Establishing a trust is a great way to eliminate all of the problems that come along with probate. Your family won’t have to worry about the court fees or deal with an executor. This can prevent long delays in receiving the inheritance. However, it is still important to choose the right successor trustee in order to ensure that your estate is in good hands until it gets to your beneficiaries. Here are a few ways to keep your successor trustee from making the most common mistakes.
- Hire an Accountant – Unless your trustee is particularly good with numbers and understands accounting, this is the best way to ensure that there are no errors in the record keeping. Plus, having two people to check each other’s numbers keeps everyone honest.
- Outline Instructions Clearly – Sometimes a trustee can get confused about the role that he or she plays. To eliminate confusion, make sure your estate planning documents outline how you want your trustee to act, including how the assets are preserved until they reach your beneficiaries.
- Provide Adequate Compensation – Your trustee knows how much has been set aside for your beneficiaries. The trustee is doing all of the work. So while you may leave a relatively small percent of your estate to compensate the trustee, it should be enough to ensure he or she doesn’t feel cheated or isn’t moved to maneuver for a little additional compensation from your family.
- Be Objective – Sentimentality cannot guide your choice of a successor trustee. It has to be the person who is best suited for the job. Otherwise, problems are likely to come about.
Assistance in Developing a Trust and Other Estate Planning in California
The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm are experienced in helping California residents to plan properly for the future. To learn more, contact us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
You want to save for your future, but you also want to plan for the future of your family. How can you get your retirement plan to play nice with your estate plan and ensure that you get to enjoy your golden years and still pass on an inheritance to your loved ones? Here are a few things to consider.
Your Retirement Fund Can’t Be Part of Your Trust
Your trust can’t own the retirement fund. That means you have to select a separate beneficiary for your retirement account. You can leave the retirement money and the trust to the same individual, just not with one nested under the other.
When selecting a beneficiary for a retirement fund, remember that there are tax advantages and other financial benefits to leaving these funds directly to a spouse. For example, regardless of who the beneficiary is, retirement funds don’t go through probate. They pass directly to the named beneficiary. However, only a spouse can defer minimum distribution until he or she hits retirement age.
Making Your Retirement Fund Beneficiary Your Trust
Why not simply leave your retirement fund to your loved one? What if he or she was to make the mistake of taking all of the funds at once and ends up paying half of the inheritance out in taxes the next year? That would be an expensive error. But your trustee could ensure that the retirement fund is stretched and distributions are taken at the proper times to maximize the payout.
Leaving Your Estate and Retirement Funds Behind the Right Way
Petrov Law Firm can help you to negotiate the laws that California has in place regarding estate planning and retirement funds. To get the help you need in planning for a better future, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with estate planning is thinking that all estate planning is about is what happens when you die. Your estate plan should include contingency plans for during your lifetime. Here’s something many people miss, and a quick fix for it.
Planning for Incapacitation
It’s a scenario we forget to plan for because we don’t like to think about it. What if you ever become mentally incapacitated during your lifetime? It could be due to an accident or illness that leaves you unconscious for a period of time or simply due to the mental degradation that sometimes accompanies old age. But it raises the question: Who will make financial decisions for you if you are no longer of sound mind to do so yourself?
Naming a power of attorney in your estate plan is the perfect way to ensure the courts don’t end up having to appoint a conservatorship to care for things for you. You get to select someone you trust to carry out your wishes rather than their own. And you don’t have to worry about undue influence affecting you if your judgment ever becomes less than sound. This can prevent your estate from becoming tied up in a long legal battle.
Planning for the Future in Southern California
From selecting a power of attorney to setting up revocable living trusts, Petrov Law Firm can help you select the estate planning options that are best for you. Speak to one of our estate planning attorneys to learn more. Call 619-344-0360 today to get started.Read More
No one wants to think about the end of his or her life. However, if you have anything to leave behind to your loved ones, you have probably at least gone through the mental exercise of deciding who gets what. There are other elements of an estate plan, however, that require engaging the emotions. Here are a few things to consider:
- Protecting the emotions of survivors – When you pass away, there will be people who mourn you. Your estate plan can make things easier for But you need to consider now what emotional burdens your family may face so you can plan accordingly. For example, will it save infighting if you detail how you want the funeral to be arranged?
- Keep private matters private – A last will and testament becomes public record when you die. So if you don’t want everyone being able to look into your business, it is better to consider other estate planning options such as leaving assets to your loved ones by means of a trust. This can keep anyone from having hard feelings over knowing who received which parts of your estate.
- Leaving behind a legacy – You may wish to leave private letters or videos for your beneficiaries to provide advice or just to say goodbye and give them a memento. Your estate is a great way to pass on heirlooms, family lore, and other priceless history that may not have monetary value but plenty of sentimental value.
