What is a conservatorship? How could it potentially protect you from undue influence regarding financial matters and end of life decisions? Let’s look at this legal way to protect your decisions even if you should become unable to make those decisions for yourself later in life, or even just for a limited period of time.
What Is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a final line of defense against having financial or medical decisions made without a person’s ability to consent. While proper estate planning can provide a power of attorney to make these decisions, a conservatorship involves the probate court assigning someone to make valid decisions on a person’s behalf. There are 3 types of probate conservatorships.
- A general conservatorship involves the court giving a person the legal ability to care for the personal decisions of another, including financial decisions.
- A limited conservatorship is usually only set up in the case of an adult who is developmentally disabled and needs some assistance in decision making.
- Under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a conservatorship can be set up to assist someone who becomes so gravely disabled they can no longer provide their own basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing.
In the case of a person trying to influence someone who has become mentally incapacitated to make financial decisions that are different from what a will or medical directive may have originally dictated while the individual was of sound mind, a conservatorship may provide a neutral party to maintain the wishes a person expressed in the past.
A Better Way to Ensure Your Decision Remain Yours
The best thing to do is to have your estate planning properly prepared now. Everything from how your assets are to be divided to what you want your funeral to be like should be part of your estate planning. Appointing a power of attorney to make financial decisions or appointing a healthcare agent to uphold your medical decisions can also make things easier on family members who may have differing opinions on how to care for matters if you cannot do so yourself for one reason or another. To learn more, contact Petrov Law Firm today by calling 619-344-0360.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
If you determine that the best way to leave your assets to beneficiaries is via a trust that will help keep matters out of probate, there is still something vital to consider. What is the relationship between your heirs and the person (or persons) you are appointing as a trustee? Obviously, a better relationship will make things easier on those who are to inherit your estate.
What Does a Trustee Do?
When the trustor passes away, the trustee is in charge of keeping the trust safe and making appropriate distributions to any beneficiaries. So there are a few things to consider when appointing a trustee:
- Is this person trustworthy enough to carry out your wishes?
- Does the trustee have sufficient ability to handle this responsibility?
- Will the trustee’s relationship with the beneficiary help or hinder the proper distribution of the trust?
Of course, planning your trust properly can also help the process along, even if there is some disputing between the trustee and beneficiary. However, you can minimize how much of the trust ends up going toward administration costs by selecting the right person – someone who has the ability to care for the trust and the desire to do what is best for the beneficiary.
Help for Creating Trusteeships in San Diego, California
If you live in California and need advice or help in creating a trust, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm will be happy to assist you. To learn more, call our San Diego and Chula Vista attorneys at 619-344-0360.Read More
There are two important and separate matters that are handled by proper estate planning and the appointment of a power of attorney. They are matters pertaining to your financial assets and matters dealing with your health care. In some cases, you may want a different person to have power of attorney for each circumstance. In other cases, the same person may act as power of attorney for everything. Here are a few things to consider.
Power of Attorney for Financial and Health Decisions
Should decisions about your health or finances need to be made while you are unconscious or no longer of sound mind, appointing a power of attorney who has specific instructions on how to carry out your directives can help to ensure that matters are still handled as you would want them to be, even if you can’t give the orders for yourself.
However, you may not always want the same person making all of these decisions. For example, you may want your wife to make financial decisions in your absence but your son to make medical decisions or vice versa. You may even have certain decisions that you want to leave to a party that is not as emotionally tied to you. In other situations, you may have one trusted friend or relative who can handle all of your decision-making as a POA.
San Diego Residents Planning for Financial and Health Care POAs
If you are a California resident, especially if you live in the San Diego area, and are looking to designate a power of attorney for health or financial matters, contact the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm today. We can help you to make informed decisions that will lead to your wishes being carried out as closely as possible. To learn more, call 619-344-0360.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
According to Time magazine, the average American household has more than $16,000 in credit card debt. Some people are under the mistaken impression that this kind of debt dies with them. However, your heirs will be met with a terrible surprise if you don’t prepare to handle debt as part of your estate planning. Here is what you need to know.
How Credit Card Agreements Work
When you use a credit card, you sign in agreement to complete the payment. Passing away does not absolve your estate of that debt. Thus, credit card debts pass on in one of two ways.
- Through your spouse – If you have a living spouse, the creditors will seek payment from your mate.
- Through your estate – If you die without a living spouse, the credit card issuer will go after your estate for the balance due.
As a result of these factors, an executor who understands how credit card debt works will usually pay all legitimate bills without it even having to go through probate. An inexperienced executor who doesn’t understand the way credit card debt works may find out through the probate process that these bills need to be cared for from what you leave behind.
Planning Properly for Debt Resolution
To save everyone a headache during the probate process, it is a good idea to ensure that your executor understands how credit card debt works. Including how these debts are to be paid after your death will make the process easier, and won’t leave any surprises for heirs.
For more about how to properly arrange for these matters, please contact Petrov Law Firm. Our estate planning attorneys will be happy to help you prepare your estate properly. Just 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