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
The end of any calendar year is a good time to start planning an update for your estate plan. While you will have to wait for year-end financial statements to update any specific numbers in your will, you can start reviewing the will early to make sure there aren’t any significant changes to make.
Work with your estate attorney to reduce the number of exact numbers in your will. For example, instead of saying, “I leave $10,000 to my nephew,” you can generalize the number as a percentage. “I leave 10% of my saving account to my nephew.”
On the surface, the use of exact dollar amounts isn’t a problem. However, any money in your estate that is left over after distribution will have to go through probate, triggering fees. So instead of dollar amounts, use percentages to ensure that 100% of your estate is distributed through the will and not probate court.
Of course, even a will that accounts for 100% of the estate could need a regular update. Using the example above, if you happen to move money out of your saving account and into an investment account, you will need to update the information to ensure that your nephew still gets some money when you pass away.
A will is a living document that need regular attention. If you don’t have a will, start by making an appointment with an estate attorney as soon as possible. You don’t have to have your financials in perfect order before you sit down with an estate planner for the first time. An estate plan is an ongoing process, and the best time to start is now.Read More
If properly constructed by an estate attorney, the will has certain phrases to keep its general intent evergreen. For example, the will could use percentages instead of dollar amounts to ensure the entire estate is accounted for in the will. Instead of naming specific people, the will could use terms like “grandchildren” to ensure no one is unintentionally neglected.
If the will is more than ten years old, unaccounted dollar amounts could mean that the will is forced to go through probate court. For investors, high interest returns are fantastic. But unless those gains are accounted for through a well-worded will or updated estate plan, a measurable percent of the investment gains could end up going to pay for probate fees.
If you are a beneficiary named in an out-of-date will, hire an estate attorney to help you minimize the financial losses. The legal system will often take the “spirit” of a legal document into account; however you will need a good lawyer to help you argue this point.Read More
Not all families get along, and the promise of an influx of inherited money can fuel the flames of anger, resentment, and greed. If you have a family member who is likely to battle over life’s little details, you might need to contact a lawyer to ensure your will (or a loved one’s will) can be easily defended, if contested.
If the will is more than three or four years old, visit a lawyer and give it an update. Even if there are no changes, document the review of the will. If the will ends up being reviewed by a judge, you will have the favor of the legal system if the will was recently reviewed for fairness and accuracy.
If you (or your loved-one) has started to see a decrease in mental ability, contact a lawyer to confirm your current mental status as sufficiently sound and validate the contents of the will. Decreased mental capacity is a strong basis for contesting a will. However, if you can confirm the text of the will while still with a generally sound mind, the will won’t be vulnerable to being contested.
If the will assigns a substantial percentage to one child over another; or if it assigns a significant amount of money to an organization, visit a lawyer and confirm the details. Again, anything that stands out as unusual could be grounds for contestation.
The more documentation around the creation of will, the better. Witnesses, doctor’s notes, and the help of a good estate planner will ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you want.Read More
When you and your lawyer write your will, you write it assuming the named beneficiaries will be alive when you pass away. However, sometimes beneficiaries pass away early. And not everyone updates his or her will to keep up to date with those kinds of unfortunate and significant changes
If you don’t change your will and one of your named beneficiaries has already passed away, then the probate court will award your assets to the beneficiary’s natural successors. For example, if you name your sister as the beneficiary of your house, but she has already passed away, then your sister’s spouse and children will step in as the beneficiaries. If you have a family member you specifically, don’t want to gain from your assets, then you will have to work with your estate planner to word the document in exact and specific ways.
Several kinds of investment accounts, banking accounts, and life insurance rewards have built-in requests and/or requirements that force you name both a primary and secondary beneficiary. These documents will often take precedence over your will. Be sure to review these documents alongside your other estate planning documents to ensure there are no conflicts.Read More
When someone is unable to care for himself due to physical or mental disability, a court can grant a conservator to be responsible for physical care or finances. Generally, the court prefers that a spouse or family member be named as conservator, however, if no one is available, the state becomes guardian.
Often when an older adult is diagnosed with a progressive physical or mental problem, the patient and his or her family decide on who is best to serve as the eventual conservator. An estate attorney can help draw up the necessary documents so that when the time comes to grant the conservatorship, the process is easy.
There are several options for a conservatorships, however the need for care can be divided between physical and financial challenges. For physical care, the patient and the family seek a conservatorship of the person. For financial care, the judge would grant a conservatorship of the estate.
The process for having a judge approve a conservatorship can take a significant amount of time. Generally, the family has to petition the court, undergo an investigation, and stand in front of a judge. If you or a family member is suffering from deteriorating physical or mental health, start now to ensure the conservatorship process is completed ahead of need.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
It’s not uncommon for adult siblings to hold grudges and maintain long-running disputes. Unfortunately, financial matters, like your will and your estate, are not likely to bring your children any closer together. In fact, if one of your children is left as the executor of your estate, his or her siblings might be highly critical and suspicious during the distribution phase.
Even if the questions don’t go so far as to result in one of the beneficiaries contesting the will or protesting the estate distribution process, you might find it best to have a distant relative or professional handle the distribution of assets.
The executor of your will is likely to get paid for his or her work. Frankly, being the executor of a will is hard work that involves legal documents and judicial processes. From an outsider, it might appear to be easy. And if your adult children are looking for ways to increase family tension, one person getting more than the others (as payment to handle your estate) might be reason enough to start a shouting match.
Your passing will be an emotional and stressful time for your family. Be sure to name an executor who won’t be caught in the middle of an unnecessary family fight.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