first. So if you want the personal attention you deserve from experienced and talented attorneys in the state of California, call 619-344-0360 to get started.Read More
This is a question that a lot of clients come into our office asking. Let’s discuss how probate works and what you can do if you want to avoid it.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process through which a person’s assets are distributed after he or she dies. If the person who passes away has a last will and testament that is legally valid, then the document is used as a guideline. It should outline:
- An executor – This is a person who is responsible for gathering and dispensing the estate’s assets. Responsibilities may include paying taxes that are still owed by the estate as well as any other debts and collecting debts that may be owed to the estate. Multiple executors can be named in succession in case the primary executor dies before the person whose will it is.
- Beneficiaries – One or more people can be designated to receive part or all of the estate. This includes property and other assets.
Probate court can drain much of the funds in an estate and lead to lengthy proceedings that keep beneficiaries from getting money as quickly – especially if the will is contested. For this reason, many people prefer to take steps to avoid probate. How?
Avoiding Probate in California
If you are looking to avoid probate court in the state of California, the right option for you may be a revocable living trust. Such a trust is not subject to probate in California. The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you set up such an estate plan. To learn more, call our experienced California attorneys at 619-344-0360.Read More
Most young people think that estate planning is what you do when you retire as a grandfather and want to make sure your assets go to your favorite relatives. However, accidents happen, and that means any adult should have the necessary documents in order, even if you are in your 20s and are the picture of good health. Here are two important reasons for starting your estate planning young.
If a Fatal Accident Occurs
Sometimes, accidents happen. Whether you have started a family as a young person or still live at home with mom and dad, you want to be sure that end-of-life decisions are in place. How do you want the funeral to be carried out? Are you willing to be kept alive on life support, even if there is a degree of medical certainty that you will never recover? Especially when a tragic accident occurs, it can be difficult for family members to make these decisions. Making them in advance is a kindness to your loved ones.
If Wrongful Death Is Involved
What if the fatal accident is caused by a drunk driver, a defective product, an avoidable work accident, or another situation in which wrongful death may be involved? Having your estate planning in place may help survivors to start a wrongful death suit. An executor can do so on behalf of the estate. Otherwise, whoever would be next as far as intestate succession is concerned would suddenly be confronted with this responsibility.
Now Is the Time for Proper Estate Planning
If you live in the San Diego area, come and see us at Petrov Law Firm. Regardless of your age, it is never too soon or too late to get your estate planning in order. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.Read More
There are two important and separate matters that are handled by proper estate planning and the appointment of a power of attorney. They are matters pertaining to your financial assets and matters dealing with your health care. In some cases, you may want a different person to have power of attorney for each circumstance. In other cases, the same person may act as power of attorney for everything. Here are a few things to consider.
Power of Attorney for Financial and Health Decisions
Should decisions about your health or finances need to be made while you are unconscious or no longer of sound mind, appointing a power of attorney who has specific instructions on how to carry out your directives can help to ensure that matters are still handled as you would want them to be, even if you can’t give the orders for yourself.
However, you may not always want the same person making all of these decisions. For example, you may want your wife to make financial decisions in your absence but your son to make medical decisions or vice versa. You may even have certain decisions that you want to leave to a party that is not as emotionally tied to you. In other situations, you may have one trusted friend or relative who can handle all of your decision-making as a POA.
San Diego Residents Planning for Financial and Health Care POAs
If you are a California resident, especially if you live in the San Diego area, and are looking to designate a power of attorney for health or financial matters, contact the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm today. We can help you to make informed decisions that will lead to your wishes being carried out as closely as possible. To learn more, call 619-344-0360.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
Giving someone power of attorney mean that they have the authority to act on your behalf in situations legally outlined by you. For example, you may provide someone with power of attorney regarding your medical decisions should you be unconscious and unable to make decisions for yourself. Or you may choose to give someone the ability to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters, especially in connection with estate planning and financial decisions that may need to be made if you suffer from mental deterioration later in life.
The big problem people often run into when it comes to providing power of attorney is that many people decide to draw up papers using examples they see online rather than having a lawyer draft a legal document. Also, sometimes choosing the wrong person can cause issues. As a result, problems can arise involving the following situations:
- Power of attorney is not used in line with a person’s wishes. For example, a man may remarry later on in life and give his new wife power of attorney. She may use this authority to ensure her children receive all of the family’s inheritance, cutting out children from previous marriages.
- The documents were executed incorrectly. The person who is supposed to have power of attorney wants to act as requested. However, because paperwork was handled improperly, he or she legally does not have power of attorney.
These are just a couple of examples of ways that power of attorney issues can make a mess of one’s estate. So the question to ask yourself is: Is it time to update my power of attorney?
