The words probate court probably have you envisioning huge wait times and losses for your heirs. While this is not always the case, it can be, so we’re going to look at a simple way to cut out the middleman, as it were. Here is how you can use bank accounts to avoid probate.
- POD Accounts – You can set a bank account to be payable on death. This allows the account to transfer directly to the named beneficiary without going through probate. Keep in mind that you need to remember to change the beneficiary if you have a change in circumstance and want a different person to inherit the account. Otherwise, this will go to the named beneficiary, regardless of how your wishes may have changed.
- Retirement Accounts – Retirement accounts generally require a named beneficiary. These also transfer automatically when the account holder passes away. This is another situation that involves reviewing and updating your estate plan regularly to ensure the right people are listed as your beneficiaries.
- Shared Bank Accounts – Anyone you share an account with would obviously still have access to it if you pass away. The main downside to this type of account is that the other individuals could do whatever they want with the money even while they are still alive.
Planning for Your Estate and Probate in California
To help money transfer quickly and seamlessly to your heirs in California, contact the Petrov Law Firm today. You can speak to an experienced estate planning attorney in San Diego by calling 619-344-0360 and scheduling an appointment.Read More
The short answer is no. For legal purposes in the state of California, all of your documents need to be printed and signed. California courts will only accept the original documents as evidence. So does that mean you shouldn’t have an electronic copy of your estate plan?
The Simple Way to Review Your Estate Plans
The fact is that you should be reviewing your estate plan annually to ensure everything is in harmony with your current desires. This also allows you to account for major life or income changes. If you get married, divorced, have a child, lose a business account, gain a large sum of money or a piece of property, or experience any other major change, the first thing you should do is go over your future plans. A digital copy of your estate plan can make it simple for you to review matters without having to get your planning documents from a fireproof safe, safety deposit box, or wherever you may store the original documents.
Planning for Your Estate in the State of California
To understand estate planning in California, all you have to do is call the professional estate planning attorneys at the Petrov Law Firm. We are happy to put our experience to use in assisting you to ensure your final wishes are met and that your estate assets are distributed just as you desire. To learn more, call our San Diego office at 619-344-0360 and schedule a consultation.Read More
Probate is the process that determines how a person’s assets and properties are distributed after he or she passes away. When a person dies without an estate plan, California probate court makes the decisions regarding what happens with a person’s belongings.
A last will and testament allows you to designate an executor who acts as a go-between for your beneficiaries and the court system. This can help to speed up the process and may save some of the estate from going on legal fees. It also gives you more control over who your estate is assigned to and how it is distributed.
However, if you want to avoid the time and expense of the probate process altogether and give your beneficiaries a larger cut in a more expedient way, you can set up a revocable living trust. While you are alive, you can control what goes into the trust and who it is left to. You can also designate a successor trustee who takes control of the trust and the proper distribution of it when you die. This is often the preferred way to leave a larger estate to heirs.
Planning for Your Estate in Southern California
To plan ahead successfully for your future, be sure to enlist the help of the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm. We have the knowledge and experience to help California residents meet their estate planning goals. To learn more, call 619-344-0360 today!Read More
Writing up a will is not the first thing on the mind of most people in their 20s. After all, you are probably in good health, and it is unlikely that you have amassed a major fortune that early in life unless it was left to you by the previous generation. So what is the point of estate planning in your 20s? Here are three reasons you want your affairs in place:
- Accidents happen – A car accident or some other fatal accident can affect anyone at any time. Having an estate plan in place is a kindness for surviving family members who will be bereft enough by the tragic and premature loss of such a young loved one.
- Medical decisions – A living will allows you to make medical decisions in advance. If you become incapacitated due to an accident, injury, or illness, you can make medical decisions in advance including appointing someone who can make choices for you.
- Keep the peace – This is a unique opportunity to have your funeral arrangements set out the way you would want them to be handled. Whether you want a burial or cremation, the family doesn’t have to wonder or fight over what you may have said to various family members or friends at one time or another.
Estate Planning Is for Everyone
At Petrov Law Firm, we believe that estate planning is important for everyone. So if you are a resident of Southern California, speak to one of our estate planning attorneys by calling 619-344-0360 today. We can help you to prepare for your future.Read More
The jury is out on probate court for some since there are occasional circumstances where it can be beneficial. However, in most situations, it’s just an unnecessary drain. Here are three primary reasons you should try to keep your estate from going into probate.
- It Costs a Lot of Money – You want to leave your estate to your family, not the court system. However, a drawn-out probate battle can drain the funds from your estate rapidly. Don’t let your beneficiaries get stuck with a mere fraction of what you worked hard to amass during your lifetime.
- It Can Take a Long Time – Another issue is that your loved ones may have to wait months or years before they see any of the money that you want them to enjoy. Bypassing probate altogether is the best way to get your estate to your heirs quickly and intact.
- It Is a Matter of Public Record – You don’t want everyone knowing what you had and who you left it to. That could be dangerous for family members who suddenly have a lot of money for the first time and could become the victims of scammers. It could also cause hurt feelings among those who received a smaller portion of the estate. It is no one’s business what you decide to give or to whom you choose to give it.
Assistance to Legally Keep Your Estate Out of Probate
If you are looking for an experienced estate planning attorney in Southern California who can keep your estate assets out of probate court and get it into the hands of your loved ones, contact Petrov Law Firm today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Establishing a trust is a great way to eliminate all of the problems that come along with probate. Your family won’t have to worry about the court fees or deal with an executor. This can prevent long delays in receiving the inheritance. However, it is still important to choose the right successor trustee in order to ensure that your estate is in good hands until it gets to your beneficiaries. Here are a few ways to keep your successor trustee from making the most common mistakes.
