Leaving time shares and probates to loved ones

People who face time shares and probate attorney issues have the trouble of deciding what will happen to the property. For those who do not know, probate is the legal process of transferring the property of a person upon their death. Time shares and probate costs a lot of time and money.

Time shares and probates are usually not a problem especially when the deceased left a will that will be executed by the family’s lawyer. Squabbles of time share properties can happen which is why it is advisable to include the time shares and probate while doing your estate planning.

What happens to the time shares during probate? The probate process can be contested or uncontested. Most issues arise within the time shares and probate process because a disgruntled heir wants a bigger share of the deceased’s property than that he or she initially received.

Arguments most often raised include: the deceased being improperly influenced in making the gifts, the deceased did not know or was not aware of what they were doing when the will was executed, and the deceased did not follow the legal formalities in drafting the will. The majority of time shares and probate estates are uncontested.

 

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The Law Firm Of Steven F. Bliss Esq.
43920 Margarita Rd Ste F, Temecula, CA 92592
Phone: +1 (951) 223-7000
Fax: +1 (858) 268-8664

 

The basic process of transferring an estate includes:

· Collecting all the property of the deceased;
· Paying all claims, debts and taxes owed by its estate;
· Collecting all rights to dividends, income, etc.;
· Settling any disputes; and lastly,
· Distributing the remaining property to the heirs.

Usually, the deceased names a person (executor) to handle the management of his/her affairs upon death. If the deceased fails to name one, an appointment by the court will occur such as a personal representative or administrator, to settle the will and estate.

There are three common estate-planning tools that can be utilized to avoid time shares and probate in the distribution of the person’s property at death: joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, revocable trusts and beneficiary designations. Joint tenancy applies to all property types except retirement plans. Revocable trusts can be used with all types of property. Beneficiary designations are for life insurance policies, individual retirement accounts and retirement plans.

At this point, time shares and probate can be planned with these three tools in mind. In the absence of a will, the best device to solve time shares and probate issues is the through a revocable trust. Revocable trusts or sometimes called “living trusts” have the following advantages over wills:

– Privacy. Financial affairs and to whom the property is given are private. Wills and inventories of probate estates are a public record.

-Cost Savings. The trustee only ahs to continue the deceased’s financial obligatios to the assets, thus eliminating time shares and probate expenses.

-Convenience. A revocable trust makes it easier to pass time shares and probate properties to the trustee.

– Continuity. Revocable trusts serve as an extention of the deceased as he gives the responsibilities to the trustee after death to pay the bills, pay taxes, and to manage the time shares and probate and distribute assets immediately.

-Stability. Revocable trusts normally do not need to be changed because of moving to another estate.

-Security. Revocable trusts are more difficult to be legally contested after death especially for time shares and probate properties.

Whether a will or a revocable trust is chosen to settle time shares and probate properties, consideration must be given to the executor of the will as well as to the alternate executors. The same consideration goes with respect to the initial trustee and successor trustees for the time shares and probate.

A deceased may wish to appoint to handle time shares and probate more than one successor trustee or executor and also the successor trustee and executor can be an individual or corporate entities like a bank trust department.

To avoid conflicts in time shares and probate, normally it is advised that the successor trustees and executors be the same person. A good estate plan should be able to distribute the property to whoever the testator wishes and when the testator wishes, with a minimum amount of income, estate, and inheritance taxes and lowest possible lawyer’s fees and other costs. Avoiding time shares and probate can be a big relief to the deceased and their family.