Ensure Power of Attorney Documentation Is Accurate
To avoid the problems noted above and other estate planning issues, come and see us at Petrov Law Firm. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you to update your power of attorney documentation to ensure the right person has the correct amount of authority and that documents are legally drafted and executed. Call 619-344-0360 to get started now.Read More
A Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone you designate the power to act in your place. Having a power of attorney allows you to pick someone you trust to handle your affairs should you become unable to do so. Having one can be more important to your well-being than a will and it gives you peace of mind and reassurance that, in an emergency, someone you choose will have the authority to act for you. While having a power of attorney is a good idea and part of responsible estate planning, consider carefully about what kind is best for you.
A springing power of attorney, sometimes called a conditional power of attorney, is a legal document that comes into effect after certain conditions are met, typically when the person who created it, called the principal, becomes disabled or mentally incompetent. It can be used in a variety of situations that are established by the principal and does not necessarily have to involve trigger with mental or physical incapacity. If you choose springing power of attorney, you should be prepared to define exactly what kind of event will lead to activation of the power of attorney.
A durable power of attorney becomes effective once you sign the document and continues to be effective if you become incapacitated but are still cognizant. For example, you can designate your son or daughter to have power of attorney over your finances or assets because they are better with money or because you do not have the time.
Power of attorney laws differ slightly from state to state. California durable power of attorney laws grant the named individual to make decisions related to medical care and treatment of the principal. Your estate planning attorney can provide more information about California-specific laws surrounding power of attorneys. Abuses of power of attorney can occur in any situation. It is best to discuss this potential with an experienced attorney who will help address all your questions and point out important qualities when choosing a power of attorney so you can select someone who will have your best interest in mind.Read More
If you were injured while on public land or city property, contact a lawyer to help you determine the likelihood of your claim yielding a financial recovery. While cities, counties, and states must follow the laws they are sworn to enforce, suing a government body is more complicated than suing your neighbor.
Generally, ask yourself if it’s reasonable that the city be held responsible for your injury. Tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk is not likely to be seen as a viable claim. However, if the city was negligent by improperly installing a handrail that broke when you used it, you can probably make a case for recovering the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
Many states protect governmental bodies with immunity from lawsuits. Generally, this immunity can be waived in the face of gross negligence. However, the immunity laws are broadly worded so as to provide as much protection for the city as possible. For example, if your car gets damaged in the course of high speed police chase because you didn’t move in time to allow the police to pass easily, the immunity laws will favor the police.
If you and your lawyer feel the city was grossly negligent, you might find the city is ready and willing to settle. Many cities self-insure — meaning there isn’t an insurance company to slow the process and question every claim. Don’t delay. When suing a government body, you will have to show a preponderance of evidence. But if you have a solid case, you might find the city willing to quickly pay your claim.Read More
If you die without a will, it’s very possible that your family will have to wait for a probate court to review your assets and distribute them according to state laws. While a will is a good way to avoid probate courts, you can consult with your estate planning attorney to review a few of the other options for you.
Assets such as a 401k, life insurance policy, and an annuity have beneficiary designations. Upon your death, these kinds of accounts generally do not have to pass through probate. The beneficiaries will have to do little more than to prove their identity and show a death certificate to take possession of the asset. Some states allow this same kind of benefit with bank accounts and investment accounts. These can be called a Transfer on Death (TOD) or Payable on Death (POD) account. A life estate deed is an option for avoiding probate for real estate.
Review the legal implications of how you hold real estate. There are several options for how to hold real estate. For example, if your deed says “Tenants in Common” your real estate will have to pass through probate before it can be distributed. You can consult with an estate planner to ensure your assets are properly designated.
Lastly, you can avoid probate by giving all of your assets away before you die. Luckily, you can put a lot of your assets into a trust (there are several kinds) that will benefit whomever you choose during your life and afterward. An estate attorney can help you create the proper kind of trust for you and your family.Read More
Should you select a sole law practitioner (just one lawyer) or will a large law firm better serve your needs? There are several factors to consider when selecting your personal injury law firm. If you are uncertain about your case, interview two or three law firms and select the one that seems most responsive to your case.
Not all law firms are right for everyone. A small law firm of just a few lawyers may not have the experience and resources of a large firm. However, a small firm is likely to take more time to listen to you as a client and spend more time on your case. In addition, if the lawyer has recently passed the bar or is just starting out on his or her own, you might be able to negotiate a lower price.
If a large firm agrees to take your case, it’s more likely that you will be treated like a number than a person. In addition, you are probably going to spend more time with paralegals than with the lawyers. The same lawyer may not handle your case from beginning to end — so if your case is unique or complicated in some particular way, you may get frustrated repeating the circumstances of your injury to a new lawyer every time you deal with the firm. Large firms operate like well-oiled machines — so if you are a highly emotional person, you might find the environment cold and impersonal.
Medium-sized law firms tend to be a good fit for personal injury. They usually have sufficient experience to know all of the twists and turns of personal injury law. You are more likely to deal with the same people during the course of your case. And lastly, personal injury is personal. A medium-sized law firm is going to treat you like a person.Read More