Moore Law Firm

Moore Law Firm

9949 W. Bell Road
Suite 201
Sun City, AZ 85351
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623-207-9153

Sun City Estate Planning Blog

Special needs trusts and Medicaid planning

Most people who think of estate planning think about the process where a plan is devised to distribute assets to loved ones upon that individual's death. Of course, this makes up a significant portion of estate planning, but it doesn't account for all of it. Powers of attorney, for example, dictate who will make important financial and health decisions in the event that an individual becomes incapacitated. Another aspect of estate planning involves considering the potential need for long-term care.

Long-term care can be incredibly expensive, thereby threatening the financial health of even the most robust estates. Many Arizonans believe that government benefits like Medicaid will cover their expenses, but the truth of the matter is that a significant number of individuals do not qualify from Medicaid. This is because this program has income limitations. In other words, those who make too much money are barred from receiving compensation from Medicaid.

Family conflict can implode an estate plan

We've spent a lot of time on this blog discussing some of the pitfalls that can land an estate plan in hot water. Concerns over competency, vague or ambiguous terms and even fraud can all draw the validity of an estate plan into question. Yet, those issues may not be the biggest threat to Arizonans estate plans. Instead, infighting amongst family members could be the biggest cause of derailed estate plans.

A recent survey found that nearly half of accountants, attorneys and trust officers listed internal family conflict as the number one risk to estate plans. One reason for this is because families are becoming more blended and diverse. People divorce and remarry, children are adopted and grandparents are raising grandchildren. These changing familial landscapes can cause an individual to rethink how he or she wants to leave his or her assets, and it may not be in a way that conforms with the law's default or familial expectations.

Reality TV star uses will to disinherit son

Many Arizonans think of estate planning as a way to ensure that their loved ones will receive a fair share of estate assets upon their passing. While this is true in many instances, the beauty of estate planning is that it can be custom-tailored to fit one's unique desires. Therefore, if an individual wishes to stray away from a typical estate plan, then he or she can do so.

For example, one need look no further than the case of Richard Harrison, also known as the "Old Man" on the reality TV show, "Pawn Stars." The father of three recently passed away from complications related to Parkinson's disease, leaving behind three adult children.

Do you really own valuable antiques?

If you own antiques, they may well become part of your Arizona estate plan. After all, they represent highly valuable assets – or do they? Unfortunately, TV programs like Antiques Roadshow, et al notwithstanding, just because you own something old does not necessarily mean that it is an antique or worth a lot of money.

In all likelihood, many of the things you own are not antiques at all. Definitions matter in the collecting world, particularly the following three:

  1. Antique: an object 100 years old or older
  2. Vintage: an object 75-100 years old
  3. Retro: an object produced or manufactured in the 1950s or 1960s

Certain estate plan players can play pivotal role in outcome

At first glance you might think that estate planning is a simple process. After all, you only need to decide where your assets will go upon your passing, then devise legal documents indicating your wishes. This very basic assumption is correct to a certain extent, but estate planning is about so much more than merely picking and choosing beneficiaries. Estate planning is also about anticipating things that can go wrong and planning for ways to avoid unwanted and unexpected consequences.

One way your estate plan can blow up is by mismanagement by those who entrusted with decision-making power. An individual named by you to serve you under a power of attorney or healthcare directive, for example, may wind up making decisions that go against your interests. Likewise, a trustee will be responsible for making investment decisions with regard to trust property. If mismanaged, a trust's funds can quickly be depleted, leaving your beneficiaries without the assets you intended for them to receive.

Sun City firm helping realize estate planning goals

Our topic of discussion last week on the blog was conservatorships. Although these court-ordered arrangements can prove beneficial, they can leave some individuals feeling uneasy, and for good reason. Fortunately for these individuals, this issue can be completely avoided through careful planning, but it does highlight just how fact-specific and detail-oriented estate planning can be. It also shows how a little-known or little-considered issue can throw an estate plan into a tailspin.

There are a number of these types of issues that, if neglected, can threaten the purpose of an estate plan or its very validity. To avoid these potentially devastating pitfalls, Arizonans need to ensure that their estate plans are well thought out and plan for every conceivable situation. This can be hard to do if your unaccustomed dealing with these matters, which is why many who find themselves in this position choose to seek out assistance from an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.

What is a "conservatorship" in elder law?

Oftentimes the anxiety that comes with growing older stems from the uneasiness a person feels when thinking about nearing death or merely becoming less capable of doing the day-to-day activities that he or she enjoys. At its heart, estate planning seeks to reduce or eliminate these fears by devising a system through which assets can be protected and distributed.

However, some Arizona residents may face challenging estate issues even prior to their death. This is the case for those who become incapacitated and therefore unable to make their own financial decisions. When this happens, another individual can petition a court to be appointed as a conservator over the incapacitated individual. Those who are appointed as a conservator then have the power to invest the estate's funds and distribute them in order to cover the protected person's care. The conservator must also pay the protected individual's bills from the estate's funds.

Long-term care and how to pay for it

When Arizonans engage in estate planning, they often think about how best to protect their assets and ensure that their beneficiaries receive those assets upon the planner's death. In a nutshell, this is the heart of estate planning. However, there are many other issues that can play an important role in estate planning. These matters, when left unaddressed, can leave an individual facing serious financial troubles, but also problems related to his or her own healthcare.

These problems often arise when an individual winds up needing long-term care. Sadly, about 10 million Americans need some sort of long-term care. While some of these individuals will be fortunate enough to have family and friends take care of them free of charge, most will require hired help in one form or another. A home health aide or visiting nurse may be able to provide in-home care and assist with caring for one's self and his or her residence, but others require more extensive care provided by nursing homes.

3 benefits of a special needs trust

It is important to provide for your loved ones and ensure they are financially stable after you pass away. This can be fairly involved in and of itself, but you face additional challenges when you are establishing an estate plan with a beneficiary who has special needs. Fortunately, there is a particular kind of trust that addresses the circumstances common to many people with disabilities. 

There are a few things you should know about a special needs trust and how it can benefit both you and your beneficiaries. 

Undue influence may affect Stan Lee's estate plan

Arizona estate planning is not just for the wealthy. In fact, a competent estate plan can help people of all walks of life ensure that their physical, emotional and financial well-being, as well as the financial security of their loved ones, is as fully protected as is possible under the given circumstances. It often is beneficial to look at estate planning cases that affect those who are well off, as the lessons they learn are easily transferrable to the everyday person.

As an example, this week we will look at the case of Stan Lee, famous for creating Marvel comic book characters, such as Spider Man and the Hulk. Lee, whose estate is estimated to be worth of $50 million or more, is now 95-years-old and suffering from a number of health conditions that affect his vision, hearing and even his memory. According to those closest to him, his condition has left him susceptible to undue influence. This undue influence, in turn, has allegedly cost the comic book icon who may be under attack by financial piranhas.

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Moore Law Firm
9949 W. Bell Road
Suite 201
Sun City, AZ 85351

Phone: 623-207-9153
Phone: 623-207-9153
Fax: 623-977-7237
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