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

Estate planning, long-term care, and long-term care insurance

Readers of this blog know that it is important to plan for the future. They also know that there are many aspects to estate planning. While much of the focus is on figuring out how to distribute assets upon one's death, there are also healthcare decisions that must be made. We have previously discussed powers of attorney, which can allow a trusted individual to be named to become responsible for your healthcare decisions in the event that you become incapacitated and can't make these decisions on your own. Yet, this is not the only consideration you may need to make when thinking about your healthcare in the context of estate planning.

Another issue you need to think about is long-term care planning. Studies show that there's about a 50 percent chance that you'll need some form of long-term care by the time you reach 65. Considering that this care can cost as much as $150,000 a year, it's your and your estate's best interests to figure out how you will pay for this care in the event that you have to do so.

How to approach hard assets in estate planning

It doesn't take a scientist or skilled financial planner to realize that estate planning can be tricky. After all, individuals are forced to think about their own mortality and make financial decisions that can have a major impact on the lives of others. In many instances, those who engage in estate planning simply want to split their assets amongst their identified heirs, which usually include children. While this may be easy to do with liquid assets like cash and stocks and bonds, it can be a much messier process when dealing with hard assets like heirlooms and art.

These hard assets carry significant sentimental value, which is why they are often sought out by numerous family members. But can a hard asset be divided amongst those family members? It physically can't. This is why the first step in addressing this issue is to get an accurate valuation of the asset. Many of these items appreciate or depreciate over time, so having a recent appraisal can be crucial. Once an item is appraised, then it's time to identify those potential heirs who want to own that property.

Consider legal help when changing an estate plan

Recently, this blog discussed estate planning in blended families. This post helps highlight the importance not only of initial estate planning, but also modifications of existing estates. After all, life changes all the time, and many of those changes can drastically affect your carefully laid out and documented plans. Therefore, to avoid estate distribution that is contrary to your wishes, you should be sure to revisit documents like wills and trusts to better ensure that your plan for your estate's future is perfectly encapsulated within those documents.

You'll need to exercise care when modifying these documents, though, as changes that are vague or ambiguous can lead to contention and even litigation later down the road. When it comes to wills, for example, many people choose to revoke a will and create a new one rather than creating codicils that change certain portions of an existing will. This is thought to minimize the risk of confusion.

Estate planning tips for blended families

Whether you have lost your former spouse to death or divorce, remarrying often brings hope and happiness into your life again. Of course, it comes with its own challenges, especially when you each have your own children from previous relationships, but it is possible to work problems out with time and effort.

Do not let your marital bliss make you forget an important step in blending families: updating your estate plans. Remarriage presents complexities in asset distribution, so it is best to make things clear now through proper estate planning.

Reasons to change a will

Some people spend a lifetime saving and obtaining assets. When you boil it down, estate planning is about retaining control over your assets even after you pass away. For many Arizona residents, this means figuring out a way to best provide those assets to loved ones so that they can enjoy those assets for a long time to come. The most thought of, and perhaps the simplest, estate planning tool is the will. In short, a will lays out to whom assets will be left upon death. These documents can be as intricate as needed, but most of the time they are short and straightforward so as to avoid confusion and challenge later down the road.

Yet, the mere creation of a will is not the end of dealing with that document. Individuals often see significant changes over the course of their lives, and these changes may justify modifications of an existing will. For example, if an individual has remarried or develops a relationship with a long-term partner subsequent to creating a will, then one may want to change the will to recognize that relationship and dictate the distribution of assets accordingly. The same holds true with divorce, the birth of a new child to the family, the taking in of step-children, when new assets are acquired, and when one changes his or her mind about who he or she wants to inherit certain assets.

Burt Reynolds leaves entire estate to a trust

There have been a number of famous people pass away lately, and each one has left a story to tell about how they chose to handle their estate. A few months ago, for example, we discussed how famed singer Aretha Franklin neglected to engage in estate planning, thereby leaving her assets open to creditor claims and the grasp of all individuals who feel they are entitled to a share of the estate.

Now, legendary film actor Burt Reynolds has passed away. But his estate planning story is different. According to reports, Reynolds intentionally wrote his 30-year-old son out of his will, but for good reason. Apparently Reynolds left everything to a trust with his son named as a beneficiary.

Powers of attorney as part of an estate plan

Planning can be challenging for some, whether it is making plans for the weekend, next month, next year or at the end of his or her life. Estate planning can be an intricate process that allows you to dictate every detail of how your estate will be handled upon your death. But what happens if you don't make it that far in good health? What if you suddenly become incapable of making important financial and healthcare decisions on your own? If you haven't addressed this in your estate plan, then you may be subjected to a guardianship where another individual petitions the court to assume legal responsibility for you and your affairs. While that might sound okay, the individual who winds up assuming guardianship may not be your first choice.

Fortunately, you can avoid this need by creating powers of attorney as part of your estate plan. In essence, these documents authorize another person to make important decisions on your behalf. These documents can address financial matters, healthcare matters or both. It is worth noting that the person named in your power of attorney must make decisions that he or she believes are in your best interests. Therefore, if you name someone you know and trust, then you can rest easy knowing that you will be well taken care of if the need arises.

The often neglected aspects of estate planning

Estate planning encompasses a lot of different things. For some, estate planning is nothing more than creating a basic will. For others, the process is more about preserving their legacy. This highlights one of the most important things about estate planning: it is customizable to fit your needs. While this certainly holds true for dealing with complex financial matters, it is also true for what is often thought of as "soft" estate planning.

Soft estate planning is the process through which you address important end of life issues that typical estate planning usually doesn't focus on. For example, your estate plan can dictate how you are to buried, if you want to be buried at all and specify the particularities of your funeral service. This will not only allow you to retain control over your sending away, but it can also take the stress of funeral planning off of your family.

Need competent estate planning? Look no further

A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed Aretha Franklin's estate and how it was not subjected to any wills or trusts. In short, Franklin neglected to engage in estate planning of any sort. This may leave her considerable estate open to dispute as well as increased taxes. This is something that everyone should want to avoid, including those living in the Sun City area.

While the estate planning process may seem overwhelming, it doesn't have to be. When you work with a skilled estate planning legal team like the one at the Moore Law Firm, you just need to be able to articulate your vision for the future of your estate and your loved ones. Even if you struggle to put your wishes into words, we can help guide you in the creation of your vision then work with you to bring that vision into reality.

Potential setbacks of doing estate planning on your own

There are numerous online resources available now that promise to make it easy to create wills and other essential legal documents. However, it is critical to remember creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you will do for your family. You need to get it done right, and that is why most people will want to avoid handling such complicated matters on their own.

Even if you believe you can create a will and trust on your own, you do not want to make a simple mistake. It is far too easy to make a disastrous mistake that impacts who will receive what when you pass away. 

Client Testimonials

I got the family trust updated.
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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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