Estate planning is about more than just deciding what kind of funeral you will have or who will receive what from your personal belongings. Long-term care, which is often necessary at the end of a person’s life, is a vital consideration. Why is this the case? Here are three reasons:
- It Happens to a Lot of People – While only about 1 in 10 people will spend over three years in a nursing home, over 40% of people will be there for at least some time. Whether you end up in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, failure to factor it into your estate plan can be devastating to your benefactors.
- It Costs a Fortune – An assisted living facility can cost upwards of $3,500 per month. As you can imagine, that can drain the estate of most seniors rather rapidly. A one year stay in such a facility can take over $40,000 from your estate. Even if you have millions, you didn’t earn it to give it to a private care facility, and estate planning is the right way to minimize costs.
- Your Health Benefits Probably Won’t Cover It – Many older ones make the mistake of thinking it doesn’t matter how much extended care facilities cost because they have Medicare, Medicaid, or some form of private insurance. You can choose to protect yourself with a long-term care insurance policy. Just be sure you don’t end up paying for the care in advance by means of exorbitant premiums.
Helping You to Prepare for the Future in Southern California
At Petrov Law Firm, we want all of our clients to enjoy their golden years and still have something to pass on to their family. Contact our experienced estate planning attorneys today by calling 619-344-0360 to get started on an estate plan that will meet your needs.Read More
DIY has become a buzzword with fewer and fewer people wanting to pay someone else to do something that they think they can handle themselves. That’s great when it comes to most things. However, planning for your future and for the benefit of your heirs is one of the times that you don’t want to take chances. Here are three reasons to pass on using a DIY will for your estate plan.
- Interpretation Disputes – You may be an eloquent person, but that doesn’t mean your every word will be interpreted correctly or the same way by two different people. If there is a dispute over what something you say in your will means, it can tie your estate up in probate court for years and result in a great deal of your assets going to the court system rather than to your beneficiaries. That isn’t what you’ve worked so hard for all your life.
- Mistakes – Even if you get a little online legal assistance from a site that helps you put together a will, you don’t get the personal attention that you would from a local estate planning lawyer who is specifically experienced with the laws in your state. Mistakes in wording or even in omitting something (like failure to name a healthcare agent) can lead to major issues.
- Peace of Mind – You shouldn’t have to wonder if your will is going to be good enough. Hiring an estate planning attorney can provide you with peace of mind. You will know that all of your bases are covered and that your family’s future is secure.
Hire the Right California Estate Planning Attorneys
If you are planning for the future in the state of California, Petrov Law Firm has the estate planning lawyers you want on your team. Our compassion and experience will make the process as simple as possible and provide you with the peace of mind you want. To get started, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Most people realize the importance of setting up a power of attorney to care for financial matters should they become incapacitated for a time. However, healthcare is frequently overlooked. This is a sensitive area and many people, even family members, will disagree on the type of medical care they want. With that in mind, here are 3 documents you need in case you are ever incapacitated and need medical care.
- Advance Healthcare Directive – Your healthcare directive allows you to designate a health care agent who can make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated for a time. It also gives you the opportunity to leave instructions for your health care agent so that you are still making your own medical decisions. The health care agent is therefore just carrying out your wishes until a situation comes up that you haven’t accounted for. Then he or she will step in to make those decisions for you.
- Living Will – This gives you the opportunity to express additional wishes in regard to end of life decisions. For example, you can determine whether or not you want your life to be prolonged by machines, even if there is relatively little hope of being revived.
- HIPPA Authorization – You need to give health care practitioners the legal right to share your medical information with your health care agents as having access to your records will make it much easier to make decisions in harmony with your wishes.
Planning for Your Future Health in California
Whether you have an estate plan that addresses financial matters but not health or you need to start from scratch, the estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm can help. Give us a call today at 619-344-0360 to ensure that your wishes will be carried out, not just after your death but even while you are alive should you become incapacitated.Read More
One of the easiest ways to distribute your smaller assets (like bank accounts) is to list your beneficiaries on the accounts as recipients upon your death. When you pass away the asset will then immediately transfer to the beneficiary without any need to pass through probate.
However, when you pass your assets over without specific instructions, you might find that your assets don’t get distributed as you want. For example, you could add each adult child as a beneficiary for the bank account. And you could verbally request that the money in your bank accounts gets distributed equally among your children. Unfortunately, one of them could withdraw the full amount without consent from the other account holders.
Just a few thousands dollars could then cause a rift in your family. Work with an estate planner to clearly state your intentions in your will and create the legal mechanisms to ensure your assets are distributed accordingly. Money can have a polarizing effect within the closest of families. And while you might assume you know the financial circumstances of each of your children, chances are there are details about their personal finances they won’t share with you. Even the most seemingly responsible adult might have financial concerns that could override their loyalty to your express wishes.
Never make any assumptions when it comes to asset distribution. The passing of a loved one is a stressful time for a family. If there are any vaguaries regarding your assets, the stress of your death could translate into long-standing grudges over financial matters.Read More
If you would prefer not to die in a hospital, you will have to work with an estate planner to create a health care directive that specifically allows you the pass in your home. Generally, the issue of where you pass away will depend on the kinds of treatments you agree to forego.
There are simply some treatments that are unavailable to you if you remain in your home. Although at-home treatment options increase year-over-year, some treatments require large machines or sterile environments that are simply unavailable in the home.
