Madaan Law, P.C.


National Make-A-Will Month

National Make-a-Will Month

I read recently that August is National Make-A-Will Month, so I wanted to take this opportunity to explain will and their function to you..

A gallup poll revealed that only about half of all Americans have a will. Making a will is an important part of planning for your family’s future. Before diving too deep into the purpose of a will, let us first talk about the purpose and anatomy of a will.

What is a Will?

National Make-A-Will Month

National Make-A-Will Month

A will is a document that states a person’s last wishes. Wills are usually have to be recorded with the County where the testator aka maker of the will passed away. Some states, including California have requirements for what should be included in a will. There are also different types of wills. For example, a handwritten will is called a holographic will. A holographic will is also not witnessed by anyone and are often held to be invalid.

 

What Makes a Will valid?

California has a set of laws that govern all things surrounding estates, from wills to living trusts to probate after the death of a person. These laws together make up the Probate Code. The Probate Code lists out the requirements for a will to be valid. Some of the requirements are that a will needs to be signed by the testator. It also needs to be witnessed by two adults at the same time who saw the testator sign the will and understand that the document the testator signed in a will. Sections 6110 through 61

13 lay out the requirements of a valid will in detail.

Purpose of Making a Will

When someone passes away in California and has property worth less than One Hundred and Fifty Thousand ($150,000), a will essentially serves as an affidavit. The beneficiaries in the will of a deceased person can usually go through a simplified probate process to gain access to the property in that estate.

If however, the deceased person owns property worth over One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000), then the will can be a “pour over will” that pours the smaller contents of a person’s estate into their living trust. Without a living trust an estate greater than $150, 000 may still need to go through probate despite having a will.

A Will and Trust Work Together

In California, when someone owns property worth over the One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000) threshold, one of the ways to avoid probate is to create a Revocable Inter Vivos Trust which can hold a person or family’s estate during their lifetime, and can seamlessly pass on the property held within the trust to their beneficiaries afterwards. A will can act alongside a Trust to ensure that the items in a person’s estate that are worth under $150,000 pass through a person’s trust.

This National Make-a-Will Month, I invite you to contact us and set up a free consultation to talk about how a will, and maybe a living trust can help protect your family’s future. We have convenient locations in Long Beach and Irvine. You can reach us at (949) 346-5294 or aastha@madaanlaw.com.

 


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The Movement of People – A year in review

This column is written by immigration attorney, Michael Ruttle.

If you have turned to any news channel, or radio station within the last 12 months, it is hard not to see how “immigration” is a hot-button issue for many Americans. It’s true, the international flow of people is something that affects our lives more than one would imagine, and has always been affected by world events. As presidential campaign season came into full swing in 2015, with multiple Democrat and Republican debates having already taken place, immigration is front-and-center of the many policy discussions.

President Obama’s executive actions are currently frozen in the federal court system, while Congress continues to debate the issue. Those actions would have given temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants who came here as children, and some of their parents.

Syrian refugees were seen escaping civil war and flooding into Europe by the thousands. The Obama administration has said that it would admit up to 10,000 refugees from Syria during the 2016 fiscal year (out of the maximum 85,000 that can be admitted annually by law).

In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, as well as terrorist attacks carried out in Paris, Congress passed a bill that adds new, stricter requirements to the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”), which currently allows citizens of 38 countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for visits of up to 90 days.

In 2016, expect immigration to, once again, emerge as a top issue. But know that as the US changes its own rules on who to let in, and who to exclude, other countries may follow suit, thereby making international travel more difficult for Americans too. And with the Summer Olympics taking place in Brazil, you may just want to break out that passport of yours.

More information about Michael’s firm can be found here: http://www.ruttlelaw.com/


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MONEY, MONEY, MONEY & POWER OF ATTORNEY

stack of moneyWhile different individuals have different purposes for creating an estate plan, one of the most common purposes is to ensure that they can use their assets in time of need.  A Power of Attorney is a document that gives one or more persons the right to act on your behalf if you are unable to do, and is usually part of a comprehensive estate plan.

A Power of Attorney allows you to give as much or as little authority to your agents as you wish. The authority can range from the limited right of your agents to pay your bills, to a sweeping authority for your agents to be able to make any and all financial decisions.  Due to the scope of authorities that can be granted by a financial Power of Attorney, you must choose your agent carefully. Often, people choose a family member or close friend to be their agent, but you can choose anyone you trust with your financial decisions. If you are creating a Revocable Trust, it is prudent to keep in mind the ways in which a Power of Attorney can act in conjunction with, and also fill the gaps remaining from the Trust.

A Power of Attorney can be ‘springing,’ which means it becomes effective upon a triggering date or event, such as if you ever become incapacitated, or unable to make decisions for yourself.  You also have the option of creating a Durable Power of Attorney, which becomes active immediately and continues to remain active upon incapacity. This type of power of attorney is often used by individuals that need their agents to have authority to make financial decisions if they are abroad or otherwise unavailable to make their own financial decisions. A power of attorney expires at the time of the creator’s death.

Spouses can create a common Revocable Trust, but the powers granted in a Financial Power of Attorney are personal to each individual, and need to be separate for each spouse.

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