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TheMlnarikLaw-ConservatorshipsIt’s an unfortunate trend that the number of people experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or some other form of diminishing mental capacity is rapidly rising. This trend brings with it an increase in the number of people that can no longer manage their own needs financially, physically or both. If unprepared, the victims of mental diseases may be relegating their beloved family members to the expensive, constrictive and burdensome ordeal of petitioning the court for a conservatorship.

A conservatorship is legal proceeding by which guardian or a protector (the conservator) is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another (the conservatee) due to physical or mental limitations. The conservatorship is established by court order, and the actions of the conservator are strictly governed and monitored by the court. This means that the person appointed the responsibility of taking care of the conservatee has a legal obligation to act on behalf of the conservatee and in their best interest while under the watchful eye of the court.

Many of the actions a conservator may have to take in order to best manage a conservatee’s finances or well-being will have to be approved by the court. Those taken without court approval may sometimes be deemed beyond the conservator’s power. This leaves the conservator in the unenviable position of having to get the court’s permission to do many things that need to be done to fulfill their duty of acting in the conservatee’s best interest. This is very costly and time consuming.
Once in this position, it is very difficult to emancipate yourself from it. The only real ways are for the conservatee to either regain mental capacity or pass away. The first scenario does not happen frequently, and it could be a lengthy amount of time to reach the latter. Therefore, the best way to achieve independence from a conservatorship and court oversight is to plan to avoid it altogether.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_themlnariklaw-financial-freedom.jpgIn today’s free market society, individuals are free to spend the money they have and even the money they might have in the future. However, borrowing against your future can be risky, and a bad practice to get into. With all the freedoms we enjoy as U.S. citizens, those who are financially responsible and independent from lenders of all kinds are the ones who get to truly enjoy being free.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not enjoying all the freedom our country has to offer. Credit card bills, student loans, medical bills, car loans and home loans add up fast, and before you know it, a large portion of your monthly income can become devoted to paying the interest on money you borrowed to have something right now instead of waiting until you saved the money.

Like achieving any goal in life, it is important to stick to the fundamentals. Take a look at what you need to survive and what is really important. Start by doing an inventory of your debts compared to your income and determine where you would like to be in 60 days, two years or five years. Then put a plan in place to achieve your goals. Remember that many things concerning finances are outside of your control so plan for the unexpected.

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Posted by on in Estate Planning

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What is an IRA?

An individual retirement account, or IRA, is a type of plan provided by many financial institutions that provides tax advantages for retirement savings in the United States. An individual retirement account is a type of individual retirement arrangement as described in IRS Publication 590, individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). On the simplest level, an IRA is a savings account with big tax breaks, making it an ideal way to save for retirement. A lot of people mistakenly think an IRA itself is an investment. On the contrary, it is simply a basket in which individuals keep stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other assets. Unlike a 401(k), which is provided by an employer, certain IRAs can be created voluntarily by individuals in the workforce.

There are many different kinds of IRAs, and each has eligibility restrictions based on income or employment status. And all have caps on how much individuals can contribute each year and penalties for withdrawing funds before the designated retirement age.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Incapacity-Planning-mlnariklaw-office.jpgThe purpose of estate planning is to guide the transfer, and management, of your property in a manner that makes sense for your family. While it may sound simple, it can only be achieved through careful planning. Failure to plan carefully may result in unintended beneficiaries receiving your property, or result in unnecessary transfer taxes.

While planning for death is a significant aspect of the process, estate planning deals with more than just asset transferal upon your death. It can provide for asset transferal through gifts during your lifetime. Additionally, prudent planning can include management of assets in the event of incapacitation.

There are several considerations driving the process of estate planning. Family is important, so it’s vital that you consider not only who should receive your assets, but how, and when. Should your children’s inheritance be managed in a trust, or should they receive it outright? At what age should a trust terminate, and should your spouse be a beneficiary? Who should act as a trustee? Would a program of gifts over a lifetime make more sense?

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Posted by on in Estate Planning

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It’s the season of love – another Valentine’s Day is upon us. I’m sure you have big plans for impressing your loved ones and demonstrating just how much you care for them. But as you move along in life, the way you care, the pool of people who you care for and how you plan to care for them changes. And the way you express love changes – from romantic gestures of dinner, flowers, jewelry or chocolates to more advanced planning for the future.

