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
The short answer is: It can be. The fact is that many estate planning options provide different benefits depending on your specific situation. So we prefer to offer the best options to each client individually once we have a consultation to learn about your specific needs. However, we can provide you with a few of the benefits of naming your revocable trust as the beneficiary for your life insurance policy.
- Protects your assets against the simultaneous death of your beneficiary – What if you are in a fatal car accident with your spouse who is listed as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy? Now that money will have to go through probate court to determine who it belongs to.
- Protects estate from executor and attorney fees – In California, much of your estate can end up going to the executor and the required lawyer if your insurance policy ends up tied up in probate court for a significant amount of time. There are also additional out of pocket expenses for loved ones if the life insurance is tied up for months.
- Protects minor children – Your kids won’t get the life insurance policy right away if they lose both their parents before they turn 18. You can set a revocable trust to make annual disbursements, so the kids have funds before the entire trust becomes available.
Estate Planning to Meet Your Personal Needs in Southern California
At Petrov Law Firm, we understand that each of our clients will have different estate planning needs, so rather than offering you a cookie cutter approach, we take your personal needs and wants into consideration when making recommendations. To start planning for your future, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Estate planning often involves leaving one’s possessions and assets to living relatives or perhaps to a charitable organization. However, what if you don’t have any relatives or are estranged from them? Can you leave your legacy to anyone you choose?
California Law That Dictates Beneficiaries
In the US, you don’t have to worry about things like forced heirship which many European nations use to limit beneficiaries. In the US, you can leave your assets to anyone you choose with very few restrictions. If you want to go to the Whitepages website and pick names at random, California doesn’t care for the most part.
The only real exception will be if you are holding the asset as community property with a spouse. But even then, you could leave your 50% to a random person.
Of course, if you leave a will that outlines random recipients of your estate, you are making things really tough on the executor, who may spend a lot of your estate simply locating the random beneficiaries. Then, you have to include long probate proceedings, especially if a randomly selected heir has passed away.
Again, it’s unlikely that anyone is looking to give their hard-earned money to just anyone. The idea is that you can if you want to, and it is nice that California doesn’t restrict what you can do with your things when it comes to passing assets on to the next generation.
Estate Planning in San Diego, California
Whether you want to leave your assets to family members, charity, or even to your favorite pet, Petrov Law Firm can help you to prepare for the future. Contact our California estate planning attorneys today at 619-344-0360.Read More
If you and your mate are planning for the future, you have some options that are unique to couples and that may offer some tax benefits to the survivor. Here are a few things you should know about estate planning for married couples.
- You can use a Survivor’s Trust if you want to leave everything to your mate. This is the simplest way to leave your estate to a spouse. However, if your surviving mate remarries, this does leave things open for the estate to be passed to the new mate and his or her children rather than yours.
- A Marital Disclaimer Trust gives the surviving mate the option to use a Bypass Trust. However, the help of an attorney is recommended so that the survivor exercises this option at the most financially sound time.
- For very large estates, you may need an A/B Trust to act as a tax shelter. However, with the estate tax only applying to massive estates, this is no longer a frequently used option.
- If you have a blended family or a smaller estate, you may benefit from a Survivor’s Trust with a QTIP (qualified terminable interest property) plan. You maximize the distribution of assets to the surviving spouse while still taking advantage of the best deductions for a married couple.
Learn More About Estate Planning for Married Couples in California
Petrov Law Firm has been helping married couples to plan for the future since 2014, and we are proud to specialize in California estate planning. To get started on your future plans, call our California estate planning attorneys at 619-344-0360 today!Read More
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