One of the biggest mistakes that people make with estate planning is thinking that all estate planning is about is what happens when you die. Your estate plan should include contingency plans for during your lifetime. Here’s something many people miss, and a quick fix for it.
Planning for Incapacitation
It’s a scenario we forget to plan for because we don’t like to think about it. What if you ever become mentally incapacitated during your lifetime? It could be due to an accident or illness that leaves you unconscious for a period of time or simply due to the mental degradation that sometimes accompanies old age. But it raises the question: Who will make financial decisions for you if you are no longer of sound mind to do so yourself?
Naming a power of attorney in your estate plan is the perfect way to ensure the courts don’t end up having to appoint a conservatorship to care for things for you. You get to select someone you trust to carry out your wishes rather than their own. And you don’t have to worry about undue influence affecting you if your judgment ever becomes less than sound. This can prevent your estate from becoming tied up in a long legal battle.
Planning for the Future in Southern California
From selecting a power of attorney to setting up revocable living trusts, Petrov Law Firm can help you select the estate planning options that are best for you. Speak to one of our estate planning attorneys to learn more. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
Some people are willing to take the chance that everything will pass to their spouse and kids. Others are content to draw up a will and let the courts have their part in matters. But if you want your family to receive your estate with an increased degree of certainty and without the courts causing delays and expenses, there are two things you need to include in your estate planning.
- Trusts – A trust can allow your heirs to skip probate. You can manage the trust while you are alive and appoint a successor trustee to carry out your wishes and disseminate the trust in your absence. It gives you the flexibility you need while you are alive and provides your beneficiaries with the convenience of fewer court fees and the excessive time it may take to receive funds if probate is involved.
- Power of Attorney – Whether you are appointing a healthcare agent to make medical decisions should you become incapacitated or a power of attorney to make financial decisions, this is a great way to block courts from stepping in and appointing a conservatorship to take care of matters for you. You can outline your wishes in advance and appoint someone you trust to carry out those wishes as opposed to whomever the court may grant guardianship to.
Smart Estate Planning in Southern California
Petrov Law Firm offers smart estate planning options to residents of San Diego and the surrounding areas. If you are ready to take control of your future rather than leaving it in the hands of the court system, give us a call today at 619-344-0360.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
Assigning a durable power of attorney is an important part of estate planning. This is especially true if you ever become incapacitated for a time and do not have either the physical or mental ability to care for your own finances. Here are 6 vital things a power of attorney can take care of for you should you become temporarily incapacitated.
- Bank Accounts – If you are married, your mate is probably on all of your bank accounts. But if he or she usually allows you to take care of the financials for the family, then it is important to have a fiscally responsible person in charge of these accounts and to move around money as needed.
- Loans – A power of attorney (POA) can pay down your loans by either making minimum payments or paying them off completely depending on what is best for the estate in the current financial market.
- Bills – Your POA can also take care of the day to day bills such as utilities, credit cards, insurance, and the like. Much of this may be on an automatic payment system, but for things that are not, it is important to have someone who knows what is due and how it is paid.
- Taxes – This is one of the most complicated aspects of financial responsibilities, so your POA needs to be someone you can trust to be honest and to put in the work to ensure that you don’t miss out on things that could have been written off.
- Real Estate – Whether you have land that is being leased, renovated, or lived in, someone needs to manage all of your properties at all times. If that is usually something you do yourself, you need a POA who can handle it. If you have a property management service, then the POA needs to be in touch with them as regularly as you would have been.
- Lawsuits – Any pending lawsuits for which you may be a plaintiff or defendant would now rest on the shoulders of your POA.
Preparing Your Estate Plan in California
If you live in or near the California area, Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you set up or review your estate plan. Appointing a power of attorney is just one element in this process. To get started, call us at 619-344-0360.Read More
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