If you are debating whether to form a living trust as a part of your estate plan or to just leave everything behind by means of a last will and testament, this article may help you make that decision. We’re going to look at three things that make a trust superior to a will.
- Avoid Probate – Don’t make your assets have to go through probate court and be subject to an executor. Forming a living will can allow you to pass your estate directly to your beneficiaries. You can still include clauses that dictate how the trust is dispensed (for example, you can instruct the successor trustee to manage the funds until your heirs turn 18).
- Manage Your Own Trust – You can control what goes into your trust and serve as the trustee until you die. This gives you full control over the trust. You do, however, also have the option of appointing a trustee to care for things while you are still alive.
- Keep Your Estate Private – Trusteeships remain confidential, even after you die. A last will and testament becomes a matter of public record. This allows anyone to be able to see what was passed on to your heirs and could cause them to become the subject of scam attempts. So creating a trust may be a protection.
Are You Ready to Form a Living Trust?
Contact the California estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm today to ensure that your assets go to your beneficiaries rather than to the courts. To learn more, call 619-344-0360 now.Read More
What is undue influence? It occurs when an influencer (sadly, often a family member), exerts pressure on someone that causes the person to act contrary to the way he or she normally would. This is done by the one exerting the pressure (the influencer) in order to benefit him or herself. In other words, a person influences someone who is susceptible (due to age, the onset of dementia, etc.) to make financial or other decisions for his or her benefit (and usually to the detriment of rightful heirs).
This is an unfortunately common occurrence. How can you be sure that your estate planning isn’t subject to undue influence? Is there any way for heirs who feel they were cheated by someone exerting undue influence to take recourse?
Avoiding the Effects of Undue Influence
The best way to avoid undue influence is to have an ironclad estate plan in place that spells out your wishes in no uncertain terms. Should you decide to change your will or beneficiaries later in life, you need to be sure that your estate planning is equally meticulous, so no one can make claim that there may have been an influencer behind the scenes scheming for material gain.
When an Influencer Exists
Fortunately, there are measures in place to contest wills and other estate planning that clearly involved undue influence. But this ties up funds, sometimes for years, and wastes much of those assets on court fees. Thus, it is far better for heirs if estate planning is well thought out and documented
The estate planning experts at Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you develop your California estate plan. Call 619-344-0360 to get your comprehensive estate plan started today.Read More
There are a number of ways to form a successful estate plan. Today, we will look at two options by means of a comparison. Here are three of the major differences between wills and trusts.
- Privacy – When a person dies, his or her will becomes public record. This means that anyone who knows you have died can see your will and find out what was left to your heirs. On the other hand, a trust is private. No one needs to know what you left to each of your beneficiaries.
- Timing – A will doesn’t go into effect until after you die. You can, however, set up a living trust and manage the assets yourself while still alive. You can also set up a trust and designate a trustee to take care of the financial side of things even while you are still alive.
- Probate – The executor of your will has to deal with the legal process of probate to distribute your estate to heirs. This can be time consuming and costly. A trust has the added benefit of avoiding probate and providing the inheritance directly to your beneficiaries (with whatever restrictions you may have imposed as part of the trust – i.e., not having money pass to minors until their 18th birthday).
Help in Preparing Wills and Trusts
For more information that can help you to make an informed decision on the best way to leave your estate to heirs, contact the Petrov Law Firm. Our estate planning attorneys can help you to draft a will, set up a trust, and take care of many other elements of planning for the future. Call 619-344-0360 to get started now.Read More
If you have a diversified portfolio of assets, you may have questions about the best way to leave securities to your heirs would be. For example, can you pass securities on to heirs through transfer on death (TOD)? We’ll examine how this works so you can make an informed decision on the best way to leave your assets to beneficiaries.
You Can Pass Securities Directly to Heirs at Death
The good news is that the state of California has ways to transfer some of your assets outside of the potentially costly and lengthy probate process. One of these is the California Uniform TOD Security Registration Act. This act specifically addresses the passing of stocks and other securities directly to a beneficiary by what is called transfer on death.
