San Diego Revocable Living Trusts: Avoid Advances on Probate Inheritance which is Costly

May 29, 2008

In San Diego, as in many of our previous postings, our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP has helped thousands of clients avoid probate fees and costs. The death of a loved one [and often a financial provider] can leave families financially devastated during this time. The probate fees in San Diego are 4% of the first $100,000, 3% of the second $100,000 and 2% of each next $100,000 in increments. In addition, probate can take more than one year for distribution and there is no privacy.

In fact, there are business' which advertise to beneficiaries [heirs] in probate cases and offer to advance them money pending the distribution by the Court. One company's website is included in this posting and our firm has no connection with this entity and does not endorse them nor their product. This is posted for the sole purpose of our firm using our education, training and experience to try and protect our client's rights and try and obtain their legal goals and to avoid having our client's in the financial position where they have no option but to pay for an advance on their own inheritance. Of course, once a probate is open, many persons have no choice given the financial position post death of a spouse or other financial provider such as a parent.

In our firm, our revocable living trust can avoid probate fees, costs and time thereby eliminating the need for advances which cost money to the beneficiaries. Please e mail us if you need a probate attorney would like to avoid probate with an estate plan prepared for you or for a complimentary and confidential consultation on any estate planning matter.

Before paying any company or hiring them, make sure to check whether they are members of the Better Business Bureau and what their record is with that company. The BBB is a legitimate method of ascertaining the credibility and reliability of any company and our firm has been members of the San Diego Better Business Bureau for many years and is proud of this and our record with them. On our website, we also display their logo and this is a link directly to our record with the BBB for any potential client to view.

San Diego: Beneficiaries

May 28, 2008

In San Diego, many residents will pass away. When they do, their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandchildren and other relatives will receive their property either through the probate process or through trust administration or other legal procedures for distribution of assets post death of the trustor. In San Diego, there are two court houses which hear probate cases. One court house is in San Diego and the other court house is in Vista.

In a recent article in the Sacramento Bee, the issue of the importance of naming beneficiaries is discussed as part of the estate plan. The article discusses the distribution to contingent beneficiaries of a life insurance policy rather than the living trust as the beneficiaries.

Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP would be pleased to give you advice on the advantages and disadvantages of all estate planning strategies. This is complimentary and confidential. Please feel free to e mail or call our firm.

San Diego: Probate Appeal Case re: Divorce

May 27, 2008

San Diego has many divorced spouses. A recent case in the Court of Appeal published March 27, 2008 and modified on April 16, 2008, illustrates the need for an estate plan post divorce. The attorney fees were ordered to be paid by each party so both sides spent thousands of dollars in litigation when a proper estate plan would have avoided this costly and time consuming litigation. Do not let this happen to you or your beneficiaries. The investment in the cost of a revocable living trust alone would have saved thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs.

The case of Estate of McDonald involved a divorced man and woman. The parties had a legal judgment and this included that there was a termination of all marital property rights. The man died without an estate plan and the case went to Probate Court. The woman alleged that she was the rightful heir under the laws and the parents of the man alleged that they were the rightful heirs under the law. The Trial Court found that the woman was not the "surviving spouse" under the terms of the Probate Code. The Court of Appeals agreed.

At our firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, we do not want your family to incur thousands in legal fees and costs when this is not necessary. Please e mail us if you have any questions or call for a complimentary and confidential consultation.

San Diego District Attorney- 2007 Report

May 22, 2008

In San Diego, the District Attorney's Office prosecutes criminal offenses. The District Attorney's Office also has its own Report every year of their statistics for the public's review. Crime affects all of us in San Diego, California and this document summarizes 2007 in many respects.

In San Diego, the District Attorney's Office employs hundreds of attorney and thousands of staff. The Report includes staffing, office locations, cases and statistics, fiscal review, organizational chart and also awards.

Our office of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP includes this in our blog as a public service.

San Diego Guardianship: Example of Emergency Guardianship

May 20, 2008

In San Diego, there are many instances of when an emergency guardianship would be necessary. A hearing would have to be set up in advance with the Clerk's Office as [many times] there is no existing case number to file a petition for emergency guardianship under.
In San Diego, there is a court house on 4th Avenue in San Diego and another court house on Melrose Avenue in Vista which hear guardianship cases.

A recent article highlights the types of emergencies which can occur. In that case, a San Diego man located a six year old girl and her baby sister in Baja, California. Many San Diego residents have visited El Rosario in Baja and this is a popular tourist destination for Southern Californians. The girls were with their fugitive parents. The girl's relatives will petition the Court in Santa Cruz County [where the proper venue is] for an emergency {ex parte} guardianship.

