Our economy is constantly changing. While new markets emerge and old ones fade, even the way we view money is changing. Cryptocurrencies, for example, seem to be gaining some traction amongst the public. These digital currencies are not backed by banks, which means their value can rise and fall based on the value assigned to it by those in the market. This can create big swings in cryptocurrency values that could leave an individual sitting on thousands upon thousands of dollars' worth of virtual money.
A will can be a great estate planning tool that seeks to distribute assets after one's death in accordance with his or her wishes. However, the effectiveness of this document is contingent upon its validity. Last week we discussed some of the ways a will can be contested and, ultimately, found to be invalid. The invalidation of a will can have a tremendous effect on an estate, which means that those engaging in estate planning need to make sure that their legal documents are drafted carefully with an eye for every applicable detail.
Mustering the courage to confront one's own mortality and engage in estate planning is no small thing. However, merely because some words are put on paper delineating how assets are to be divided upon an individual's death does not mean that its provisions will hold up in a court of law. Although most of us hope that these matters can be resolved without heated disputes, the truth is that this area of the law can see some of the nastiest litigation. To avoid it, Arizonans need to do everything in their power to ensure that their estate plan is as legally sound as possible.
It is sometimes assumed that parents who are going through the estate planning process will divide their property equally amongst their children. However, this is not always the case, particularly when stepchildren are involved. A 2015 study circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that parents with stepchildren may be less likely to distribute property equally amongst all the than parents who do not have stepchildren.
As you get older, you may start preparing various estate planning documents. You may decide to create a trust to put aside money for your children's future or create a will to distribute valuable assets to family members. However, tangible assets are not the only thing you should be concerned with as you approach estate planning. Experts advise that you should also make a plan to handle your social media accounts and digital presence.
As parents start the estate planning process, they will often leave some money to their children in their wills. However, simply bequeathing money to your children in your will is not enough. You will need to talk to your children about how to get the money, how to minimize inheritance taxes and other inheritance issues.
Despite constant warnings from financial experts, many Arizona residents continue to underestimate the importance of an up-to-date estate plan. A recent survey found that over 50 percent of Americans do not even have a basic estate plan in place. Many of these people continue to believe that estate planning is a way to avoid taxes for those who are older and wealthy. Others refuse to think about the fact that we will all eventually face death. However, estate plans are essential for people of all ages and levels of wealth and require us to think about a variety of unlikely, and possibly depressing, scenarios.
As we begin to get older, particularly as we enter our 50s, it becomes even more important to organize our finances and prepare for the future. Drafting a will, creating a trust and drafting other parts of an estate plan require us to make sure our finances are in order. By becoming more organized we can save ourselves and our beneficiaries from a stressful situation.
As you begin the estate planning process in Arizona, it is important for you to be aware of how wills work, as they can have a major impact on your and your family's future.
Many Sun City residents assume that the only estate planning they need to do is deciding who gets the family home, or other important assets, once they pass away. While writing a will is a crucial part of the estate planning process, it is far from being the only part. In addition to dividing up your assets after death, you also need to make sure you take care of yourself while you are alive. For example, some people suffer illness or injuries that make it impossible for them to make the necessary plans.