The good thing about TOD is that if something happens to you, your heir immediately becomes the owner of the securities that have been designated. The key is to properly designate the TOD assets so that the transfer takes place seamlessly and without question.
Help in Designating Transfer on Death Securities
Petrov Law Firm specializes in estate planning. We can help you to leave your assets to beneficiaries in a way that cuts through some of the legal red tape and gets the money to your heirs faster and without costly legal bills. To learn more, give our San Diego office a call today at 619-3344-0360. We can help you with all of your estate planning needs in the state of California.Read More
Most people think of estate planning as a way to leave material assets and instructions to others. However, we occasionally hear the question: “Can I use my will to cancel a loan?” We’ll discuss a few reasons this question may come up and provide the answer.
Why Cancel a Debt Posthumously?
The fact is that if you leave your estate to beneficiaries, the executor has the responsibility to ensure those heirs receive what is rightfully theirs. If you have someone paying back a loan, that money is owed to the estate. The executor would move to collect the loan so that the beneficiaries receive the money. But you may decide that your estate is sufficient without placing an extra burden on someone who owed you money. In that case, you can cancel the debt in your will, and the loan will not have to be repaid. Here is an example of why you may choose to do this.
Let’s say you intend to leave your fortune to two sons, but the older boy borrows $50,000 from you as business capital. You have a written contract outlining how he will repay you. If you pass away, you could choose to include a clause forgiving the rest of the loan. This would allow the two boys to split the remainder of your estate evenly. If not, the son with the loan may have to repay his loan or have the balance come out of his share of the inheritance.
Help with Preparing a Will that Expresses Your Wishes
It is up to you to determine what is fair and just in the distribution of your estate when you die. The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help by drafting documents that legally bind your executor and heirs to abide by the decisions that you make while alive and in a sound state of mind. To learn more, call 619-344-0360 today.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
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
Just one of the many differences between a will and a trust is that wills are a matter of public record and trusts are confidential documents. As a result, if you choose to divide your estate by means of a will instead of a trust, you may be opening yourself or your heirs up to scams.
What Someone Can Learn from Your Will
If a scam artist is looking for a big score, all he has do is look through public records to find wills that divide up large estates. Now he can either go after that money through trying to run a scam on you personally, or if you don’t fall for it, he can add your heirs to a list and wait patiently for them to inherit the money.
How Much Do Scams Cost Seniors?
In just the first 3 months of 2016, more than 1.7 million dollars were stolen from seniors in the US using phone scams alone. That is hard earned money that should have gone to loved ones rather than a conniving stranger. Here’s one way to take the target off your back.
Safe Estate Planning Techniques
Implement safer estate planning methods by calling Petrov Law Firm. Our estate planning attorneys can help you set up a confidential living trust. No one should know how much money you have, and only your family should get it. Call 619-344-0360 today to schedule a consultation with the San Diego estate planning lawyers you can trust.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
When someone has a will only and does not make use of a trust, the majority of the person’s assets will end up going through probate after his death. However, California law protects certain assets from going through probate. That means these assets will automatically pass to certain individuals. Which assets fall into this category? There are 4 specific groupings.
Life Insurance Policies – Your named beneficiary will be paid directly by the life insurance company.
Retirement and Pension Plans – IRAs and other retirement accounts will automatically pass to the beneficiary that you have named.
POD (Payable on Death) Accounts – When a POD account is set up, you select the beneficiary who will receive the account upon your death. These funds, therefore, do not go through probate as other bank accounts may.
Joint Tenancy Properties – Joint tenancy properties can include things such as a home, vehicle, or even a bank account. The advantage of having both names on a deed, title, or bank account is that these assets then avoid probate. The disadvantage is that creditors may be able to go after these assets for debts owed by the deceased.
Making Trust and Will Decisions in California
In order to keep your family from long and expensive probate battles, you may choose to use a trust to pass on your estate. However, the four means noted above also hasten the process and avoid probate even if you use a will only. Which option is best for you? The estate planning lawyers at the Petrov Law Firm will be happy to help you make these decisions so that your loved ones will be well cared for when you are gone.Read More