Thomas F. Miles, Attorney and Counselor at Law
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San Diego California Bankruptcy Law Blog

Prince estate battle highlights importance of wills

Millions of Americans and fans throughout the world mourned the news of the passing of the legendary musician Prince. While his talents and music speak for themselves, unfortunately nothing spoke for his high asset net worth and vast estate. You see, Prince died without a will.

What is probate?

Probate, in its simplest term, is the transferring of one's property following their death. The process itself can be costly and lengthy. There are a few ways to avoid probate, which we have talked about in previous blog posts, However actions must have been taken prior to a death for those other options to be implemented.

Mythbusting: Can your credit be repaired after bankruptcy?

If you are drowning in overwhelming debt and dealing with harassing calls from creditors, bankruptcy may be a valuable option to give you a fresh financial start. Debt is not always about being irresponsible. You cannot control when you lose your job, when you get sick or injured enough to collect high medical bills or when the cost of living rises more than you expect.

Many avoid filing for bankruptcy because they fear how it will affect their credit, and believe the myth that credit can never be restored after filing. To dispel those fears, here are a few ways you can repair your credit after bankruptcy.

Financial challenges? Reach out for help

The American Dream can mean different things to different people. For some, starting a healthy and happy family is enough. For others, making money and having a successful career is all they want. No matter what your dreams and goals are, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes life happens. If you find yourself facing financial hardships, you are not alone. Millions of Americans throughout the country are in the same boat as you. But a sinking boat can still be saved.

When facing financial difficulties, you may want to consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Although the word "bankruptcy" carries with it negative connotations, the fact is that bankruptcy is designed to help you get out of debt, and to get rid of the dark cloud over your head so you can see brighter days in the future. There are different criteria for declaring bankruptcy, so it would be in your best interest to learn about each to see if you qualify and if declaring is right for you.

How a living will protects your wishes

Sometimes we need a reminder of the famous line by Benjamin Franklin. "There are only two certainties in life - death and taxes." While this comment was likely done in jest, it still holds true, and can be valuable for people to think about, especially when considering their future. As we all know but all too often forget or take for granted, no tomorrows are guaranteed, and we never really know when our time is up. We could continue with even more clich├ęs, but the point is that an accident, injury or illness could strike any one at any time, and protecting yourself, your assets and your wishes in the event of a tragedy, should not be overlooked.

A living will is not an actual will, but is more of a "healthcare directive." It is a document that you create to help guide family and medical professionals in the event that you are unable to express your wishes. It is most commonly associated with the instruction of withholding treatment in the event that your condition is beyond repair or healing such as a permanent vegetative state or terminally ill and unable to communicate, but may be applied to many other decisions as well.

How can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy help you?

Deciding to declare for bankruptcy may seem like a daunting decision for many. Admitting that you may not be able to overcome your financial challenges is not an easy decision, but it is important to remember that bankruptcy is designed to help you overcome the burden of debt, and although the recovery process may not be quick or easy, in the long run declaring for bankruptcy may be the way to go.

It is important to understand the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and to learn which one is right for you. Let's take a look at some of the pros of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

An effective estate plan is important for everyone

This blog recently answered the question regarding what a trust is and how it can help with an overall estate plan. An estate plan is a good idea for anyone at any age, regardless of the value of their personal property or number of assets they own. Wills and trusts provide different options to consider for transferring assets. There are a number of different estate planning tools to be aware of not just limited to wills and trusts.

In addition to wills and trusts, other estate planning tools include a living will or advance healthcare directive and a power of attorney which can help the estate planner account for possible incapacitation and help family members handle the estate planner's medical and financial concerns based upon the estate planner's stated wishes. There are also different types of trusts designed to address certain needs.

How durable power of attorney affects health care

California’s population is aging, and there will likely come a time that either you or one of your parents will benefit from a durable power of attorney. Essentially, this type of legal document allows either you or your parent to name someone who will act as an agent on your behalf in the event that you are no longer able to make your own decisions.

While there are two main types of power of attorney documents, a power of attorney for health care is the one that can appoint someone to make a health care-related decision on your or your loved one’s behalf.

What is a trust and how can it help with my estate plan?

There are a variety of different estate planning tools that are available to estate planners to help them develop an effective estate plan. A trust can be used as part of an estate plan to supplement a will or manage property during life. Trusts manage property by transferring the benefits and obligations of property to different recipients. Because trusts can help with property distribution, they are an excellent estate planning tool.

When creating a trust, the property owner transfers property to a trustee for it to be managed for the benefit of another party or the beneficiary. The trustee has a fiduciary relationship with the beneficiary and must act in the best interests of the beneficiary when administering the trust. There are two broad categories of trusts including testamentary trusts and living trusts. A testamentary trust transfers property at death and a living trust begins during the lifetime of the trust creator and can continue after death.

How to avoid the probate process

No one, in the history of mankind, has ever used the words "fun" to describe the probate process. In fact, it can be so drawn out, complicated and expensive that most people look for a way around it at all costs. Luckily, there are ways to get around it.

During the estate planning process with an attorney, ask about these possibilities to avoid probate:

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