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

Getting the Best Deals in Attorney Services

Getting the Best Deals in Attorney Services

Sometimes, finding the right attorney and the best attorney services is not easy. There are lots of things that you need to consider. You have to think about the services you need and what specific legal expertise do you need. Your state laws for getting attorney services are also among the major factors that need to be considered. It is also a must that you know the exact specifications of the legal proceedings where you will need attorney services.

Here are some legal fields in attorney services to help you in your decision-making;

*Immigration attorney services –

If your case is related to immigration, you should get these services. You need to decide whether the immigration is employment-based or family-based. Also knowing your state laws about immigration is important in this case.

*DUI attorney services –

If you’re involved in a DUI case, you need to hire the best attorneys in town; or you might end up doing community service or even jail time.

*Social security attorney services –

If your problem involves social security issues such as medical insurance, you need to get these services.

*Criminal defense attorney services –

A good legal firm or attorney should be hired for this one.

*Divorce attorney services –

You need to find the best services in town so you can get past the humiliation of this dilemma fast

Whatever among these cases you are in, it is best to remember that you must hire an attorney who are reliable and sincere in helping you to win your case. After all, you are going to pay them and attorney services fees are mostly huge. Hence, it is just wise to get the best from what you will spend for.

Dealing with Attorney Services Fees

Speaking of fees, these are part of hiring attorneys. You need to pay them so they can give you what you expect from them. There are free attorney services but most need you to spend some amount. There are things that you have to consider when dealing with attorney fees.

Here are some;

*What fee arrangements you should use.

This will depend on your deal. You can ask your attorney on how he or she will charge you. There 3 basic arrangements for payments;

*Hourly rates – where you have to pay for the attorney services based on the hours rendered.

*Flat rate – mostly, this will include out-of-pocket expenses spent by the attorney.

*Contingency fee – this is usually some percent of what you will get from the case. You will talk about this; how much he or she will get depending on how much you will also get.

*What type of expertise is needed? When deciding about fees, the things to consider are the types or level of expertise needed in the case. Also, how much work is to be done should be considered.

How to Get the Best Attorney Services?

Being careful in choosing the attorney you will hire is crucial. First, the success of the case usually depends on how good you are represented. And second, because you are spending money here. You need to get what your money’s worth. It is best that you only hire a firm or an attorney who can give you the best attorney services. You may ask your friends or relatives if they have an attorney to refer. Referral is a good thing because you can be sure that you will get what you and your money deserve.

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 Basics Of Estate Planning

The Basics Of Estate Planning

Estate Planning may be a word that is encountered by many citizens especially the elderly. What is Estate Planning? What benefits does it provide to people?

Estate Planning is a method of arranging and considering alternatives that will satisfy specific wishes and goals to prepare for things that may happen to a person and the people he finds special to him.

Estate Planning includes organizing properties and not just putting them in a simple Will. It also lessens the taxes and fees that may possibly be charged to these properties. Estate Planning also includes contingency preparation to ensure that ones wishes regarding health care and medications will be followed.

An estate plan may be described as good if it financially coordinates with the future of the home, business, investments, insurance and other benefits if ever the person becomes sick or will pass away. A good estate plan also sets directions to bring about personal wishes regarding health care in preparation for the when the person becomes disabled.

It is very important to identify the real definition of the term “estate” before someone can really perform estate planning. Estate means all the properties a person owns or has control of. This is regardless whether if the property is solely named after him or is in managed in a partnership. This may include real properties, accounts, bonds and stocks, cash, buildings and establishments, jewelry, collections, all types of businesses and even retirement benefits.

Typically, those who really need to have an estate plan are parents who have minor children, people who have valuable properties and have sentimental values for them, and also people who are concerned about their medications and health care. However, people can still acquire an estate plan whether they have these categories or not. As long as they have all the things that are covered by an estate plan, then they can avail of it.

While a person is alive, it is important to prepare an estate plan and at the same time implement it. This is the perfect time for a person to perform and have legal capacity to come up with a contract. There may be challenges that could occur if an estate plan is implemented when a person is already disabled. Others may judge the lack of capacity and the person may be prone to fraud, abuse and coercion.

