Serving as the executor of an estate or the administrator of a trust carries significant responsibilities. When those responsibilities are improperly handled, legal action can be taken against an executor or administrator. Therefore, before agreeing to serve in this position, an individual should fully understand what it entails.
Sadly, many Arizonans view estate planning as a burdensome, depressing endeavor that is better left for later. However, estate planning has considerable significance. After all, the terms laid out in an estate plan, or the lack of an estate plan, will dictate how one's estate is distributed, which may or may not be in line with the deceased individual's wishes. This means that loved ones may be left without the financial support they expected and the deceased individual intended.
Estate planning can be an enormously complex endeavor. This is especially true when an individual identifies a number of heirs and beneficiaries and there are significant assets with which to deal. However, while passing down retirement accounts and homes can be relatively easy, the matter can become even more detail-oriented when dealing with personal property.
While a lot of estate planning focuses on the nuts and bolts of leaving assets to loved ones, it can also include matters related to end of life care. This is why it is important to give due considerations to legal documents like health care directives. A health care directive names an individual who will take on the responsibility of making health care decisions in the event that the document's creator becomes unable to communicate his or her wishes.
The definition of family has certainly broaden over the last 50 years. Back then, most families were comprised of married men and women who had children and who stayed in their marriages until death. In the modern world, though, there is no "normal" family. In fact, only a third of all marriages conform to the traditional definition of married heterosexuals with children. These modern familial units can be comprised of unmarried couples, stepchildren, adopted children, and even children conceived through artificial means. While the world around us has changed considerably over time, estate planning law has not, which means it is on you to ensure that your estate plan is customized to fit your unique situation. Failing to do so could mean that your loved ones may miss out on inheriting the assets you want them to have.
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.
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.
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.
Recently, Stan Lee, the comic book mogul best known for creating much of the Marvel universe, passed away at the age of 95. Lee's 68-year-old daughter is his only surviving family member, as his wife had proceeded him in passing. Now, many are considering how the tumultuousness that surrounded Lee prior to his passing will affect the distribution of his estate.
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.