Q: My father lives in California, n owns 4 acres in Antwerp, New York, He wants to Will it to me. Should he? Or a diff way?
Basically my father wants to leave the property he has in New York State to me in a Will, 4 acres, 2 to me and 2 acres to his stepson and Step Daughter. What I would like to know if it is best to Will it to us or if there is another way we should be handling it before he passes on? I and him live in California the others live in Wisconsin.
Most people will benefit from a Living Trust, coupled with a "pour over" Will (it pours your stuff over into the Trust -- I did NOT invent that name myself). A Trust allows you to plan your estate without it going through the Probate process after your death (even a modest estate without a lawyer's help will cost you $1,000 in court fees; probate fees to attorneys then start at 4% of the gross estate).
A trust is also used to plan to keep Medi-Cal from taking back the money they paid on your behalf after you die. Medi-Cal will pay your nursing home if you cannot afford it (maybe), but once you are both deceased (you and your spouse), Medi-Cal wants the money back from your estate rather than letting you leave it to your children.
Qualifying for Medi-Cal is a different problem than protecting your assets from payback. Qualifying requires that you have limited assets. That calls for 30 months advance planning, so you cannot wait until someone has a stroke or is already suffering from dementia. To make sure you will qualify for Medi-Cal to pay your nursing care you may need an irrevocable trust instead.
I would be happy to do it if you like. My fee for a complete estate plan for Rocket Lawyer clients is $1,500 (that is 25% off my normal fee).
Jeff Gaffney (the one on the left in the picture)
A: Your father needs a Trust, not a Will. Here’s why. Each state has a dollar limit for purposes of determining whether a deceased person’s loved ones either: (1) are free to distribute the assets as soon as all final bills are paid off; or (2) must go through a years-long court process called probate BEFORE the assets can be distributed. Obviously, the first choice is the better way to go in most situations. California’s probate limit is $184,500. New York’s probate limit is $50,000. That means, if your father has a Will and probate-able assets valued at more than $184,500, your family will be required to go through the probate court process in BOTH California and New York. So, your father needs to speak with an estate planning lawyer to be sure you can save a lot of time and money. Best wishes!
A: Greetings Chico. I agree with the other attorneys' answers, however, I wanted to add that your father can execute and record a new deed adding you as a joint tenant with the right of survivorship. If you survive your father, then you will become the sole owner after recording a Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant.
It is important to understand that estate planning can be complex and it is highly recommended that you and your father consult with a qualified attorney in California and New York who specializes in estate planning to discuss the best options for transferring the property. An attorney can help ensure that your father's wishes are carried out in the most efficient and effective way possible, while also minimizing any potential legal issues or tax consequences.
Some common methods of transferring real estate include using a will, setting up a trust, or through joint tenancy or community property ownership. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the right approach will depend on your father's specific circumstances, goals, and needs.
It is also important to note that different states have different laws regarding estate planning and property transfer, so it is important to work with attorneys in both California and New York to ensure that all legal requirements are met.
Overall, it is important to take the time to carefully consider all options and consult with professionals to ensure that the transfer of the property is handled in the most appropriate and effective way possible.
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