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Camarillo Estate Law And Real Estate Law Blog

Tips to get approved for your mortgage

Buying a home is an exciting prospect, but applying for a mortgage is often looked at with trepidation. There are steps you can take to improve your chance of approval, however. Taking a proactive approach is key in this case, especially if it's your first time applying for a home loan. The following are a few tips that can help you during the approval process. 

Money Crashers urges applicants to know their credit score before applying. Lenders will look at this score, among many other factors, when determining whether to approve you and for how much. The lower your score, the less likely it is you'll be approved. A lower score will also increase the interest you're obligated to pay on the loan. This will add to the costs, which may not be feasible for some homeowners. When checking your score, make sure everything seems accurate. It's not uncommon for erroneous information to be present on a credit report, which must be remedied. 

Handling negative emotions during the estate planning process

Whether someone is setting up an estate plan for the first time or they are making necessary revisions to their estate plan as a result of a personal injury settlement or a divorce, this can be a complicated and emotionally draining process. People may deal with a lot of uncertainty and they may have high levels of anxiety, become depressed or even struggle with anger. All of these emotions can be triggered by estate planning for various reasons, but people can avoid some of these challenges by approaching their estate plan from the right angle.

Sometimes, negative emotions can even get in the way of one's ability to successfully create or modify an estate plan. For example, someone who becomes extremely depressed or stressed out may decide to postpone their estate planning responsibilities, which can make things even harder in the future. There are different ways you may be able to reduce the emotional impact of any estate planning matters you are dealing with, and you should have a clear understanding of all your options and confidence in the decisions that you make.

What is under the authority of your neighborhood HOA?

When you buy a home in a California neighborhood, you are probably thinking about the things you will do to decorate your home, landscape your yard and enjoy your property. Perhaps you have a plan to put in a pool at some point in the future. These are all great ideas, but it may surprise you learn how much input your neighborhood homeowners' association has over your plans.

Whether you plan to move into a community with an HOA or you already live in one, it's smart to know where the authority of your HOA ends and your rights a homeowner begin. You have the right to defend your property, and this may mean confronting unfair tactics or unreasonable demands against you by the HOA. It's beneficial to learn about the things this governing authority can and cannot regulate.

Marital property and your irrevocable trust

When it comes to setting up an estate plan, there are many options, and there may be many factors to take into consideration. For example, if someone expects their marriage to end, they may be wondering how a divorce could affect their estate plan. Or, they may be unsure about which estate planning options are best as a result of their divorce. Sometimes, people have irrevocable trusts, and they may wonder how these estate plans will be impacted by divorce and whether their assets will be seen as marital property or separate property.

For starters, it is vital to carefully go over the unique details of your finances, your divorce and your trust. If you created an irrevocable trust prior to your marriage, assets in this estate plan may be protected from property division. On the other hand, if you set up an irrevocable trust during your marriage, the assets in this trust may not be seen as separate property and they may be viewed as marital property and subjected to division.

What should I look for in an executor?

Your will provides instructions on how your estate should be handled after you're gone. You'll also need to choose an executor, who is a person responsible for handling many important duties, including dispersing assets to your heirs. Kiplinger offers the following tips to help you pick an executor who will protect your estate and ensure your family members are taken care of when the time comes. 

While specifics vary from court to court, in many instances an executor must be bonded in order to fulfill his or her duties. Bonding is insurance that protects heirs in the event the executor takes an estate's assets for personal gain. A poor financial history, such as bankruptcy or bad credit score, prevents a person from being bonded. A poor financial history also means that your selection won't be fiscally responsible with your assets, which can also pose issues. 

What are some mistakes first-time home buyers make?

Many people dream of buying a home for the first time. Investing in a home is indeed gratifying, but it also comes with quite a few risks. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure the transaction progresses as smoothly as possible. Bankrate explains common home buying mistakes and how you can work to avoid them. 

Preapproval entails applying for a mortgage before actually shopping for a house. While this seems counterproductive, it's actually quite reassuring to sellers. Preapproval entails a check of your financial background, including your credit score. That way you and the seller can rest assured that you have the funds available to actually purchase the home. This is very helpful in crowded housing markets, where you may be in fierce competition for a single property.

Three situations where you need a living will

Most people do not like contemplating their passing, especially after tragic circumstances. But estate planning is a crucial aspect of aging. However, there are documents in estate plans that affect your life right now, including a living will.

A living will is a legal document that specifies detailed instructions if you need medical treatments but cannot make advocate your decision. There are three specific situations where a living will is necessary.

Incorporating taxes into your estate plan

When they begin creating an estate plan, many people come across the phrase “death taxes” online or in conversations with others planning for the future. Generally, “death taxes” refers to estate taxes, gift taxes, and inheritance taxes. And every estate plan should account for both federal and state versions of these taxes.

For those residing in California, you’re in luck: California has no state gift or estate taxes. However, there are still federal taxes to consider – as well as new proposed state taxes.

When is it a good idea to disinherit a child from your will?

One important part of the estate planning process in California is determining what you leave to your children. Because an estate plan is hopefully created long before you die, situations may change with your beneficiaries and you may need to update your will. For example, if you have a child that you want to disinherit, this is a big step and one you should consider carefully, but it can be done if you determine that is the best thing to do.

If your child's behavior is frustrating you, you do not want to use the inheritance to change the behavior. For example, some parents do not want to leave large amounts of money to kids who have substance abuse problems or who spend irresponsibly. Threatening to withhold their inheritance is an almost guaranteed way to create friction and tension in your family, and not a great way to change the child's behavior.

What does the probate process entail?

If you have just lost a close friend or family member, you may be dealing with many emotions. In addition to grieving the loss, you may be faced with distribution of your loved one's estate, including any property, possessions and assets he or she had. You may be faced with the need to open a probate estate in the Superior Court for the county where the decedent resided.  The process of finalizing the deceased's estate and distributing property to the beneficiaries named in the will or heirs if there is no will can be difficult during this hard time. The probate process is designed to organize this process and to ensure everything is handled properly.

During the probate process, the estate administrator if there is no will or executor of the will is given the last will and testament, death certificate and other important documents. The estate administrator/executor must notify certain entities, such as life insurance companies and the beneficiaries named in the will, that the person is deceased. The estate administrator/executor must then round up all of the items in the estate and determine the estate's value. Any remaining debts and expenses owed by the estate are then paid out of the estate assets. During this time, the estate administrator/executor must protect the property and assets from theft and/or vandalism. Finally, the remaining assets and property are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries named in the will after obtaining court approval for the distribution.

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