The Budget 2005 & Inheritance Tax

The Budget 2005 & Inheritance Tax

Introduction
‘The Government’s economic objective is to build a strong economy and a fair society, where there is opportunity and security for all.”
So reads the opening statement of the Labour Government’s 2005 Budget. But the word ‘fair’ is wide off the mark when considering the incidence of inheritance tax on an increasing number of homeowners over the past few years.
The Inheritance Tax Problem
Over the past few years inheritance tax ceased to be the ‘rich person’s tax’ or the ‘voluntary’ tax which it used to be. The cause of the problem has been the ever increasing scale of house prices resulting in property values which far exceed the Nil Rate Band exemption for inheritance tax.
Research conducted by stockbrokers Brewin Dolphin, there are an estimated 2.4 million homes across the UK that are now valued above the £263,000 inheritance tax threshold, before taking any other assets into account. And one in five people anticipating an inheritance have no idea that anything over and above the threshold will be subject to 40% of tax.
In summary, the number of homes sold which were above the inheritance tax threshold rose from 3% in 1994 to 14% in 2004 and the Government has pocketed a staggering £3.3bn in inheritance tax since 1997!
The 2005 Budget
The inheritance tax issue was a main concern for the Chancellor Gordon Brown after various professional bodies have stressed the need for the threshold to be increased. Having heard the arguments the Chancellor did just that.
The current Nil Rate Band threshold is £263,000 and the Chancellor has announced that this is to be increased to £275,000 for the forthcoming tax year 2005/2006 and then further increased to £285,000 and £300,000 the following two years.
As a result of these increases the Chancellor has argued that 94% of estates would not pay inheritance tax. So has the Chancellor done enough?
Adequate Increases?
Are the increases to the inheritance tax threshold good enough? Should they have been increased further? It is certainly true that previous inheritance tax increases have not been so steep; usually the increases are made in line with current inflation rates. However, this Budget has seen an increase which is way above inflation.
On the other hand, the contrary argument is that the high rise in house prices necessitated such an increase, and even this may not be enough. The Halifax Building Society calculated that had the inheritance tax threshold increased in line with house price inflation over the last 10 years, then the current threshold would be sitting at £390,000 – significantly less than the figure announced by Gordon Brown.
Conclusion: Budget Blues
So was this a ‘bad’ budget’ from the inheritance tax point of view? Not entirely. Any increase in the Nil Rate Band is to be welcomed as it sets free some of those caught in the inheritance tax net. As Simon Massey (partner with chartered accountancy firm Menzies) told BBC News, “The increase to the Inheritance Tax threshold is a long way above inflation and is very welcome…It is good to see something being done.”
So whilst the increase may not exactly be in line with the current house price situation, it will certainly be a relief to many, and any increase is better than no increase at all.
JsByrne
LLB (Hons) PGDip.LPc.
www.Draft-Your-Will.com

The Role of Your Wrongful Death Lawyer

The Role of Your Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a life is cut short by someone else’s negligence, the law in this country says that the only remedy available is monetary compensation. And, after a wrongful death accident, you may be thinking that it is inappropriate to contact a wrongful death lawyer too soon after the death, because of what other people might think or say. But I must say that it is your choice to determine when you are ready to contact a wrongful death lawyer to back you up in your case.
A wrongful death lawyer plays an important role in every wrongful accident case. He helps determine if you have a viable claim and make sure that no important deadlines for filing are missed. He deals with complex legal issues involving tort law, probate law, contract law, and insurance law. He ensures that the claim is moving forward at a time when you may need to focus on helping yourself and your family work through the emotional loss. He takes steps to preserve evidence and testimony which might be lost if too much time has passed.
However, you must also know that wrongful deaths are not always caused by individual members of the civilian populace. During these instances, the role of wrongful death lawyers on the prosecutor side is to prove that negligence was the reason for the death currently under discussion. Their role is to represent a defendant and prove that the client was not negligent and didn’t cause the death of the victims involved.
The legal process can truly be intimidating and confusing. A major part of a wrongful death lawyer’s role is to demystify the process for you. He takes the time to explain things in plain English for you to be able to make informed decisions that are in your best interest for the long term. He commits himself in representing and protecting the rights of individuals and families. Most of the wrongful death lawyers around do not represent insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations.
After all, in both cases, the roles of your wrongful death lawyer are still the same. That is, to help you win the wrongful death case that you’ve been a part of. For the people in the prosecution, the focus of your concern must be on getting better – protecting your right to compensation – and getting the compensation and justice you deserve as a survivor of someone who was wrongfully killed. And for those people in the defense, your main concern is to prove that the accused has not been negligent in his actions.

Last Will And Testament Planning Is Necessary

Last Will And Testament Planning Is Necessary

Ready to start thinking about your Last Will and Testament but don’t know where to start?

Choosing an attorney

Find a lawyer with related areas of expertise, like estate planning and taxation law.

And check with local the Bar Association to see if the attorney has had any disciplinary actions taken against him or her.

