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San Fernando Valley Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Are you or a loved one looking to qualify for Medi-Cal?

Many California residents will need some type of financial assistance later in life due to long-term care expenses. Medicaid and Medi-Cal can prove immensely useful to you, your loved ones and other state residents. Of course, it is not always easy to qualify.

Fortunately, you do not have to feel out of luck when it comes to obtaining financial assistance. If you begin the planning process before the need for help arises, you may have a greater chance of arranging your assets in a way that works to your advantage when it comes to obtaining benefits for care.

What trust should you establish?

Californian residents may set up trusts for a number of reasons. Different people can be the beneficiaries and trustees, as well. We at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo can help you while you create a trust, starting by explaining the various types.

One of the less common types is a self-settled trust, also known as Asset Protection Trusts. In these trusts, the beneficiary and settler are the same person. In other words, you are the one benefiting from this trust. Generally speaking, this is a move that's made if one wants to protect trust assets.

Top 5 questions executors ask

We represent numerous executors and estate administrators here at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo in California. Virtually all of them ask us questions about their duties and how to perform them.

We therefore thought it would be helpful to answer here on our website the five most common questions the American Bar Association says that executors ask.

Do you understand testamentary trusts?

Everyone knows what a Last Will and Testament is, but did you know that you can set up a trust in your California will? You can. Trusts of this type go by the name of testamentary trusts, but some people refer to them as will trusts or trusts under will.

SmartAsset.com explains that, just like with a living trust, you can make changes to your testamentary trust any time you wish during your lifetime by simply changing your will. Contrary to your living trusts, however, your testamentary trust only comes into existence once you die.

Top 5 myths about powers of attorney

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo in California, we draft numerous powers of attorney for our various clients. Depending on a client’s specific needs, (s)he may require one or several of them.

We thought it would be helpful to review the questions clients most frequently ask about powers of attorney. Per APlaceForMom.com, here are the top five myths about them.

Your heirs do not need to fight over your estate

Few families exist without some sibling rivalry, jealousy or bad feelings that linger into adulthood, at least under the surface. One event that can bring those feelings to a boil is the death of a parent. It is not uncommon for families to dissolve into heated conflict during the division of a deceased loved one's assets, often leaving irreparable damage.

Interestingly, this does not only happen when the deceased leaves no will. In fact, a poorly prepared or vague estate plan may cause as much turmoil as leaving no plan at all. If you are ready to plan your estate but worry about how to avoid conflict among your heirs, you can take steps to divide your assets fairly.

Are you a caregiver? Beware of undue influence

If you care for a California resident, you undoubtedly take your job seriously, whether your patient is a family member or someone you were hired to care for. Not surprisingly, many patients develop a close relationship with their caregiver and wish to leave them “a little something” in their will. If your patient indicates that (s)he is thinking of doing this, however, be aware that someone may challenge the will if that “little something” turns out to be a major bequest.

As a state bar association recently pointed out, undue influence is a favorite ground when someone challenges a will. It means that the challenger alleges that you imposed your will on your patient and consequently (s)he left you a large bequest.

Faster inheritance and other benefits of a living trust

You have always done the best you can for your loved ones in California, and we at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo know that you want the best for them even after you are gone. That means taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries receive their inheritance as soon as possible after you pass on.

The process of probating a will can take some time, during which your heirs will have to wait to receive the assets you have bequeathed to them. There is no way to speed up the probate process, but you can bypass it by setting up a living trust. When you make a living trust, you decide which beneficiaries are to receive which assets and you stipulate the conditions upon which this happens. If the condition is your death, then your beneficiaries will start receiving assets right away thereafter, independent of the probate process. 

How a health care directive can benefit you

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo in California, we help many individuals and families establish their estate plans. A health care directive represents one of the most important estate planning tools you can use. This document sets forth your preferences as to the end-of-life medical care you want and do not want at the point where you become incapacitated in some way and can no longer make those decisions for yourself.

As CaringInfo.com reports, your advance health care directive gives your health care providers specific instructions to carry out when you slip into an irreversible coma and/or become so ill that no hope of your recovery remains.

Should you hire an attorney to help you through probate?

If you become the executor of someone’s California estate, you likely will wonder if you should hire an attorney to help you go through the probate process. As with so many other yes-or-no decisions, the answer is: it depends. Given that probate is the legal process by which an estate gets settled, whether or not you need an attorney depends on the complexity of the estate and the issues it, and you as its executor, face.

LegacyNavigator.com recommends that you hire a probate attorney in the event one of the following three situations presents itself:

  1. A contract situation
  2. A conflict situation
  3. A court intervention situation
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