California probate court is where decisions are made regarding the estates of both those who die with no will and those who have a will. What do you need to know about California probate court so you can do your estate planning accordingly?
If I Don’t Have a Will, Does Probate Court Appoint an Executor?
Not exactly. There is someone who will be appointed to handle your affairs, but an executor is someone whom you appoint in a last will and testament to take care of these matters for you.
What Happens to Taxes or Debts That I Owe?
Probate court ensures that all of these debts are paid from your estate. Thus, whatever is left over and goes to your heirs will be theirs without the worries that a bill collector will come knocking at the door later on. Since there is only a brief window for collectors to receive anything, this may encourage some of the debts to be forgiven.
Is Probate Public Record?
Yes. If you rely on probate to care for your estate, anyone will be able to go and look up who your beneficiaries are and what they received. This can make them targets of scams.
How Long Will My Estate Be Tied Up?
It depends. Funds can be stuck in court for months or even years depending on whether it is very clear who should receive your assets. This can be a huge financial drain on the estate as well.
Where Can I Get Estate Planning Help to Avoid Probate?
If you want your assets to avoid probate in California, Petrov Law Firm in San Diego can help. Our experienced attorneys can help you to set up the right type of trust fund so that your beneficiaries can receive assets much faster. To learn more, call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation.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
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
The jury is out on probate court for some since there are occasional circumstances where it can be beneficial. However, in most situations, it’s just an unnecessary drain. Here are three primary reasons you should try to keep your estate from going into probate.
- It Costs a Lot of Money – You want to leave your estate to your family, not the court system. However, a drawn-out probate battle can drain the funds from your estate rapidly. Don’t let your beneficiaries get stuck with a mere fraction of what you worked hard to amass during your lifetime.
- It Can Take a Long Time – Another issue is that your loved ones may have to wait months or years before they see any of the money that you want them to enjoy. Bypassing probate altogether is the best way to get your estate to your heirs quickly and intact.
- It Is a Matter of Public Record – You don’t want everyone knowing what you had and who you left it to. That could be dangerous for family members who suddenly have a lot of money for the first time and could become the victims of scammers. It could also cause hurt feelings among those who received a smaller portion of the estate. It is no one’s business what you decide to give or to whom you choose to give it.
Assistance to Legally Keep Your Estate Out of Probate
If you are looking for an experienced estate planning attorney in Southern California who can keep your estate assets out of probate court and get it into the hands of your loved ones, contact Petrov Law Firm today at 619-344-0360.Read More
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
This is a question that a lot of clients come into our office asking. Let’s discuss how probate works and what you can do if you want to avoid it.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process through which a person’s assets are distributed after he or she dies. If the person who passes away has a last will and testament that is legally valid, then the document is used as a guideline. It should outline:
- An executor – This is a person who is responsible for gathering and dispensing the estate’s assets. Responsibilities may include paying taxes that are still owed by the estate as well as any other debts and collecting debts that may be owed to the estate. Multiple executors can be named in succession in case the primary executor dies before the person whose will it is.
- Beneficiaries – One or more people can be designated to receive part or all of the estate. This includes property and other assets.
Probate court can drain much of the funds in an estate and lead to lengthy proceedings that keep beneficiaries from getting money as quickly – especially if the will is contested. For this reason, many people prefer to take steps to avoid probate. How?
Avoiding Probate in California
If you are looking to avoid probate court in the state of California, the right option for you may be a revocable living trust. Such a trust is not subject to probate in California. The estate planning attorneys at Petrov Law Firm would be happy to help you set up such an estate plan. To learn more, call our experienced California attorneys at 619-344-0360.Read More
You may be looking for a way to leave your assets to heirs without the added time and expenses involved in probate. If so, a living trust could be exactly what you have been searching for. But does this mean that you are turning over control of your assets to a trustee?
If you set up a revocable living trust, then you are the trustee while you are still living. This gives you complete control over the trust. You can add assets or remove them from the trust at any time. It is a great way to leave property and other assets to your heirs and have them avoid probate without giving up control during your life.