Estate Plans may include wills, power of attorney for health care, living wills, living trusts and limited partnerships. When entering into a contract, it is very important to make use of the services of a lawyer. Lawyers are the only certified people who practice these fields. They are also the only ones who can supply a person with all the legal requirements and advice needed in the estate plan. An attorney will be able to answer legal questions regarding the estate and they will also be able prepare the person on the cost of the estate plan and other finances the come with it.

Estate Planning involves sensitive decisions and legal matters. It would only be beneficial if the person will always consult with legal advisors and also seek financial and medical advice. It is important that before a person will enter into estate planning, he should already have a strong understanding of the process so that things will not be difficult for those who will be left behind.

Locating the Will after Probate

Free Ebook on Estate Planning and Avoiding Probate From Steve Bliss LawAttorney Steve Bliss Discusses Probate Law

Even though probate takes a long period of time in usual scenarios, the individual acquiring could discover the initial or replacement will and expose what the estate owner genuinely wished to occur with his/her estate at the time of his/her death. The matter typically goes through the probate process when again or legal processes to make sure that the appropriate individuals acquire the right assets through a probate judge.

A Legitimate will have no life expiration even through probate.

When someone finds the will after a probate case finishes, he or she could bring it to the courts’ attention. Then, probate may begin again, and the previous decision is no longer legitimate because the actual will is part of the process. It is very important to guarantee that the appropriate and initial will is available. If just a copy is found, the judge might not reverse or change the previous decision since the original is not with the individual. Nevertheless, when the original is what the person provides, then the probate case may cancel out whatever judgment took place.
Arrangements of the Will

Probate Court Conclusion

After a probate case finishes, the state default in regard to the provisions of the possession department takes place. These default processes usually divide the estate into pieces according to how much the basic beneficiaries must get per the state laws. The will may change this to what the estate owner desired which might exist with vast and considerable modifications. The partner may get far less than she or he would by default. Other dependents might receive a certain portion of assets depending on what the estate owner wished to take place. This might include charitable contributions, trusts, organization operations and a death of ownership of a business to another person.

Distribution of Assets

While the court of probate may choose who gets what based upon state laws and default standards, the will has a specific circulation of assets from the estate owner specified. This might reverse or completely change what the court of probate provided to the family. The will may even stipulate that the spouse gets nothing depending upon the situations. Numerous states do not permit the complete disinheritance of a spouse, however, a will may describe why this is needed. Other arrangements may go against what default probate supplies. This is important when the will detail expose what the estate owner wanted.

A will normally just processes properties that the court of probate controls. The estate owner may have other possessions transferred that have absolutely nothing to do with the probate court. A few of these include matters that could involve the death of the estate owner such as life insurance. Joint occupancy home frequently transfers to the other tenant owner when one passes away, and all interest is the other person’s legal. Living trust home is not usually part of the probate courts. Even if the individual discovers a will, those items not part of the probate procedure will transfer outside the provisions in the legal file.

The credibility of the Will

Some may find that a will exists after the probate case ends. If the will is not the original or does not pass the test of credibility, the probate decision might still stand. Without passing certification as a valid will, it may face a difficulty throughout probate. The state requirements are typically various in various areas around the country. The person that creates the will for the estate must be of sound mind without any intimidation or force against his or her will to develop the document. This individual needs to understand what the will is and how it will affect others.

The will usually should have a composed version readily available. The valid will might exist in a typed or pre-printed document. The owner should sign the documentation if she or he can. If he or she is not able to so do, another person may sign it within the presence of a witness and a notary. Any other valid will is what will remain in force unless the will developer revokes the document or replaces it with another legal file. It is possible to modify the document without rewording it or revoking the entire paperwork.

The Will and the Probate Lawyer

The majority of estate owners that develop a will have a lawyer present during the creation or to keep the file safe up until it is needed. The lawyer may help in modifications or to administer the legal documents after the estate owner passes away. Some attorneys work with the person as an estate organizer.

Call Probate Attorney Steven F. Bliss Esq. at (858) 278-2800.