- Hire an Accountant – Unless your trustee is particularly good with numbers and understands accounting, this is the best way to ensure that there are no errors in the record keeping. Plus, having two people to check each other’s numbers keeps everyone honest.
- Outline Instructions Clearly – Sometimes a trustee can get confused about the role that he or she plays. To eliminate confusion, make sure your estate planning documents outline how you want your trustee to act, including how the assets are preserved until they reach your beneficiaries.
- Provide Adequate Compensation – Your trustee knows how much has been set aside for your beneficiaries. The trustee is doing all of the work. So while you may leave a relatively small percent of your estate to compensate the trustee, it should be enough to ensure he or she doesn’t feel cheated or isn’t moved to maneuver for a little additional compensation from your family.
- Be Objective – Sentimentality cannot guide your choice of a successor trustee. It has to be the person who is best suited for the job. Otherwise, problems are likely to come about.
Assistance in Developing a Trust and Other Estate Planning in California
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm are experienced in helping California residents to plan properly for the future. To learn more, contact us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Probate gets a pretty bad rap for being something that delays beneficiaries from receiving their inheritance and may even eat up considerable funds from the estate. Is there any time when probate court can actually be a good thing? Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of probate.
The Advantages of Probate
If someone passes away without executing a will or having other estate planning measures in place, probate can really save the day. A few of the advantages include:
- Provides a legal means of redistributing the estate
- Enforces and validates the wishes included in a will
- Cares for remaining debts and taxes so heirs don’t have to worry someone will eventually come knocking at the door looking for money that may have long been spent
- May encourage debt forgiveness due to the window for claims against the estate being short
The Disadvantages of Probate
Here are a few of the reasons most people try to avoid probate with their estate planning:
- Probate is public record, so anyone can look up your financial information
- Executor fees and court costs may cut significantly into the value of the estate
- Probate can keep beneficiaries from receiving funds for weeks, months, or in some cases even years
- Complicated probate regulations can put a huge strain on beneficiaries and especially on the executor of the will
- The courts make the final decisions on your estate rather than you
- The higher the gross value of your estate, the higher the probate fees, making it more cost effective to create and maintain a revocable trust
Southern California Estate Planning Attorneys
Petrov Law Firm has the Southern California estate planning attorneys you can trust to help you develop an affordable and effective plan of action for the future. Contact us today by calling 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
As of January 1, 2017, Medi-Cal laws have changed in the state of California. The primary difference involves a way the state intends to recovery much of the funds its Medicaid program pays out. Keep in mind that Covered California is the ACA’s manifestation in the state, and the same recovery laws don’t apply. Medi-Cal is the state-funded Medicaid program.
How California Intends to Recover Medi-Cal Funds
When a person who has received Medi-Cal benefits passes away, the state can seek recovery of some of the funds paid out while assets are in probate. Here’s an example of how it would work.
Let’s say a widowed woman named Mary own’s a home in California. Late in life, she receives $100,000 in Medi-Cal funds to cover time she spends in a nursing facility. When she dies, her home goes into probate and is sold for $300,000. The state takes back the $100,000. Mary’s adult heirs are thus left with $200,000.
That’s just a simplified version of how the process works. Basically, if a person dies without a spouse or minor children, numerous expenses could be recouped by the state and reduce the inheritance that heirs receive.
Smart Estate Planning Avoids Medi-Cal Recovery
Medi-Cal recovery won’t affect a family trust. This is because the trust doesn’t go to probate, so the state never has the opportunity to stake a claim on funds. This makes estate planning an important factor for anyone who is benefiting from the Medi-Cal system. Using a trust instead of a will is a great way to make sure your loved ones get your entire estate, rather than paying back your Medicaid benefits posthumously during probate.
The Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you determine how to make sure your family gets your estate, rather than having to share it with the state. Just call 619-344-0360 to start your estate planning today.Read More
If you are a resident of the state of California, there is something you need to know about present estate tax laws and the possibility of future federal and state regulation changes. Before addressing these changes, it is important to note that this article is for informational purposes and is not an editorial opinion on the part of our law firm.
Here are the facts:
- There presently is no state tax on estates in California. California does not impose any additional taxes on top of the federal estate tax.
- 2017 federal estate tax exemption is $5.49 million. That means your heirs will not pay federal taxes on inherited assets including either estate tax or gift tax.
- Federal estate tax could potentially be repealed. The current president of the United States has suggested that he wants to repeal the estate tax entirely so that the federal government does not take any taxes on inherited funds regardless of the sum.
- If the federal estate tax is repealed, California may implement a state estate tax. State Sen. Scott Wiener has already introduced a bill to introduce an estate tax for the state of California. The idea is that the state can recapture this money freed up by tax cuts offered to the wealthy by the federal government for use by the state, especially for use in education, healthcare, and public transportation and roadways according to a statement made by the senator.
How Estate Tax Changes May Affect You and Your Family
If you are leaving a large estate to family or other heirs, planning your estate properly is more vital than ever. As of now, the federal estate tax on funds exceeding $5.49 million is at 40%. If that number is eliminated by the present administration, it is not known whether California will adopt a statewide estate tax. If this occurs, it is not yet known the percent that will be taxed or how much of an estate will remain tax-free. As this situation continues to develop, working together with an estate planning attorney with your best interests at heart may become even more vital.
Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help ensure that that your heirs receive the maximum amount of your estate. Please call 619-344-0360 today to schedule a consultation.Read More