A Living Will is as Necessary as a Last Will and Testament

Tell family members, your lawyer and your doctor where your Living Will is located and what it says.

When you enter a long term care facility, give your Living Will to the director to make sure they will honour it.And make sure all your friends and relatives, know about it too in which case they will help carry out your wishes.

Make sure your Last Will and Testament is up to date as well as your Living Will. Don’t do your Living Will and Testament yourself. Office supply stores and the Internet sell computer programs that create Wills and power of attorney forms, but these often gloss over the intricacies of tax laws. You may save money on legal fees up front, but you can put yourself in a disastrous situation down the road.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a most important document. A power of attorney appoints someone to take care of your finances when you are too incapacitated to handle them yourself. This document has various clauses that can help to protect your assets if you, your spouse or your parent needs to go into a nursing home. But many things require rearranging – sometimes with gifts, sometimes by setting up financial vehicles, sometimes through purchases. But nothing can be done if you’re incompetent to deal with your finances and nobody else has authority to deal with your finances either.

A Power of Attorney For Your Last Will And Testament Can Expire

Make sure your power of attorney is up to date. Remeber you are giving the power to enforce your Living Will as well as your Last Will and Testament if necessary.

Last Will And Testament

Consider building in compensation for extra special care. People often leave their assets to their children in equal shares, but many times one child is especially involved while others are less attentive. If one child is giving you care directly, probably in their home, you may want to consider giving them more.

Make sure your Will is up to date. Laws change and your Last Will and Testament is your last chance to see wishes and bequests carried out.

One Less Furrowed Brow For 401k Plan Sponsors

One Less Furrowed Brow For 401k Plan Sponsors

There was a sneak preview of the Dept of Labor’s preliminary guidance on setting up 401k default investment options. These situations occur when 401k participants fail to select an investment option for their 401k contributions or a 401k default fund is used in 401k plans with automatic enrollment features.

Currently, 401k plan sponsors are rethinking their default fund decisions because they are concerned about the risk associated with their fiduciary responsibility and about the risk of the earnings performance of the default investments of those participants who failed to choose any.

When a participant fails to make a choice, the default fund is the choice made for them by the plan’s fiduciaries. And because the participant is NOT making the decision when a default investment is used, the plan fiduciaries are responsible to prudently invest their funds.

Many plan sponsors feel that their decision on the default investment is protected by the safe harbor exemption of Internal Revenue Code Section 404c. Section 404c provides an exemption to plan sponsors from liability for investment decisions when participants are given the choice to choose their own investments. Section 404c transfers liability to plan participants for their choices of investment options. Here, sponsors believe that by not making an active choice, the participant has decided to take the default investment.

And if the default investment is a Stable Value or Money Market Fund, the participant does not loose any of his principal. Plan sponsors feel that the participant’s funds are not at risk and so neither are they.

Because the participant is not making the decision when a default investment is used, there is no 404c defense for plan fiduciaries. Also, sponsors are required by ERISA to invest with a reasoned, thoughtful process for evaluating risk and returns and for providing investment options that are diversified and prudent.

Under the forthcoming guidance — which, said a Dept of Labor law specialist in the Office of Regulations and Interpretations, is subject to change – 401k fiduciaries are given a safe harbor on 401k investment management decisions and any breach that is “the direct and necessary result of investing a participant or beneficiary’s account” in a default investment. Investment managers and advisers, on the other hand, are solely responsible for any decisions they make with regard to the 401k investments or any resulting losses and do not get that kind of relief.

In order to qualify for that 401k safe harbor, however, 401k fiduciaries must allow participants:

– the opportunity to move their investments into an alternate account
– provide advance notice of the default investment and
– invest the assets in a certain kind of qualified default investment.

Moreover, that choice, which can be a lifecycle fund or a managed account, among others, must limit the presence of employer stock in the portfolio, as well as allow funds to be transferred out of the default.

The 401k fiduciary responsibility associated with selecting funds for the default investment options in a 401k plan has now been tempered with this new preliminary safe harbor.

One less furrowed brow for 401k plan sponsors.

Why Probate?

Why Probate?