Effectively, you are eliminating some palliative care options if you insist on staying out of a hospital for your final days. Your estate planner can go over a long list of treatment options and help you determine which ones won’t be a viable option for your home. Carefully consider your treatment options, however. There may be life-saving treatments only available in the hospital setting. By simply refusing in-hospital treatments, you could be reducing your life by weeks, months, or years.
Getting treated in a hospital always comes with the risk of passing while away from home. Get a list of medical decisions from your estate attorney and go over the list with your family and personal physician.Read More
Because there are several types of trusts, such as revocable and irrevocable, there is no single answer as to how you can change the trustee of a trust. The trustee is the person in charge of the money. He or she must follow the instruction in the trust and distribute the money according to those instructions. Trusts are generally intended to help families avoid complex probate problems, probate fees, and taxation.
Revocable, living trusts are generally the easiest to adjust. In fact, the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiary are often the same person. In addition, with these trusts, it is fairly easy to execute a power of attorney to add another trustee to the trust. However, a lawyer will have to draft any changes to the trust to ensure the changes are legal and appropriate.
Irrevocable trusts are more difficult to adjust. If the trustee is alive, he or she must give consent over the change. If the trustee has passed away, then the beneficiaries must agree on a new trustee and amend the original trust.
Changing the trustee of a trust is not an easy task. Generally, you will need to hire a lawyer to ensure that the intent of the original trust remains intact. If there are several beneficiaries trying to access the same assets, a lawyer becomes a necessity.Read More
From web-based subscription services to apps for your phone, there are several services that offer secure ways to store your healthcare directive. While many of these services offer a convenient solution to quickly access to your healthcare directive, you can find simple and free ways to store your living will.
In paper form, you should store your healthcare directive at home and give one copy to your attorney. Be sure to give a copy to any relatives that might be called upon to let doctors know of your wishes.
For a digital copy, you could use a service that will store a copy for a small monthly fee. But you could also keep a copy on a service like Dropbox where you keep it in a folder that you can share with the important people in your life. These services are widely accessible on any computer or mobile phone that connects to the Internet.
In place of a digital storing service like Dropbox, you can always use web-based email service like AOL, Google, and Hotmail. Send a copy of the scanned document to yourself (or your spouse) and file it in one of your archive folders.
Whether you are at home or in a foreign country, you will want quick access to your healthcare directive. Take a few moments to assess your comfort with your digital options, and make the choice that’s right for you and your family.Read More
You can receive nourishment and hydration through a feeding tube into your stomach or an IV line into your blood. (The stomach feeding tube is generally more effective.) However, if you choose, you can opt not to take in nourishment. Generally, this is a decision to end your life in a matter of days or weeks. You should put this in writing before you are incapable of speaking for yourself as your family might be unwilling to deprive you of food and water.
Contact a lawyer and create a living will that specifically states your current desire not to be given basic sustenance. Even if you are awake, you might lose the ability to speak for yourself if a family member decides to challenge your mental capacity in court.
Refusing a feeding tube can be seen as a drastic move and could mean long conversations with emotional relatives and expensive lawyers. When you consult with your attorney, make sure to include the name of the health care agent (your representative) who you want to speak on your behalf when you become unable to do so. In addition, be sure to inform your agent of these critical decisions before you become sick or incapacitated.
End of life decisions are difficult to face. However, making those choices now, while you are healthy and able, will make the end of your life easier for your friends and family.Read More
In short, most adults should have a living will. However most adults do not. There are a few incidents in life that will encourage you to write a statement about your personal medical decisions. Because the true intent of a living will is to relieve your family from those difficult life and death decisions, most of the incidents that call for creating a living will are family related.
If you get married, write a living will. Prior to the wedding, your parents were most likely your next-of-kin. The moment you get married, your spouse takes on those responsibilities. Without clear instructions dictating your personal medical choices, your parents and your spouse could face off in a court battle over keeping you alive. Even without a legal basis, court proceedings can take months or years, creating an on-going rift within your family.
If you have a child, write a living will. Living wills spell out your medical wishes. If you get sick or injured, someone will have to make some difficult choices about how long you will continue to be in your child’s life. Remove those doubts or feelings of guilt and spell out your own end-of-life choices.
Again, if someone close to you dies, write your own living will. Once you witness the stress and guilt that comes with an uninformed end-of-life decision, you will do anything in your power to protect your own family from those choices.
Most people do not know where to start or what to say. Contact a lawyer or estate planner and get a draft started immediately.
Generally, it is a good idea to review your will every three years. However, there are changes in your personal life that could prompt you to make changes sooner than that. Generally, there are three reasons to change your will and, typically, one of those reasons will emerge within any given three year period.
Change In Law: You are probably not up on the latest details of estate planning laws. However, your lawyer is. A visit to your lawyer will allow you to take advantage of new laws or avoid undue taxation with the ever-changing laws that govern estate taxes.
Change In Economics: A change in economic conditions could be something personal such as a new job or the sale of a business. However, a change in economics can also mean something such as a decrease in real estate values. The worldwide economic problems that began in 2008 were an opportunity for people to transfer real estate at a lower value than just a few years earlier.
Change in Family: A change in family can be something as wonderful as adding a new baby or as troubling as a diagnosis of a medical problem. Marriage, divorce, and remarriage create new family dynamics that should be reflected in your estate planning.
If you think back on the last three years, you can probably identify a major change in your life. If you are lucky enough to have a stable personal life, then there are laws that have changed and you should schedule an appointment with an estate lawyer.Read More