This type of planning is often memorialized in your estate plan, which can take care of you and your loved ones throughout your life and after you pass away. The first step in creating a well-thought-out estate plan should be to determine your planning goal and then execute the right mix of estate planning tools to meet that goal.

If you sincerely wish to demonstrate your care for loved ones, you should consider incorporating long-term care as a part of your estate plan. Anyone who wants to maximize their assets in life and in distribution to their loved ones after they pass should also plan for the possibility of their own or their spouse’s disability and need for long-term medical care. The failure to incorporate this into your estate plan could result in leaving your loved ones with the cost and stress of petitioning the courts for control over you and your assets, and pouring money to nursing homes.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_trust-will-agreement.jpgProbate is a division of the Superior Court of the State of California. The Probate court has jurisdiction over what are deemed “legally incompetent parties”, generally that includes deceased, disabled, and incapacitated persons. The responsibility of the Probate court is to protect these individuals and their assets.

Understanding Wills

Losing a loved one when you expect or when unexpected is a difficult and sad situation. Besides, most executors named in the Will report experience pressure and stress due to overwhelming circumstances. The situation becomes more problematic when there is a contest or a challenge on the Will or when you expect that a legal action against you as an executor of the estate may be taken. Probate attorneys witness the pressure that many executors go through. However, it can be a pretty simple situation for you with a piece of advice.

Is the Common Knowledge the Whole Truth?

Typically, most people think that when someone makes a Will and dies, the family will respect his/her wishes. Subsequently, it is not strange to find many executors feeling very comfortable thinking that they will just carry out the wishes of the deceased and give the estate to all the named beneficiaries of the Will. Far from that experience, sometimes one or more person may challenge the Will of the deceased for one reason or another. The complacency of many executors confirms the saying that "ignorance is bliss" since the Laws in relation to Wills are actually very complicated. It takes many years and practice to understand what they say and how they should be applied and believe it or not, you need a hand and direction in this.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_PastDue.JPGMany people think of the start of a new year as a great time to re-evaluate their financial goals. In fact, “spend less and save more money” came in third in a Marist poll of the top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2017, behind only “being a better person” and “exercise.” But have you ever re-evaluated your student loan payments?

You may not be sure what your options are for student loan repayment, and many not know that there are programs out there to help you reduce your monthly payment and free up some more room in your budget. These programs can also assist those who have already defaulted on their student loans.

Repayment plans allow a student loan borrower to tailor their payments to their budget and their current income—and for some people, the difference between the standard loan payment and the payment under an income based repayment plan can be thousands of dollars! Here are a few of the options for those borrowers with government-backed Direct Loans.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_will.jpgWhat Should I Ask an Attorney that Handles Probate and Estate Planning?

Ask about their experience; ask them how many probates have they handled in the last 10 years, and ask if they’ve been sued for one.

Questions to Ask

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Many probate and estate planning attorneys act as if everyone should have a trust yet most Americans don’t even have a simple hand written will. Given that trusts can easily cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, it’s a big purchase that shouldn’t be taken lightly, consider the consequences if you do not have a proper trust:

Living Trust vs. Will

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Importance-of-Estate-Planning.jpgWhat are the advantages to estate planning?

By taking the time and effort necessary to plan your estate, you will be able to:

  1. Provide for your immediate family
    Couples want to provide enough money for the surviving spouse. Couples with children want to assure their education and upbringing. If you have children under 18, both you and your spouse should have a will nominating personal guardians for the children, in case you both should die before they grow up. Otherwise, a court will decide without your input where your kids will live and who will make important decisions about their money, education, and way of life.
  2. Get your property to beneficiaries quickly
    Options include insurance paid directly to beneficiaries, joint tenancy, and living trusts, as well as using simplified or expedited probate and taking advantage of laws that provide partial payments to beneficiaries while a will is in probate.
  3. Plan for incapacity
    During estate planning, you can also plan for possible mental or physical incapacity. Living wills and durable health-care powers of attorney enable you to decide in advance about life support and pick someone to make decisions for you about medical treatment.
  4. Minimize expenses
    Good estate planning can keep the cost of transferring property to beneficiaries as low as possible, leaving more money for your beneficiaries.
  5. Choose executors/trustees for your estate
    Choosing competent executors/trustees and giving them the necessary authority will save money, reduce the burden on your survivors, and simplify administration of your estate.
  6. Ease the strain on your family
    You can take a burden from your grieving survivors and plan your funeral arrangements when planning your estate. Or you may want to simply limit the expense of your burial or designate its place.
  7. Help a favorite cause
    Your estate plan can help support religious, educational, and other charitable causes, either during your lifetime or upon your death, and at the same time take advantage of tax laws designed to encourage private philanthropy.
  8. Reduce taxes on your estate
    Every dollar your estate has to pay in estate or inheritance taxes is a dollar that your beneficiaries won't get. A good estate plan can give the maximum allowed by law to your beneficiaries and the minimum to the government.
  9. Provide for people who need help and guidance
    Do you have an elderly parent or disabled child, or a grandchild whose education you want to assure? You could establish a special trust fund for family members who need support that you won't be there to provide.
  10. Make sure your business continues smoothly
    If you have a small business, you can provide for an orderly succession and continuation of its affairs by spelling out what will happen to your interest in the business.