Why Probate?
Nobody voluntarily chooses probate. People are too busy or preoccupied with health or other issues to plan. They pass away without a living trust and their heirs—-usually their children—- find that they can’t sell Mom or Dad’s house without a court order or can’t transfer Mom or Dad’s bank account without court approval. Even with a will, they may be forced to file a probate proceeding.
Alternatives to Probate
Because probate is expensive and time consuming, a responsible attorney first tries to determine if there is an alternative to probate. In California, the most common alternatives to probate are a Spousal Property Petition (if there is a surviving spouse) or a small estate transfer (if the value of the estate is less than $100,000). If these and other alternatives to probate are unavailable, then the only recourse for the decedent’s heirs is to file a probate proceeding.
Cost of Probate
Attorney’s fees and costs are set by law in California and are based upon the value of the estate. Here is the statutory fee schedule in California:
4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000

Is filing Chapter 7 a good idea?

You’ll hear a lot of individuals conclusively state: “bankruptcy is bad.” But why? Why is the basic consensus that declare bankruptcy is a bad thing? While it is true that applying for bankruptcy is evidence of difficulty with individual financial resources, that’s not the entire story.

A large part of the reason why people state bankruptcy is bad is since they don’t comprehend the process. No 2 bankruptcy cases are alike and customers are forced into bankruptcy for a whole host of different factors, the majority of which are beyond their control.

Listed below, we’ll review some of the reasons people declare bankruptcy and how bankruptcy can be a good idea– if it’s best for you.

Unpredicted life occasions can cause bankruptcy
If you can manage to settle financial obligation and declare bankruptcy instead, maybe you’ve made a bad decision. Likewise, someone filing for bankruptcy with bad intents or to defraud lenders is behaving badly and cheating the system.

In a case like this, the peanut gallery would be right: This kind of bankruptcy is bad. However what about the household forced into bankruptcy after the breadwinner loses a job? What about the family who sustains enormous medical costs based on an unanticipated cars and truck accident? What about the ex-wife in a neighborhood home state who is left holding the bag on countless dollars of charge card expenses charged by her ex-husband without her knowledge?

In these cases, bankruptcy can offer remarkable relief and an opportunity to start over. It’s simple for someone who hasn’t experienced hardship to state that bankruptcy is bad, but talk is cheap and people have families to look after.

Why the bad track record?
Filing for bankruptcy has a bad track record in many circles due to the reality that it damages your credit and involves discharging financial obligations that will likely never ever be paid back. Sure, Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t terrific for your credit report and will look like a public record for 10 years after filing. However, many customers who apply for bankruptcy have actually already had their credit damaged by a series of late payments.

Whether your bankruptcy filing can be labeled as “bad” is truly a function of whether you intend to defraud the system or whether you have an ethical obligation to pay financial obligations that you prepare to discharge in bankruptcy. There are numerous types of debts that are removed by filing for bankruptcy. For example, possibly your primary debts are a $50,000 charge card balance and a $10,000 individual loan that you owe to your brother that he lent to you while he was having financial problems of his own. If you declare bankruptcy, both the credit card debt as well as the debt to your brother will be eliminated. Filing bankruptcy to discharge credit card financial obligation at 29% interest would not be considered “bad” by the majority of people.

On the other hand, some would argue that releasing a $10,000 financial obligation to your sibling might not be the best thing to do. Even if you fall under this camp, it is essential to understand that there is absolutely nothing that avoids you from willingly repaying the debt after applying for bankruptcy. You might file bankruptcy, release your credit card debt and then as soon as you have a chance to rebuild, compose your bro a check for what you owe. This does not in any way violate the bankruptcy laws. For this reason, whether bankruptcy can be construed as bad is really a function of context.

When is bankruptcy an excellent idea? The response depends on your scenario
Bankruptcy is not inherently bad or excellent, but it is an important security for honest consumers who find themselves in big trouble with financial obligation. A little minority of filers try to abuse the bankruptcy process to conceal properties and cheat creditors. These stories are overshadowed by the stories of sincere people who have suffered through bumpy rides and finally relied on bankruptcy because they can’t see an escape. Even the Bible requires financial obligation forgiveness every 8 years.

If you find yourself in a hard financial position and can’t see an escape, consult with a skilled bankruptcy attorney. The online forum has contacts in 50 states– examine them out today. Do not let stereotypes stand in the way of getting the relief you and your family requirement.