California’s Compassionate Estate Planning Attorneys
If you want estate planning attorneys on your side who can help you to navigate both the logical and emotional side of planning for the future, you want the compassionate lawyers at Petrov Law Firm in your corner. Contact us today at 619-344-0360 to start planning how to leave your loved ones something truly special.Read More
Some people are willing to take the chance that everything will pass to their spouse and kids. Others are content to draw up a will and let the courts have their part in matters. But if you want your family to receive your estate with an increased degree of certainty and without the courts causing delays and expenses, there are two things you need to include in your estate planning.
- Trusts – A trust can allow your heirs to skip probate. You can manage the trust while you are alive and appoint a successor trustee to carry out your wishes and disseminate the trust in your absence. It gives you the flexibility you need while you are alive and provides your beneficiaries with the convenience of fewer court fees and the excessive time it may take to receive funds if probate is involved.
- Power of Attorney – Whether you are appointing a healthcare agent to make medical decisions should you become incapacitated or a power of attorney to make financial decisions, this is a great way to block courts from stepping in and appointing a conservatorship to take care of matters for you. You can outline your wishes in advance and appoint someone you trust to carry out those wishes as opposed to whomever the court may grant guardianship to.
Smart Estate Planning in Southern California
Petrov Law Firm offers smart estate planning options to residents of San Diego and the surrounding areas. If you are ready to take control of your future rather than leaving it in the hands of the court system, give us a call today at 619-344-0360.Read More
When it comes to estate planning, trusts are an excellent way to protect your family from drawn-out court proceedings and expensive probate hearings. We’re going to look at two of those options, and how they may be able to add a level of protection to your estate plan.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a great way to leave your estate to your beneficiaries without having it go through probate. You can even serve as the trustee while you are still alive and control what goes into the estate personally. Then you can appoint a successor trustee to distribute things to the right heirs at the right time. Some people even decide to make the revocable living trust the beneficiary of their life insurance policy. That makes it payable to the trust beneficiaries and no one else.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
This type of trust helps you to administer the benefits of one or more life insurance policies for your beneficiaries. It provides tax benefits and protects the insurance money from creditors. You can also fund the trust with other assets besides just your insurance policies. Those assets can be used to pay the insurance premiums.
Planning for Your Estate in California
If you have an estate to leave to beneficiaries in California, even if it is primarily your life insurance policy, you can still benefit from the professional advice of the estate planning attorneys at the Petrov Law Firm. To get started, give our San Diego office a call at 619-344-0360.Read More
Are you concerned that your beneficiaries may still have a long way to go in learning to handle money? If so, you may want to protect them from misusing their inheritance by installing a spendthrift clause into your trust. What does this provision do? How can it protector your heirs from creditors?
The Benefits of a Spendthrift Trust
Once funds have been distributed to a benefactor, creditors can go after these assets. However, funds that are not under control of the heir or that have not yet been dispersed can be protected from certain creditors. This is where a spendthrift clause comes into play.
In a spendthrift trust, the funds are under the control of a trustee who distributes funds to the heir when he or she sees fit. Since the beneficiary cannot access these funds at will, they are not considered to be his or her property. This provides the additional protection from creditors who can only go after what the beneficiary actually owns.
There are, however, exceptions to every rule. For example, a court may direct that child support or alimony payments that have been awarded can be taken from a spendthrift trust.
Learn More About Your Estate Planning Options
To learn more about your estate planning options, contact the experienced attorneys at Petrov Law Firm by calling 619-344-0360. From developing an estate plan from scratch to reworking an outdated plan, we can help you to prepare for the future with confidence.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
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
One of the things that we love to help our estate planning clients with is setting up a living trust. This gives you some great options. For example, while you are alive, you can serve as your own trustee and take care of the trust as you wish. You can also leave instructions for a successor trustee. What does the successor trustee do after you pass?
The Role of a Successor Trustee
A trust does not go through probate, so the executor of your will won’t have anything to do with the trust (unless it is the same person you select as your successor trustee). The successor trustee administers the trust after the grantor has died. Usually, the grantor will leave written terms to guide the decisions of the trustee.
A trustee is an appropriate name because you are trusting this individual to put aside his or her own personal interests on behalf of the trust and those who are designated as beneficiaries. Thus, even when it is necessary for the trustee to handle matters that call for decisions not outlined by the grantor, the trustee should be guided by what the grantor would have wanted as well as what is in the best interests of the trust itself and of the beneficiaries.
Selection of a Successor Trustee Is Serious Business
Because of these facts, you want to give serious thought to who you will assign as a successor trustee. You also want to leave detailed instructions, so your trustee has a firm basis for knowing your wishes. This will ensure that your beneficiaries get the maximum yield from the trust.
To set up a living trust and to put other estate planning measures in motion, call 619-344-0360 and speak to the attorneys at Petrov Law Firm. We are experienced estate planning attorneys serving San Diego and the surrounding areas in southern California.Read More