We take the time to listen, answer questions, and discuss every aspect of your case. Our clients applaud us for our level of service and attention. Let us provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your wishes will be carried out and your family will be cared for. With our years of experience, we have deep knowledge of all aspects of probate, trust administration, elder law, and estate planning.
Probate & Trust Administration
Probate is when the court supervises the processes that transfer legal title of property from the estate of the person who has died (the "decedent") to his or her beneficiaries.
When Probate is Necessary
If the person who died did not have any property to transfer, probate is usually not necessary. The deceased person’s survivors may decide to open a probate if there are debts owed or if there is a need to set a deadline for creditors to file claims. When there is property to transfer, the probate process also provides for the distribution of the estate's property to the decedent's heirs.
The Probate Estate
The term "probate estate" refers to any property subject to the authority of the probate court. Assets distributed outside the probate process are part of a person's “non-probate estate.” California has "simplified procedures" for transferring property for estates worth under a certain amount (from $20,000 to $150,000 depending on the circumstances and the kind of property). There is also an easy way to transfer property to a surviving spouse, property held in Joint Tenancy or Community Property with Right of Survivorship, and life insurance and retirement benefits.
For More Information About Probate and Trust Administration
We represent individuals and families in all aspects of probate and trust administration matters. To consult with an attorney about your specific probate or trust administration needs, contact us today.
California’s Medi-Cal applicants and beneficiaries are often confused about their rights regarding Medi-Cal and are particularly concerned that the state will “take” their homes after they die if they received Medi-Cal benefits.
Medi-cal Estate Claim
Your home can be subject to an estate claim after your death. For example, your home may be an exempt asset while you are alive and is not counted for Medi-Cal eligibility purposes. However, if the home is still in your name when you die, the state can make a claim against your estate for the amount of the Medi-Cal benefits paid or the value of the estate, whichever is less. Thus, if your home or any part of it is still in your name when you die, it is part of your "estate" and can be subject to an estate claim.
Avoiding an Estate Claim
The best way to avoid an estate claim is to leave nothing in the estate. Most Medi-Cal beneficiaries leave nothing but a home. If the property is transferred out of the beneficiary's name during life, the state cannot place a claim. Any transfer of real property can have tax consequences that may outweigh a Medi-Cal estate claim. Currently, there are a number of legal options (irrevocable life estates, occupancy agreements, certain types of trusts) available to avoid probate, avoid tax consequences and avoid estate claims. Anyone considering a transfer of real property should consult an attorney experienced in the Medi-Cal rules and regulations.
For More Information About Elder Law
We are experienced in the Medi-cal rules and regulation and can help you and your family navigate through this complex area of law. To consult with an attorney about your specific elder law needs, contact us today.
Estate planning is the formal process of organizing all of your assets and creating a plan to set forth how they should be distributed upon your death. Estate planning includes:
· Preparation of a will
· Creation of trusts to help minimize tax consequences and avoid probate
· Designation of individuals to act on your behalf if you become disabled or incapacitated
· Establishment of guardians for any minor children
Understanding What Your Estate Is
Your estate includes everything you personally own, from large items such as your home, to your checking account, to life insurance policies, to personal property such as your clothes and jewelry. Estate planning involves not only the distribution of your estate, but also takes into consideration your subjective desires concerning education, religion, and other values as you determine how to distribute your assets.
Preparing an Estate Plan
Your estate plan will ensure your wishes are carried out upon your death. Even though it may seem morbid to plan for such an eventuality, preparing a thoughtful estate plan will eliminate unnecessary confusion at the time of your death and help minimize unnecessary court costs.
For More Information about Estate Planning
We represent individuals and families for a wide range of estate planning issues. To consult with an attorney about your specific estate planning needs, contact us today.