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Probate FAQ

Answers from Our Torrance Probate Attorneys


Why is it beneficial to minimize a probate estate?

Inheritors cannot access the items, monies, and properties left behind for them if everything is tied up in probate. The less items that are in the probate estate, the less inheritors there are who need to wait for probate to end to receive their inheritances. A minimized probate estate also reduces the amount of fees that will need to be paid to the probate administer and increase the amount of tax money you can keep for yourself, rather than giving it to the state.


How do I know if death taxes will affect me or my family?

An estate tax, which politicians will often call a “death tax” instead, is any tax implemented against inherited property. If the total estate value is below the average estate value in the state, it is likely that no estate tax will be imposed at all. Always review your estate’s property at least once a year for Congress can and often does revise the exclusion level annually.


My father owns a business and I'm an employee. What will happen after he passes away or retires?

If you would like to take over your parent’s business after they retire or pass away, you need to ensure that a proper business succession plan is drafted and included somewhere in their estate plan. To avoid disruptions or contests, consider using a revocable living trust or a buy-sell agreement, as you would find in most other business contracts.


Will my disabled sibling lose access to public services and programs when he / she and I receive an inheritance?

Public services for the disabled are generally reserved for those who cannot fully afford the help on their own. If you fear that inheritance will put your special needs sibling above the monetary threshold to receive public services, the proper use of trust management can prevent this from happening. Special needs planning, such as staggering inheritance deposits over the course of several years, can handle your concerns.


What do I do if my elderly parent refuses to move out of their home and I am afraid for their safety?

Sometimes the elderly find themselves in nursing homes or other similar living conditions and abuse, either physical, mental, or financial, is prevalent but they cannot take action themselves to stop or correct it. In such situations, you or other relatives can request conservatorship from the court, permitting you to control your elder’s finances and possibly where they live. If health issues are a problem and they have not or will not take the time to address them, you can also enlist them in Medi-Cal or other long-term care options.


What is the difference between a conservatorship and power of attorney?

A conservatorship grants control of someone’s finances and important decisions as to how their finances are put to use. To grant different control and only in the case of medical emergencies, a power of attorney may be drafted to allow someone the ability to make critical medical and financial decisions should the drafter become incapacitated.


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