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What Every Senior Should Know About Estate Planning

Updated: October 24, 2022

Est. Reading: 5 minutes

Estate preparation or Estate Planning Advice for the future is essential and has a deep impact. If you don't have an estate planning document in effect when you die, the decisions regarding your property fall to state laws, which usually means that the government keeps most of your property for itself, and your family gets little or nothing. You'll be in control of who gets what of your assets if you have an estate planning document in effect. Estate planning should be taken seriously and is a legal matter. Our Sun City West estate planning attorney has the answers to your concerns.

3 Estate Planning Matters a Sun City West Attorney Can Help With

1. Will Planning

Family is the most valuable thing we have. We need to take care of them now so they can grow up safe and healthy. If you feel this way, then you should know that it's never too early for you to start designing and implementing safeguards for your family's financial security and legal issues. We're here for people of all ages and all kinds of financial situations, so we can give them the best reliable counsel to protect their assets. Helping secure a comfortable retirement and arrange for the eventual transfer of their assets to beloved relatives and friends, is important in your estate planning process. 

The firm can assist you in drafting your will or updating an existing one to include any and all significant events in your lifetime. A will is not always the most effective way to transfer wealth. We can help you choose an alternative method, such as a trust, which enables you to benefit from your wealth during your life and passes your wealth to your beneficiaries after you die in your comprehensive estate plan.

gavel on top of estate planning documents, senior should know about estate planning

2. Trusts

Trusts in estate planning can be used to protect your family from the costs and delays associated with the probate process and ensure they receive an inheritance when you die. An experienced lawyer (trust administrator) understands your situation and explains your legal rights and obligations so that you choose the option that’ll be best for you during estate planning.

1. Revocable trusts or Living Trusts: Ensures your assets go to beneficiaries while allowing you to retain some degree of ownership during your lifetime.

2. Irrevocable trust: Once established, any assets in a trust cannot be altered. Trusts are used by people who want to avoid probating their estates (paying inheritance tax) or protect them from estate taxes. A permanent transfer.

3. Charitable trusts: Funds donated by individuals for charitable purposes.

4. Life insurance trust: A way to protect yourself against probates and taxes when someone dies with a large life insurance policy.

FAQ: What are the differences between a revocable vs. an irrevocable trust in Arizona?

3. Power of Attorney

If there are situations where someone needs to be moved from one position to another temporarily or permanently, they may need to be transferred between two different jobs. A power of attorney allows you to entrust someone else with certain responsibilities regarding your health and well-being.

A principal is someone who has authority; an agency relationship exists when one party acts for another. A power of attorney can grant broad authority or be limited in scope. It can be durable—transferring authority immediately upon execution—or it can state that the authority will "sprout" when a defined triggering event happens.

Many factors need to be considered when writing a power of attorney for your estate planning. We can help you prepare for contingencies based on the specific circumstances surrounding you and your loved one. If you have legal issues, your attorney will help.

Trust Administration:

Trust administration starts when one person passes away. A person who is leaving their estate to you has given you the role of executor (the legal term for an “executor”) along with the responsibilities of managing the estate’s assets for its beneficiaries. You have control of estate assets. Following the specific requirements of the contract in the estate plan in accordance with the laws can be a complex process requiring the sound advice of an experienced estate planning attorney.

Every detail of the trust document must be carried out precisely. The estate planning was thought out thoroughly. If necessary, the trustees must use trust funds to purchase investment securities for the benefit of the trust. If the trustees owe any taxes on income from the trusts, they need to settle them before paying anything else. They also need to pay all other bills related to the trusts, including taxes, insurance, and so on. Finally, they must distribute the remaining funds to the beneficiaries. Trustees must always be aware of the terms of their assets in a trust, and they must strictly adhere to them. 

FAQ: What are the cost and fees of estate planning services in AZ?

pen and glasses on top of estate planning documents, senior should know about estate planning

Types of Power of Attorney (That Help in Estate Planning):

These types of power of attorney will be given to a qualified person to make informed decisions.

1. Financial management:  When your loved one is incapacitated, bills and taxes still come due. You need to pay for mortgages or rent. You may need to oversee certain types of investments, such as stocks, stock options, bonds, or other investments. Being able to manage your loved one's financial affairs gives you greater financial stability. If older adults tend to be forgetful or susceptible to outside influences, they may also want to consider having someone else oversee their finances.

2. Representation For Legal And Professional Matters: Small businesses and individuals involved in legal proceedings face numerous options. These choices, which must often be decided upon each day, can have serious consequences for both parties. An individual’s inability to manage his/her affairs for even a brief period of time can lead to irreparable damage. Even if an individual is not yet prepared to relinquish control of his/her personal and professional life, executing a durable general power of attorney, which takes effect should he/she become incapacitated, is a wise precautionary measure.

3. Medical decision-making authority: If a family member becomes seriously injured or sick, they may not know whether their loved one would want them to continue life support measures. When a medical crisis strikes, many families are unsure about the types of life-saving treatment the injured or ill person would have wanted. Everyone should have a medical directive describing their preferences clearly and specifying who should be responsible for carrying them out if they cannot speak for themselves. If you're concerned about your loved one's health, then you need a medical proxy. It gives you the legal authority to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated and help with end-of-life issues.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today

Estate planning is important and can be easy with the right attorney. If you need more information on estate planning services (wills, trusts, and power of attorneys) in Sun City West, contact Monahan Law Firm and set up an estate planning consultation. Monahan Law Firm's legal team will help with this legal service with effective representation to the fullest extent! Their phone number is (623) 300-2727.

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Attorney Patrick Monahan

Patrick Monahan

Patrick Monahan is the managing partner of Monahan Law Firm, PLC. Patrick began his legal career practicing real estate, construction, and general business litigation.
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