Moore Law Firm

Moore Law Firm

9949 W. Bell Road
Suite 201
Sun City, AZ 85351
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Sun City Estate Planning Blog

The purpose and advantages of a living will

Previously on this blog we have discussed certain estate planning tools that can be utilized to address issues that are less often thought of during the estate planning process. While most people are familiar with wills and trusts and will use one or a combination of both of these to dictate how their estate will be distributed upon their death, these are not the only documents that are important when creating an estate plan. We have previously looked at the healthcare power of attorney, which names an individual to make healthcare decisions in the event of incapacitation. This week we briefly want to touch on the living will.

The purpose of the living will is to allow an individual to dictate the types of medical treatment, including life-saving care, which he or she would like to receive in the event of incapacitation. Therefore, this legal vehicle is similar to a power of attorney, but it ultimately leaves the decision-making power with the individual who creates the document and who may later become incapacitated.

What happens if I die without a will?

Many Arizonans put off estate planning until it's too late. There are many reasons this occurs, but one of the most prevalent is the fact that most people simply want their spouse and their children to inherit their estate. However, depending on the circumstances at hand, an individual who passes away without a will or other estate planning documents may have his or her assets distributed in a way that works counter to his or her intentions.

An individual who passes away without an estate plan is said to have died intestate. When this happens, the states intestate succession laws kick in. The purpose of these laws is to distribute an estate in a way that the average person would find agreeable. Therefore, assets will generally be left to a surviving spouse. However, matters may change if the deceased is survived by parents, there is not spouse, and/or there are children from different marriages.

How life insurance can play into estate planning

If you've been a reader of this blog, then you know that estate planning has many elements. Most people realize that wills and trusts make up a significant portion of an estate plan, but they are not by any means the documents that are needed in order to ensure that a plan is holistic in nature. Powers of attorney, for example, can play a crucial role by ensuring that one's financial and healthcare decisions are protected in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated.

Life insurance can also be an important consideration when creating your estate plan. In its most basic terms, a life insurance policy is a contract between an insurance company and a policy holder. The insurance company guarantees payment upon the policy holder's death in exchange for the payment of a monthly premium during the policy holder's lifetime. The reason people seek out life insurance is to ensure that their loved one's have financial resources when the policy holder passes away.

Contracts may affect estate planning

Estate planning can be as simple or as complicated as is necessary to meet an individual's identified needs. For some, a basic will with easily understood provisions is enough to bring their estate planning goals into reality. Others, though, require much more detailed documentation. This may be due to their high net worth, or it may have to do with the restrictions they wish to place on their estate's assets upon passing. Either way, estate planners need to ensure that they fully understand the legal ramifications of all the legal agreements they enter into.

Those who fail to be diligent when entering into contracts can find that seemingly unrelated agreements can have an effect on their estate plan. For example, an agreement between an individual and a cooperative or a homeowners' association may contain terms that affect a revocable trust. This is especially true if the property itself is being transferred to the trust at the time of purchase.

How to include pets in estate plans

It is natural for pets to feel like members of the family. Therefore, it makes sense to prepare accommodations for your furry companion as you develop an estate plan

You may not realize you need to include a pet in your will, especially if you are still fairly young. However, if something were to happen to you, would your dog or cat have someone to look after it? You need to be cognizant of the needs of your pet and loved ones, so always have a contingency plan ready. 

The basic benefits of creating a will

There are two major traditional estate planning vehicles that most people utilize: the will and the trust. Each has its own advantages, and many people utilize some combination of both. This week on the blog we want to take a closer look at wills and the benefits they can provide to those who use them.

To start, a will can provide peace of mind. This is because an individual who has a will knows that when he or she passes away his or her assets will be distributed according to a plan that is laid out in that document. Those who don't have a will when they pass away may have their assets distributed in a way that goes against their wishes. This latter form of distribution will be in strict adherence to the law, which may or may not conform to one's desires. Also, an individual can utilize a will to dictate who will care for any surviving children.

Legal help can bring estate planning vision into reality

Recently on the blog we discussed how to handle hard assets such as heirlooms during the estate planning process. This can be a tricky subject to address, as it can involve multiple parties, each with their own interests. Many people who engage in estate planning try to make all of their loved ones happy. However, especially when it comes the hard assets, this isn't always possible. Therefore, in order to reach an outcome that satisfies an estate planner and distributes assets in accordance with his or her wishes, an individual should consider working closely with a skilled legal professional.

In order to be effective, the estate planning process needs to be thorough and holistic in nature. This means all assets and debts need to be identified, and an individual needs to figure out how he or she wants to deal with those upon his or her death. The process through which he or she wants to distribute assets, and the restrictions he she wants to place on those distributions, will direct and drive the estate planning process.

Estate planning: the irrevocable trust

Trusts are common tools used in estate planning and can be utilized to distribute assets with certain conditions attached to them. For example, assets maybe left to a beneficiary with strict rules that the proceeds of the assets contained within the trust can only be paid out when the beneficiary turns a certain age. There are a wide variety of trust types, each with their own benefits. This is why it is imperative that those engaging in estate planning fully discuss their estate planning options with an attorney of their choosing.

One trust option available to estate planners is the irrevocable trust. As its name implies, this type of trust is created by an estate planner and, once property is transferred to the trust, that transaction cannot be undone. Therefore, an estate planner cannot place a business or a residence into the trust and then later withdraw it. So, why would anyone want to create an irrevocable trust?

The difference between informal and formal probate

The probate process is something often affiliated with estate planning. Most people who think of probate don't really know much about it except that they want to avoid it. We hope that this post will help clarify the informal and formal probate process, as well as what types of estate planning tools could help avoid probate altogether.

Informal probate involves very little court intervention. Individuals involved with the estate don't have to go to court, and there's no judge overseeing a personal representative's actions. Only certain individuals can seek informal probate, though. These individuals include a deceased individual's spouse, a sibling, a deceased individual's adult child or parent, an heir or a named personal representative.

You are in charge—and also liable—as executor of an estate

Let us say your uncle named you as the executor, or personal administrator, of his estate. Uncle Joe passed away unexpectedly, and you are suddenly in charge of winding up his affairs. This is a serious responsibility, and you can be considered liable for any missteps. Here are seven tips to help you succeed.

1. Get copies of the death certificate

Client Testimonials

I got the family trust updated.
I was very pleased with the expertise and professionalism exhibited by your staff in serving my needs.

I needed to review my Will, recommended by my son.
Mr. Farrer’s expertise helped me realize that a Trust would better serve my needs.
The staff and Mr. Farrer were very professional and friendly (not cold). Thank you. Very comfortable atmosphere.

Our legal documents were outdated due to time and circumstances.
The staff at Moore Law Firm worked with us to develop a trust and other legal documents which meet our current as well as our future needs.
The staff at moore law firm were so professional, knowledgable and friendly to work with. They worked beyond to accomodate our needs. Thank you all.

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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