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
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
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
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
What is a holographic will? It refers to a last will and testament that is handwritten and signed by the testator ( the person whose will it is). California happens to be one of the states that allow this type of will. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good option. What are some reasons to avoid a handwritten will?
- It is easy to challenge the will – Proving that the handwriting on the will matches other handwriting samples from the testator is only a matter of time, but there are plenty of ways to prevent an inheritance from being tied up for months or perhaps longer, so why make things more difficult for heirs?
- Witnesses to the signing are optional – Because the document being in the testator’s own handwriting is legally binding, the witnesses who would normally attest to a typed document are often skipped. However, having witness signatures on a will is an extra way to prevent confusion as to the legitimacy of the document.
- Handwritten wills are often prepared incorrectly – This can occur with a typed will too if it is not checked by an estate planning attorney. The best way to deal with this situation is to have a professional draft the document to meet your expressed desires. Then you know your wishes will be carried out in a timely manner.
Help in Drafting a Will or Creating a Trust
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm are happy to help our clients develop legal documents that ensure your wishes will be carried out for asset distribution, funeral arrangements, and other necessary matters. To learn more, give us a call at 619-344-0360.Read More
Charitable planning is a wonderful part of estate planning that can allow a person to pass on a legacy of benefit to those in need. However, failing to plan properly for this giving can lead to legal issues for both the charities you intend to help and your family members whom you may intend to leave the bulk of your estate to. Here’s an example of the messy situations that may arise.
Charity Sues Trust Over Use of Funds
An issue arose for a man who executed his estate planning all the way back in 1967. A trust was formed that gave the man’s grandson a $100/month payout for as long as he lived. There was also a stipulation that would allow the trust to provide the grandson with additional funds for special situations like medical bills, accidents, and other cases of “dire need.”
The grandson dipped into the trust for such a case of “dire need” in 2009 when he went through a divorce. The trustee approved more than $160,000 in disbursements. So far everything seemed to be working as intended, but there was one catch.
Several charities were to share what was left in the trust when the grandson eventually died. These charities had already been waiting for 50 years, and one in particular was not happy that $160,000 was going on a divorce, disagreeing with it being a case of need that the trust should pay for. The case has bounced between state and federal courts and was back in a California court as of January 2017. No doubt this was not the way the man who left behind the estate wanted things to go, with more and more of the trust’s money ending up going to lawyers and court fees.
Protect Your Trust with Good Estate Planning
By planning one’s estate carefully, it is possible to provide for descendants and also for charities to benefit fully from assets without a legal battle. Petrov Law Firm specializes in estate planning, and our attorneys can help you to plan effectively for various situations that may arise in the future. Call 619-344-0360 to get started.Read More
If you are putting off a conversation with your family about estate planning because the topic is tough to deal with, now is the time to get everyone together. The fact is that as difficult as the conversation may be to have, you need to have it while everyone is calm and has their wits about them. During an emergency medical situation or when cognitive problems start to set in are not the right times for serious talk about the future. Here are a few things you should know.
Why You Need to Have an Estate Planning Discussion
Discussing things as a family does not take away your right to determine what will happen to you or your estate. It simply helps you to convey to your family why your estate plan is being set up as it is, and it allows your family members to voice opinions or ideas you may not have thought of. What should the discussion include?
- Distribution of Assets – Discussing who will get what can curb hurt feelings over what your will or trust will later
- End of Life Decisions – If you don’t want your life prolonged on machines, now is the time to break the news to your family and to discuss who can handle the emotional responsibility of making the call if it comes to that.
- Funeral Arrangements – Now is the time to let your family know how you want your remains to be handled.
- Medical Wishes – If you become incapacitated either physically or mentally, now is the time to establish who will be in charge of making decisions for you and what you expect those decisions to be.
Meeting Your Estate Planning Needs in San Diego, California
By having this discussion, you can help absolve your family of any feelings of guilt when having to make tough calls and limit any hurt feelings that may be piled on top of grief at a later time. Petrov Law Firm can then help you to carry out the decisions you have made by sharing our valuable estate planning experience with you. To begin enacting your plans for the future, call 619-344-0360 today.Read More
One estate planning method that many couples use to avoid probate is called joint tenancy. This means that the two of you own the property together. As a result, if one spouse dies, the other will automatically own the property outright and thereby avoid having to through the mate’s estate to get ownership. Does the same concept apply to cars?
Joint Tenancy of Cars in California
Joint tenancy should help a car pass to the right person automatically. However, it is vital to register the car properly in both names. This is highlighted by a case involving two friends who co-owned a vehicle. When one of the friends passed away, the other expected to get full ownership of the vehicle since both names were on the title. But the court ruled that the title did not create joint tenancy but merely tenancy in common. As a result, the surviving friend received 50% ownership only, and the other half went to the deceased’s trust.
Knowledgeable Estate Planning Advice in San Diego
Knowing how to properly register your vehicle as joint tenancy is important if you want the car to avoid probate and pass immediately to the co-owner, whether that be your mate, another family member, or a close friend. The estate planning lawyers at Petrov Law Firm can help you to make sure you have taken care of all the details that will ensure a smooth transition. To get started on your estate plan and get the accompanying advice that you need, just call 619-344-0360.Read More
A living trust is a great way to simplify matters for your heirs and avoid probate. Since assets that are a part of a trust are passed on differently than those in a will, your heirs may receive their inheritance faster and with fewer legal fees. The difference is in the way the trust is funded. Only a correctly implemented trust will save time and money and avoid lengthy court proceedings.
Why Executing the Trust Properly Is Vital
A 2012 case in El Dorado, California brought this topic to the fore. In the case, an older woman had executed a trust leaving her home to her daughter. Three years later, she changed her trust to make her son the heir but failed to change the deed on the house. Thus, the conflict was whether or not the house should be left to the son or daughter.
In the end, the son received the house due to California law allowing for the transfer of the property to the new trust. However, it took 5 years longer than it should have for the son to get the home. So it still drives home the point of properly executing a trust in order to avoid long legal battles.
Help in Executing Your Living Trust in Sand Diego, California
San Diego, California residents can trust the experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm to help execute your living trust properly. This will make for a smooth transition in the future when your heirs receive their inheritance. To learn more and to start planning for the future today, call 619-344-0360.Read More
There is a lot to think about when a couple goes through a divorce, especially if they have been together for a long time and have a family. One major consideration is the status of your estate planning. What estate matters need to be considered following a divorce?
- Does your former mate still have power of attorney to make medical decisions for you?
- Was your spouse the trustee for part or all of your estate?
- Do you share a living trust?
- Is your ex still in your will?
- Is your former spouse listed on your bank, credit, or retirement accounts?
- Do you share any property?
While some of these matters may be resolved as a part of the divorce (for example, jointly owned assets may be liquidated), some things may need to get taken care of afterwards. If you become suddenly incapacitated either physical or mentally, it will be too late to make these changes, so now is the time to think about it.
Compassionate Assistance When Estate Plans Need to Be Adjusted
Life-changing events are never easy. It can be tough to think things through logically following a divorce, especially if you experienced many years together. Having a quality estate planning lawyer in your corner can be an important asset when it comes to making sure you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all of your T’s.
Petrov Law Firm has the compassionate attorneys who can help you to make the right decisions at your own pace. To schedule an appointment, call 619-344-0360.Read More