7 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

Your estate plan is not a “set-and-forget” kind of strategy. There are certain life events and circumstances that warrant your updating this important set of documents.

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Planning for our own death is not something that tends to thrill most of us. It is difficult to face our own mortality.

What is Estate Planning?

What comes to mind when you see the words estate planning?

Informal Probate – Administration of Estates Outside of Court

In many cases, probate is a quick and efficient way to transfer the assets of a person who has died (the “decedent”) to his heirs. About 10,000 probate cases are filed each year in the state of Arizona.

Special Purpose Trusts – 2 Most Common Forms

A trust is a legal entity that is created and holds title to assets during the life of the person who places assets inside the trust

Conservatorships – Acting as a Trustee of Another Person’s Property

A conservatorship proceeding may be started by an elderly person who desires protection of his or her property.

Guardianships – Responsibility for Welfare of Another

A guardian is a person appointed by the court to guard the health, safety and welfare of another.

Gifts to Minors and Simple Transfer of Property

A gift to a minor may consist of stock, money, ownership of a life insurance policy or annuity contract, a right to future payments under a contract, an interest in real estate, or a certificate of title to a vehicle.

Lifetime Gifts – Property and Real Property

Gifts of property may be made by a person during his or her lifetime, or after their death.

Ways to Take Title to Real Estate in Arizona

Arizona is a community property state. Property acquired by a husband and wife is presumed to be community property, unless legally specified differently.

How to Manage Estate and Gift Taxes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect on January 1, 2018, increased the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax exemption amounts to nearly $11.2 million for an individual, and $22.4 million for a married couple, from $5.49 million and $10.98 million, respectively, in 2017.

Organ Donation – How to Make Your Desires Known

In Arizona, every person is eligible to be an organ donor; there are no age or physical limitations.

Living Wills and How to Guide Health Care Treatment Decisions

A living will is a written statement by a person intended to guide or control the health care treatment decisions that can be made on his behalf.

Health Care Directives in Arizona

Health care directives constitute an important part of any comprehensive estate plan. Every person implementing an estate plan in Arizona should give serious consideration to executing one or more health care directives.

When is it Allowed to Delegate Parental Powers?

A parent cannot delegate his or her parental powers by a power of attorney for longer than six months, but there is no limitation on the number of powers of attorney that they may execute.

Durable Powers of Attorney in Estate Planning

A durable power of attorney is an important component of any comprehensive estate plan.

Ways to Avoid Probate Through Beneficiary Deeds

A deed is a legal document that transfers an interest in real estate to another person. Anyone who owns a house acquired title to it by a deed.

When Can Bank Accounts be Transferred Outside of Probate?

On the death of the sole party or the last survivor of two or more parties in an account with a pay on death designation, the sums on deposit belong to the surviving beneficiary or beneficiaries.

What are Small Estate Affidavits and When Are They Used?

It is possible to avoid probate entirely in small estates by the use of affidavits to collect the property and assets of the deceased person.

Allowances and Exempt Property When It Comes to Inheritance

For a decedent who was not domiciled in Arizona at the time of death, the allowances are governed by the law of the decedent’s domicile at death.

Disinheritance: What If You are Left Out of the Will?

The principal protection of a surviving spouse against disinheritance is his or her share in the community property.

Rules for Determining Heirs in the Absence of a Will

These rules apply in cases where the deceased person fails to leave a will or where not all of the decedent’s assets are disposed of by the will.

What is Probate and What Can You Expect?

The term “probate” refers to the legal procedure for the administration of a deceased person’s estate. In many cases, probate is a quick and efficient way to transfer the assets of a person who has died to his or her heirs. 

How to Settle a Trust After Death

Settling a living trust means administering and managing the trust according to the terms of the document. The person responsible for settling a trust is either the surviving trustee or the successor trustee.