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
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
In California, if you have an estate worth more than $150,000 and no will, the estate has to pass through probate court and will be subject to fees. And probate fees can by high. For example, an estate worth $250,000 will get charged $8,000 in probate fees. The best way to avoid probate court and probate fees is to have a lawyer create a thorough will. And you need to keep that will up to date.
Even if you have an estate worth less than $150,000, you should have a will. Passing away without a will is a good way to create problems in your family. However, if you want to know how to calculate the value of your estate as seen by the probate court, use the following guide for identifying exclusions:
• California does not include any property you own out of state
• You do not include any property with joint tenancy.
• You do not include any community property with right of survivorship.
• You only include half the value of any other community property.
• Life insurance is not considered part of your estate.
• Cars are not included in the calculation.
• Financial accounts with multiple owners are not included in the calculation.
• Assets held in a trust are usually not included.
If you use the general guidelines above and find that your estate is close to the $150,000 mark, don’t risk probate court fees. Hire a lawyer. The money you invest up front is well worth the savings to your estate.Read More
If your estate is worth more than $150,000 (including real estate), then there is generally no avoiding probate court. When you have assets like cash, cars, boats, and a house, the executor of your estate will have to use California’s probate courts to distribute the assets to your beneficiaries. Because it could take several months to pass through the court system, your assets could sit undistributed while your family waits.
A simple real estate trust, however, can help resolve the majority of this issue. Because land values are generally more than $150,000 in California, you have to find a way to remove your house from your list of assets. Then, you can avoid probate court. Ask a lawyer to create a simple trust in which you place your house, naming your family as the beneficiary of the trust. When you pass away, the trust retains ownership of the house, and as long as you have less than $150,000 in other assets, your estate won’t have to go through probate court.
While some people fear the idea of giving up their primary asset to a trust, trusts are generally the best way to keep assets in the family. The trust become the legal owner of the property while the beneficiaries change over time. In this way, a family home can easily pass through multiple generations without the complexities of probate court and estate tax.Read More
To those who are willing to look at this objectively, please watch the link and read up on the Proposition itself. “Greedy” trial attorneys did not write this law to make more money. This proposition was written to ensure that a profession that is responsible for our health is held to the same standard as other professions. There is no “cap” on damages when it comes to legal malpractice and yet there is an antiquated cap of $250,000 of pain and suffering if a doctor commits malpractice and causes the death or severe injury to an individual. I urge everyone to look at both the Yes on 46 and No on 46 on their own to make a decision and don’t let the TV commercials be the only thing you listen to.
As far as money, the No on 46 coalition is mostly funded by insurance companies who say that “this will raise health costs” but are really just keeping all the money to themselves. Medical Malpractice Insurance rates have gone up more in CA than in states without this “cap” and yet somehow the trial attorneys are the ones to blame. The money raised by No on 46 will be astronomically higher than the Yes on 46 fund but hopefully money won’t be the deciding factor here.