 

Tagged in: Estate Planning
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b2ap3_thumbnail_estateplanning.jpgA thorough estate plan should be designed to avoid probate, save on estate taxes, appoint someone to act for you if you become disabled, and protect assets if you need to move into a nursing home.

A will is only one element of a complete estate plan. All estate plans should also include a durable power of attorney. A trust is useful to avoid probate and manage your estate during your life and after. Medical directives and beneficiary designations are supplements you should consider.

Power of Attorney

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The list of reasons supporting the consideration of consulting with an "Estate Planning Attorney" is long and an important consideration by those of us wanting to assure that our assets get divided and passed on to our loved ones and others in a way that reflects your wishes.

It may look like a term for people of considerate wealth, but everyone has an “estate.”

In fact, your car, home, other real estate, investments, checking account, and even furniture and other personal possession comprise your estate. Naturally, you cannot keep these things when you pass away, but you can control how your estate is given to the loved ones and organizations you care about. In short, estate planning is a clear set of instructions that dictate whom you want to receive something of yb2ap3_thumbnail_denver-estate-planning.jpgours, what they’ll be receiving, and when and how they’ll receive these items. An “Estate Planning Attorney“ plays a key role in ensuring that your estate is fully and clearly drafted, and for when that day comes, an attorney provides proper management and distribution of the estate.

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Your relative's estate plan is a mess - but your family doesn't know this yet. Planning isn't really the problem: there is no planning. And if there's no planning, then a house will pose a special challenge.

Homes are often the biggest part of a decedent's estate. Estate planning for the distribution of a home is frequently met with understandable reluctance - no one likes to contemplate his or her own passing. Such contemplation is even more difficult with respect to our homes.

Our homes have meaning - more than bank accounts, stocks or personal property. Our homes are the places where our children grow up, family gatherings are held, and where grandchildren bring joy. We work to make our homes places of comfort and safety.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_images.jpgWhen it comes to dealing with the loss of a loved one, one of the last things that any family member wants to do is call a probate or estate attorney. This is understandable given that the family is grieving with the loss. Finding a lawyer should be not be a complicated matter. Finding the right lawyer to handle an estate, whether it requires planning or for the will to be probated, however, requires due diligence.

Arranging for an appointment with probate or estate lawyer early on is always a very good idea even well before the loss of a family member occurs. The reason being is that you can plan effectively and have important questions answered that will help prepare you and others when the worst happens. For example, retaining the right estate lawyer can simplify the process and save the estate a significant amount of money in taxes and fees. Of course, it helps to know the type of questions that you should ask before meeting with the attorney. What follows are several of the most popular questions that will help you get a better idea of what you need to do in order to hire the proper probate or estate lawyer.

What Areas Of The Law Do You Practice?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Bankruptcy1.jpgMany debtors try to sell off at least some off their assets in order to have money to pay their creditors and to live but there are risks in selling off assets too. This is because assets are supposed to be used to pay off your creditors and not favor one creditor over another unreasonably.

Selling assets before Bankruptcy

The US Bankruptcy Trustee will examine transfers and sales that you made before you filed for bankruptcy. In some situations, the Trustee may try to seize those assets from the people who received them. The trustee may also penalize the debtor by refusing to accept a reorganization plan, disallowing some exemptions or even denying the debtor the right to discharge the debts.

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