Emergency situations can arise in regards to minors. Please feel free to e mail our firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP if you have an emergency [or non emergency] guardianship questions.

San Diego Marriage: Estate Planning

May 19, 2008

In San Diego, California, we are governed by the laws of the United States and these are interpreted at the highest level by the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. In San Diego, for the State Courts, the law is interpreted by the San Diego Superior Court.

Estate planning has long utilized the marital status as part of the estate plan. Our office has prepared thousands of revocable living trusts and many of these are for married couples. Until last week, this was only for men and women and was controlled by Family Law Code 308.5 which is entitled California Defense of Marriage Act and was approved under Proposition 22 on March 7, 2000. The recent Supreme Court decision has ordered that this Code is no longer the law and this will have a significant effect on estate planning for the future if this law is not overturned by the United States Supreme Court.

Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP can assist in analyzing your unique and individual estate planning needs. Please e mail or call us for your complimentary consultation.

San Diego Probate: Heath Ledger

May 17, 2008

In San Diego, there are many probate cases. These are heard in the probate court houses located at the Madge Bradley Court House in San Diego and the North County Court House in Vista. Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP can assist you with any probate matter in San Diego. You can feel free to e mail our firm or call.

An illustration of a famous probate case, which is not in San Diego, is that of Heath Ledger. An article in the Herald Sun explains that his fortune will go to his infant daughter as opined by two legal experts. This is a much more complicated case since Heath Ledger has substantial assets in Australia as well as the United States.

Please feel free to call us to represent you in your pending probate matter in San Diego, California.

San Diego: National Healthcare Decision Day

May 15, 2008

In San Diego, California [as well as across the United States], April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. In San Diego, with over 1,000,000 residents alone, this is a very important topic. In California, the Advance Health Care Directive is a form which is included in a living trust to insure that your wishes are carried out if you cannot make them for yourself due to incapacity or other factors.

A recent article in the San Diego North County Times highlights this issue. In this article, George Chamblin writes that a "new survey finds that most families, willing to hold meaningful discussions on other issues, are still hesitant to deal with death". In our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, we assist families in beginning the discussion on this topic. In addition, you can feel free to e mail to our firm for assistance in this discussion.

San Diego Medicare and Medicaid: Paying for Nursing Care

May 14, 2008

In San Diego, many residents need skilled nursing home care. At our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, we are pleased to offer a complimentary and confidential consultation for you or a loved one who needs skilled nursing care or long term care planning.

The Medicare website has many useful articles. One article on on paying for skilled nursing care. The costs are thousands of dollars per month and can strain even the most financially stable families. The laws of the State of California are very complicated as is the applicaition process. Please feel free to e mail our law firm if you need additional information.

San Diego Estate Planning: Recent Article Highlights Pitfalls

May 13, 2008

In San Diego, many residents have no estate plan. In our firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, we offer a complimentary and confidential consultation to determine which estate plan is right for you. You can also feel free to e mail us. In San Diego, in the Probate Courts, the legal fee is 4% of the first $100,000, 3% of the second $100,000 and then 2% of the remaining $100,000's in incremental units. For example, if your house is valued at $500,000 and your debt on the house is $400,000, the legal fee is calculated from the gross fair market value and not the net.

A recent article highlights the problems with estate planning. This is not a problem unique to San Diego. In San Diego, a revocable living trust can have the effect of avoiding probate fees and costs if properly set up and properly funded. The article addresses persons who procrastinate due to their fear of facing their own death, do not properly fund the trust with property which causes the estate to be placed into probate or try and do it themselves with out of date forms and documents.

Do not let this happen to you and your family. Our firm can assist with an estate plan which is within your budget and will save your family money and legal fees in the future. Failure to have an estate plan or failure to properly fund your estate plan can have the same effect of having the estate in probate court.

San Diego: Durable Power of Attorney

May 12, 2008

In San Diego, many residents are in the military. Also, in San Diego, many residents travel for business. There are many articles on this subject and they are easily searched in Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines with the key search terms for your own education. The AARP is a good source of information for seniors and non seniors alike and has an article regarding powers of attorney.

At our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, we prepare individual estate plans based on individual needs. These can include a revocable living trust, durable power of attorney for finances, advanced health care directive and also other advanced estate planning strategies. Please feel free to e mail or call our office for any legal advice you need in this area.

San Diego: Long Term Care Planning

May 10, 2008

In San Diego, there are many residents who need long term care planning. These include San Diego residents who are both old and young. It is important to begin the planning as soon as possible since there are many options. Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP can assist with advising you of the law regarding long term care planning and assisting your family in this difficult time. Please feel free to e mail or call our office for a complimentary and confidential consulation.

