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
To those who are willing to look at this objectively, please watch the link and read up on the Proposition itself. “Greedy” trial attorneys did not write this law to make more money. This proposition was written to ensure that a profession that is responsible for our health is held to the same standard as other professions. There is no “cap” on damages when it comes to legal malpractice and yet there is an antiquated cap of $250,000 of pain and suffering if a doctor commits malpractice and causes the death or severe injury to an individual. I urge everyone to look at both the Yes on 46 and No on 46 on their own to make a decision and don’t let the TV commercials be the only thing you listen to.
As far as money, the No on 46 coalition is mostly funded by insurance companies who say that “this will raise health costs” but are really just keeping all the money to themselves. Medical Malpractice Insurance rates have gone up more in CA than in states without this “cap” and yet somehow the trial attorneys are the ones to blame. The money raised by No on 46 will be astronomically higher than the Yes on 46 fund but hopefully money won’t be the deciding factor here.
If you’ve moved to California for retirement, you need a new will. While your old will (and other estate planning documents) from a previous state might be sufficient to pass through California probate court without a problem, there is no guarantee.
There are many, critical variances in probate laws. Specifically, how each state views trust laws and powers-of-attorney laws. These are especially important aspects of your will that can mean dramatic changes if they aren’t upheld by California courts. Even if California probate courts ultimately uphold the plan you created in your previous home state, there might be a lengthy review process by the courts before your assets are released to your benefactors.
More important than you assets, are you health-related documents. Not only do laws vary from state to state, but treatment options change as well. In addition, if more than three years has passed from the creation of your estate plan, you need to update the health directives to keep pace with the advancing fields of medical treatments. For example, a DNR order from ten years ago is out of date with the kinds of medical options available today.
When updating your will and health-directives because of new home state, you will find that 95% of the estate plan will remain the same. However, the remaining 5% that needs edits can make the difference between a smooth transition for your family and difficult one.Read More
The July 2014 settlement for Jessie Ventura against the author of “American Sniper” brings up common questions about these kinds of lawsuits. The terms used in defamation cases are defined as follows: slander is spoken, libel is written or printed, and defamation is the damage that slander or libel causes.
A personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have been the victim of libel or slander. In order to determine if you have a case, you will need to keep in mind a few general rules about libel and slander cases. As these cases they can be difficult to prove in court, you should prepare your case before going to see a lawyer. You will have some convincing to do.
- You have to prove a loss. Whether it’s lost wages, lost business, or a lost opportunity, you have to put a dollar amount on the damage done.
- The statement must be false. Half-truths and innuendo do not count. You must know exactly what was said, and you must have proof that the statement is false. “He’s a mean person.” isn’t sufficient for a case. “He took $15,000 from his last employer.” is a sufficiently damning statement that can be presented as a falsehood.
- Someone in the public must have seen or heard the statement. An e-mail from one employee to another inside of a private company may not be considered public.
In today’s world of Facebook and Twitter, slander and libel have become more common. Many people have been defamed on these kinds of social media outlets. But always keep in mind — proving a loss in slander and libel cases can be very difficult to show.Read More