However, when you pass away, your revocable living trust becomes irrevocable. At this point, a successor trustee will take over. He or she will then carry out your wishes for the trust in accord with any instructions that you have left behind. This makes it important to determine in advance what you want a successor trustee to do.
Providing Instructions for Your Successor Trustee
If you are a California resident in the San Diego area, Petrov Law Firm is your source for the best estate planning lawyers to help you leave instructions for your successor trustee that ensure your wishes are carried out when you are no longer here to do so yourself.
To learn more about how to set up a revocable living trust with a successor trustee in order to avoid having your estate go into probate, contact Petrov Law Firm at 619-344-0360. Our attorneys will be happy to help you get your affairs in order, regardless of how large or small your estate may be.Read More
This is a commonly asked question when it comes to estate planning. The short answer, if you have executed a will, is yes. In the state of California, the person assigned to handle your affairs when you die is your executor.
What Is the Job of the Executor?
If you die with only a will, then your estate will go through probate. At that time, your executor will be in charge of accounting for all of your assets and distributing them to your heirs as declared in the will. The will gets filed with the probate court. The executor is also in charge of paying off debts or creditors, so these individuals need to be informed of the death. The executor is also in charge of paying the taxes due on the estate and will appear in court on behalf of the estate as necessary.
Avoiding Probate with a Living Trust
A living trust or revocable trust is a great way to avoid probate and the need for an executor. This is a common practice in California, but it can still be confusing to know which option is best for you and how to execute it properly. That’s what the Petrov Law Firm is here for.
Our estate planning attorneys know how to maximize the benefits for your heirs when you are no longer here to take care of them yourself. Call 619-344-0360 to set up a consultation with one of our estate planners today.Read More
Even when you assets are accounted for in a will, the will has to pass through probate before the beneficiaries take ownership. Generally, anything in the will remains private and any assets not named in the will become part of public record once the probate judge makes a determination of beneficiary.
If you want your beneficiaries to immediately take possession of your assets upon your death, there are five primary ways to avoid probate. However, even if you use one of the main methods of avoiding probate court, you should have an estate attorney review your entire estate. As with any legal process, there are variations by state and caveats that could unhinge your intentions.
Trusts: Trusts are fantastic tools for creating multi-generational asset management. But trusts have to be properly created by a good estate attorney.
Jointly Held Property: There are several ways to name property owners on a deed, and if you do it the right way, the property won’t go through probate when the first owner passes. But your lawyer might encourage you to create a trust and avoid this question altogether.
Insurance Death Benefits: Insurance benefits never really belonged to you anyway. The benefit immediately goes to the beneficiary and is often not taxable.
Pay-On-Death Account: This tool is especially helpful for smaller amounts of money held in a checking account. This money is a great way to continue paying debts and making funeral arrangements.
Retirement Accounts with Beneficiary: There is a generation of people who have always had 401(k) retirement plans. So unlike the older generation that benefited from pension accounts, the younger workers will have more money to pass along to heirs.
And technically, almost anything you give away before you die won’t go through probate. But again, this can be a legal nightmare thanks to limitations on gifts. Consult with your estate planner on how to give away property prior to death.Read More
If your estate is worth more than $150,000 (including real estate), then there is generally no avoiding probate court. When you have assets like cash, cars, boats, and a house, the executor of your estate will have to use California’s probate courts to distribute the assets to your beneficiaries. Because it could take several months to pass through the court system, your assets could sit undistributed while your family waits.
A simple real estate trust, however, can help resolve the majority of this issue. Because land values are generally more than $150,000 in California, you have to find a way to remove your house from your list of assets. Then, you can avoid probate court. Ask a lawyer to create a simple trust in which you place your house, naming your family as the beneficiary of the trust. When you pass away, the trust retains ownership of the house, and as long as you have less than $150,000 in other assets, your estate won’t have to go through probate court.
While some people fear the idea of giving up their primary asset to a trust, trusts are generally the best way to keep assets in the family. The trust become the legal owner of the property while the beneficiaries change over time. In this way, a family home can easily pass through multiple generations without the complexities of probate court and estate tax.Read More