Any time you have a major change in your life circumstances, you should review your estate plan, and a divorce certainly counts. Here are a few things to consider regarding your estate plan if you recently or currently are going through a divorce.
- Don’t forget the kids if you remarry – If you get remarried there is a risk of all of your estate going to the new mate and children, so don’t forget to include any kids from the previous marriage when you plan your estate.
- Changing beneficiaries – Not everything goes through probate, so if you have retirement accounts, a life insurance policy, or trusts with a named beneficiary, you want to be sure you change the primary beneficiary to reflect your new situation.
- Settling quickly – If a divorce settlement is still in progress when you pass away, this can tie up your estate indefinitely in probate court, so be sure to clear up and potential legal conflicts with a finalized settlement as soon as possible.
Help in Developing or Updating Your California Estate Plan
The experienced estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to plan for your future with a comprehensive estate plan that takes good care of your beneficiaries. We can also help you to update an existing estate plan whether due to a change in circumstances, like a divorce, or even something simple such as being a recent move-in into the state of California. Call 619-344-0360 today to schedule an appointment and get your affairs in order.Read More
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
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
Did you know that gifts can be taxed once they reach a certain value in a calendar year? That’s why gifting trusts exist. By sending gifts that exceed the exclusion amount to a gifting trust, you add to a beneficiary’s trust and don’t get hit with a huge tax penalty. Here are four types of gifting trusts that each have specific benefits.
- Gift Trust with Annual Exclusions – This is how you get around the gift exemption amount. You put anything that you gift above the exclusion amount into a trust for the individual. The money isn’t immediately available, but it also doesn’t get taxed into oblivion.
- Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT) – This trust can be used to transfer a family business to another member of the family and offer protection from creditors for the beneficiary.
- Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) – Are you looking to leave money to a charity rather than family? This is a form of gift trust that is specifically designed to gain tax benefits for the estate when you leave money to the charity of your choice.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) – This is a way to transfer a home to your children at a value that is far lower than the current market value. It provides tax benefits as well as asset protection for the house.
More Generous Gifting Solutions in California
If you are making generous gifts to your beneficiaries or you want to plan for your future in other ways, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm are happy to help. Contact us today at 619-344-0360 to get started on your estate plan.Read More
You have the freedom to make advance decisions as to whether you want to have your life prolonged should there be a reasonable degree of medical certain that you will not regain consciousness, your condition is irreversible and fatal, or the risks of treatment would outweigh the benefits. With that in mind, how you word your advance directive plays a key role in whether your wishes will be observed.
An advance health care directive needs to be a part of your estate planning. This document allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. It also allows you to state your medical wishes in advance on sensitive topics such as end of life decisions.
This document makes the process simpler for the person you designate as your health care surrogate. Your decision is already made. All he or she has to do is make sure your medical wishes are carried out by giving you a voice when you can’t speak for yourself.
Help in Preparing Your Advance Health Care Directive
Your decisions should be yours to make. However, if they are not executed properly, someone may be able to object when you can’t defend your wishes. Petrov Law Firm can help you to word your advance directive clearly and in harmony with California state law. Every state requires different wording for health care directives, so even if you have moved into California with an existing document, it needs to be updated right away. Call 619-344-0360 to get the help you need.Read More
Making your own decisions is an important part of the estate planning process. After all, it is your future, and the whole point of estate planning is to ensure that your wishes are carried out regardless of whether you become incapacitated or pass away. But a do-it-yourself will based on an online template poses several risks.
- Leaving out important details – An estate planning attorney will know what questions to ask. Do you need to change your beneficiaries? Have you opened new accounts since you last looked at your will? You don’t want a 20-year-old will to outline wishes that you don’t even agree with anymore.
- Loopholes – When you leave money or other assets to family and friends, you don’t want to leave loopholes mistakenly. This could result in a greedy or vindictive family member dragging out a long probate battle, exhausting much of the funds and tying up what isn’t wasted.
- Taxes pitfalls – You don’t want your beneficiaries getting stuck paying most of your estate out in taxes. An estate planning attorney can help you to pass along the funds the right way and even help you to leave advice for beneficiaries.
Handling Your Affairs the Right Way in Southern California
The San Diego based attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help you to handle your affairs the right way so that no details are left out, all the loopholes are closed, and tax concerns are handled properly. For peace of mind in the estate planning process, 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