After completing an estate plan, many Arizonans feel a tremendous sense of relief. They certainly should, as taking this huge step is the best way to not only ensure that loved one's are adequately cared for in the event of one's death, but also that one's estate is properly protected for in the long-term. After all, for many, their estate is their legacy.
If you're a reader of this blog, then you likely know that there are many estate planning options available to you. You can utilize a will, a trust, a power of attorney, a health care directive, or some combination of these tools. What is important is that you pursue whatever planning strategy suits your needs, as well as the needs of your estate and your loved ones. This isn't always easy to determine, though.
Competent estate planning is one of the best ways to ensure that you can provide for your loved one's after your death. This may mean setting up something basic like a will and revocable trust, or it may require more extensive documentation to ensure that all assets, identified heirs and beneficiaries, and situations are accounted for. This can be a challenging task to address, which is why it is advisable that you seek out legal assistance to develop your plan.
One of the greatest benefits of estate planning is the fact that it is a custom-tailored process that can be modified to suit your needs. Although many find great relief in the number of options available to them, others find the matter completely overwhelming. They don't know where to start when it comes to estate planning, and their fear of making a mistake paralyzes them into inaction. While the stress and fear of what may appear to be an enormous undertaking is understandable, the truth of the matter is that estate planning doesn't have to be difficult.
Figuring out how to leave assets to loved ones can be more challenging than expected. You might start out wanting to evenly divide your estate, then find yourself considering the type of relationship you have with each identified beneficiary and heir. This can be a difficult process to work through, but estate planning carries the flexibility needed to ensure that one's true wishes can be achieved.
Most estate plans leave assets to spouses and the testator's children. When multiple children are involved, a significant number of estate planners choose to distribute their assets equally amongst them. This isn't a requirement, of course, and many individuals feel justified in creating an estate plan that unevenly leaves assets to their children.
Blended families are common across Arizona. Within these families, children from previous relationships are brought into the familial fold, sometimes with open arms and sometimes with conflict. Regardless of the relationship that forms between these individuals, matters can be complicated, especially as it relates to estate planning. Those who take a basic approach to this process can find that the distribution of their assets can be complicated, which may lead to an outcome that was never intended in the first place. In other words, without competent estate planning, those who are part of a blended family may lose control over their estate and its distribution once they pass away.
Most people who engage in estate planning simply want to make sure that their loved ones are financially cared for after their passing. There are many ways to do this, of course, which is why individuals who find themselves in the midst of this process should carefully and thoroughly consider which options further their interests and the interests of their loved ones the most.
The creation of a trust can have a profound impact on its identified beneficiaries. If handled correctly, these estate planning tools can provide financial resources for years to come. The assets contained within those trusts can provide money needed for a beneficiary's education, a beloved pet's care, to further a charitable purpose, or provide a beneficiary with some extra cash to spend on whatever he or she desires. Trusts don't last forever, though, which is why this week we'll briefly look at how trusts can end and what happens when they do.
Many Arizonans share accounts with a spouse or other loved one. While these accounts can become subject to legal proceedings like divorce, they can also play a pivotal role in estate planning. Generally speaking, a jointly-held account will transfer to the other owner upon one owner's death. But what happens when that second owner passes away? Without an estate planning document to dictate that, the assets in that account may be subjected to the probate process. This can be costly, time-consuming, and leave assets vulnerable to claim by those who the deceased may not have wanted to be involved.