The San Diego Union Tribune has an article which discusses long term care insurance. This can be part of an estate plan. Be sure, as in the article, to use a licensed and reputable agent. You can check on the California Department of Insurance website for credentials and current license status.

Target also has advice for long term care planning. This site has useful information and also discusses an advanced health care directive. This is essential in any estate plan.

The above articles are used for illustrative purposes only.

San Diego Probate Court: Britney Spears Conservatorship

May 8, 2008

In San Diego, California, we have two probate courts: San Diego in the Madge Bradley Courthouse and in Vista at the North County Courthouse. For your convenience, included in this article is a link to the probate court page for the San Diego Superior Court website.

In Los Angeles, California, Britney Spears case was transferred from a Commissioner to a Judge due to an objection by one of the parties in a recent article. In San Diego, this is also the procedure and if one of the parties does not agree [stipulate] to the Commissioner hearing the case then it is transferred to a Judge. In San Diego, there is a form which is normally signed by all parties prior to the case proceeding.

Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP can assist you with your conservatorship, probate and estate planning needs. Please feel free to call or e mail our firm

San Diego Estate Planning: Article in San Diego Union Tribune

May 6, 2008

In San Diego, a large number of residents have multiple retirement accounts which may include deferred compensation, deferred benefit or other compensation plan for retirement. These can take the form or an IRA; KEOGH; 403 plan or many others. Many parents also have a 529 plan for education for their children. Our firm does not give financial advice and are not financial planners or CPA's. Our firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation can assist in advanced estate planning strategies to protect your legal rights and to obtain your legal goals of eliminating probate fees and costs and to protect your privacy in the distribution.

A recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune on April 20, 2008 focused on the Fleischman family. The husband is 53 and wants to retire from his job as a high school teacher in 7 years when he is 60. At that time, his now 12 year old son will be entering college as a freshman and his daughter, now 15, may be graduating early from high school and graduating college at the same time. The wife is a registered ER nurse and plans to work another 10 to 15 years.

The article does not state whether the Fleishman's have a revocable living trust or estate plan in any form. If both of them were to pass away without a revocable lliving trust or other estate plan, their estate would need to be probated prior to distribution. Given the assets in the article, the probate fees and costs would be significant and would deplete the resources of the family which could have better been used for the children's education.

Feel free to e mail our law firm and we can discus with you the appropriate estate plan for your individual needs.

San Diego: Britney Spears Conservatorship Update

May 2, 2008

In San Diego, there are many conservatorship cases. These are heard in the San Diego Probate Court. In the case of Britney Spears, since she lives in Los Angeles, her case is heard in the Los Angeles Probate Court. This case highlights the need for an experienced and competent attorney in the area of conservatorship. Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, can assist with this. Please e mail or call us to set up a complimentary and confidential appointment.

In a recent article in People, the issue of attorney fees and costs was discussed. In addition, the conservatorship is reported until July 31, 2008. In Probate Court, there can be many hearings and necessary pleadings. The attorney fee and cost award was $58,000. In addition, the Court ordered a payment of $2,500 for the father of Britney Spears as the conservator and also that she cannot leave California without permission from the Court or her father.

Conservatorship cases can be very complicated and this case is an illustration of the costs, fees and powers which a Court has over a person who is declared unfit to care for themselves.

San Diego Passport Cards in lieu of Passport: non air travel from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean

May 1, 2008

In San Diego, California, there are many citizens, residents and visitors who enter the United States from Mexico. In San Diego County, there are two major border crossing facilities: San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. These are operated by the Department for Homeland Security. In order to enter the United States, you must prove that you are a United States Citizen, a United States Permanent Residence or a Legal Alien (visitor for any number of reasons) and there are many documents which can establish this.

In San Diego, many citizens travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean by land and sea. The State Department has recently begun accepting applications for the United States Passport Card. This will facilitate entry and expedite document processing at United States Ports of Entry. In San Diego, this is very applicable since many citizens take cruise ships and enter at the Port of San Diego.

This card will have the same validity period as a passport book: 5 years for children age 15 and younger and ten years for adults. The passport card will contain a vicinity-read radio frequency identification chip known as RFID. This will facilitate frequent border travelers. There are many technical rules and these are included on the website.

At Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP, we know how important it is for our clients to have the most up to date information on any changes in the law which may affect their life. In San Diego, California, passport books can now be obtained from many local post offices and our firm recommends this as a strategy for first time passport applicants as well as renewals due to being able to appear in person for the passport and this lessens the possibility of documents being lost in the mail.