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San Fernando Valley Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Do I need a lawyer to create my California Special Needs Trust Plan?

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When you have a child or loved one with a severe disability, planning for his or her care is usually a significant priority. After going through the government benefit application and eligibility process, the recipient is usually left with income-sensitive benefits such as Medi-Cal coverage and Social Security Income (SSI). One important way to help supplement your loved one's benefits without endangering his or her critical government program eligibility is by creating a special needs trust. You may wonder: Do I need a lawyer to create my California Special Needs Trust Plan? The answer is yes and here is why:

What is the executor’s role in the probate process?

Creating a last will and testament can be a tedious process. It can be difficult to consider what happens to your property and assets once you pass. As part of your last will and testament, you may want to choose an estate administrator or executor who will take care of matters once you pass. The estate administrator you choose will be responsible for seeing your estate through the probate process, so it is critical you select someone who will do well in this role. What is the executor’s role in the probate process exactly?

The probate process is designed to take care of the estate and finalize matters that are listed in the last will and testament. The executor gathers all of the property and assets in the estate and has them evaluated. This includes term life insurance policies, homes, vehicles, furniture, antiques, retirement plans, stocks and other assets. Once the estate’s value is determined,any expenses left behind, such as past due taxes, are then paid out of the estate. The remaining property and assets are then distributed to the beneficiaries who are named in the will. The estate administrator is responsible for finding the beneficiaries and ensuring they receive the inheritance they are entitled to.

What does a California Special Needs Trust Allow?

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For a California resident living on benefits public assistance programs such as Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) and Social Security Income (SSI), there is usually little to no money left at the end of the month after covering basic expenses. Fortunately, someone in this situation who has a California special needs trust can supplement their benefits without losing their eligibility. However, there are limits on how California special needs trust payments may be used.

Do I need a lawyer for my California Probate case?

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At first glance, California probate may appear simple enough. However, when things go wrong, your case can go from being straight-forward to being so complicated you could be in court for years to come. Having the advice of an experienced California probate attorney is vital to ensuring that your case is managed the right way from start to finish.

Avoiding California Probate

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When you hear someone mention probate, it is usually accompanied by frustration. This is because for many people, this can be a lengthy process with confusing requirements. Additionally, once it's all over, heirs often find that a good deal of their inheritance has to be devoted to paying their legal expenses. Given, these issues it is not surprising that most people would choose to avoid the headache and costs of probate altogether. The good news is that there are ways to plan for your estate which may help your beneficiaries avoid California probate.

How to Successfully Complete a California Probate Case

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Going through a California probate case can be a frustrating and confusing process especially when you have no idea what to expect. The good news is that there are steps you can take which can make the process easier and more understandable. Here are some tips on how to successfully complete your California probate case.

What to Expect During California Probate

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Most people don't think about the word probate until someone close to them passes away. After a loved one dies, surviving family members can be overwhelmed with making final arrangements while trying to determine how to manage the decedent's estate. During this challenging time, it can be stressful to try and navigate the complexities of probate law and court procedures. Knowing what to expect during the California probate process can help make the situation less stressful and intimidating.

The process of probate

Probate is a term that can cause people in California a lot of confusion and anxiety. The process can be expensive and take a long time to complete. However, we at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo recognize that the purpose of the probate system is to afford protection to all parties involved. Perhaps an explanation of the process can help it seem less confusing or intimidating. 

According to FindLaw, the process of probate usually starts with a will in which the decedent names an executor of the estate, to whom the responsibility of managing the decedent's affairs will fall. If there is no will, or if the will does not name an executor, the court appoints an administrator who carries out essentially the same duties. 

Understanding California Special Needs Trust

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If you have a child or other loved one with a significant disability, you have probably thought about ways to make sure that they will have all that they need in the future. For many, families, government programs such as Medi-Cal and Social Security will be critical resources. However, your child's eligibility is income-sensitive meaning that he or she cannot have too many resources and still receive these much-needed benefits. If your child were to inherit assets or funds, this could result in the loss of essential medical care coverage, housing, income, and other vital assistance.

Supplemental Trust and Special Needs Planning

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Parents and loved ones of someone with a disability can be faced with many challenges as they plan for the future. This situation can be especially difficult when resources are limited, and the person is unable to support themselves. While your loved one may qualify for government programs to help pay for his or her care, there are eligibility requirements which severely limit the recipient's amount of personal wealth and income. Fortunately, with careful planning, there are steps you can take to help provide for your loved one's future without endangering their ability to qualify for public benefits.

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