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
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
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
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 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
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
Giving someone power of attorney mean that they have the authority to act on your behalf in situations legally outlined by you. For example, you may provide someone with power of attorney regarding your medical decisions should you be unconscious and unable to make decisions for yourself. Or you may choose to give someone the ability to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters, especially in connection with estate planning and financial decisions that may need to be made if you suffer from mental deterioration later in life.
The big problem people often run into when it comes to providing power of attorney is that many people decide to draw up papers using examples they see online rather than having a lawyer draft a legal document. Also, sometimes choosing the wrong person can cause issues. As a result, problems can arise involving the following situations:
- Power of attorney is not used in line with a person’s wishes. For example, a man may remarry later on in life and give his new wife power of attorney. She may use this authority to ensure her children receive all of the family’s inheritance, cutting out children from previous marriages.
- The documents were executed incorrectly. The person who is supposed to have power of attorney wants to act as requested. However, because paperwork was handled improperly, he or she legally does not have power of attorney.
These are just a couple of examples of ways that power of attorney issues can make a mess of one’s estate. So the question to ask yourself is: Is it time to update my power of attorney?
Ensure Power of Attorney Documentation Is Accurate
To avoid the problems noted above and other estate planning issues, come and see us at Petrov Law Firm. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you to update your power of attorney documentation to ensure the right person has the correct amount of authority and that documents are legally drafted and executed. Call 619-344-0360 to get started now.Read More
A Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone you designate the power to act in your place. Having a power of attorney allows you to pick someone you trust to handle your affairs should you become unable to do so. Having one can be more important to your well-being than a will and it gives you peace of mind and reassurance that, in an emergency, someone you choose will have the authority to act for you. While having a power of attorney is a good idea and part of responsible estate planning, consider carefully about what kind is best for you.
A springing power of attorney, sometimes called a conditional power of attorney, is a legal document that comes into effect after certain conditions are met, typically when the person who created it, called the principal, becomes disabled or mentally incompetent. It can be used in a variety of situations that are established by the principal and does not necessarily have to involve trigger with mental or physical incapacity. If you choose springing power of attorney, you should be prepared to define exactly what kind of event will lead to activation of the power of attorney.
A durable power of attorney becomes effective once you sign the document and continues to be effective if you become incapacitated but are still cognizant. For example, you can designate your son or daughter to have power of attorney over your finances or assets because they are better with money or because you do not have the time.
Power of attorney laws differ slightly from state to state. California durable power of attorney laws grant the named individual to make decisions related to medical care and treatment of the principal. Your estate planning attorney can provide more information about California-specific laws surrounding power of attorneys. Abuses of power of attorney can occur in any situation. It is best to discuss this potential with an experienced attorney who will help address all your questions and point out important qualities when choosing a power of attorney so you can select someone who will have your best interest in mind.Read More
The most basic of health care directives is the DNR – Do Not Resuscitate. This can be easily placed in your medical record by your physician. Simply said, if your heart stops or if you stop breathing, no one will perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
However, if you don’t wish to be resuscitated, you need to share that information. It’s probably best to have a medical bracelet stating your DNR order. In addition, you should share this information with your family and with any doctor you see in a critical or urgent situation.
Most people with a simple DNR are already elderly or critically ill. Typically, the DNR helps the patient avoid a long death or a brain dead state.
A living will is generally more thorough than the DNR. A living will should be completed with your estate planner. Generally, a living will includes a long list of medical conditions and medical treatments with instructions by you as to how to proceed with each.
Lastly, you can turn over any other decisions to a medical POA (power of attorney). Your doctors will seek direction from your medical POA if your DNR or living will does not address the details of your medical state. Your medical POA will bear the burden of making end-of-life decisions on your behalf.
Because medical treatments are continuously finding ways to extend our lives, even without comfort or consciousness, it’s important to make end-of-life decisions now. In addition, our litigious society is making physicians nervous to make the best decisions for us. Work with an estate lawyer to make those medical and legal decisions now while you can.Read More
Perhaps you are in-between jobs and you want to travel Europe by train for ten weeks. Maybe you’ve retired and you are going on an extended world cruise. Or you have fallen in love with someone from Brazil and you are going to spend three months in Rio.
Before you go, ask your lawyer to create a non-durable power of attorney. Even simple matters, like getting a replacement credit card, can be made easier when you have a power of attorney. More complicated issues, like long stay visa applications, are significantly easier when you have someone in the states able to act on your behalf.
Banks, credit card companies, and insurance companies will often only speak directly to you and only use the address on file for claims unless you have a power of attorney.
You may also want to include some contingency variations in case you get sick or become incapacitated while you are traveling. A car accident in Athens could wreak havoc on your personal finances if you are laid up in a Greek hospital for a month. Your power of attorney could step in and protect your credit and your assets until you are able to act on your own again.Read More