FAQ

What is Estate Planning

Estate planning is putting your affairs in order so as to maximize the benefits that your assets can provide to you during your life and to those you desire to benefit from it after your death, ensuring your wishes are carried out.

What Does a Proper Estate Plan Include?

A proper estate plan to provide for the needs of your family may include:
»   An adequate Will or Trust;
»   A written agreement concerning the status of your assets;
»   A directive to your physician or a Durable Power of Attorney;
»   Final instructions of your preference.

When Should an Estate Plan be Reviewed?

Estate plans should be reviewed at least every two-three years at least, and every time there is a life change such as birth of a child, death etc…

Trusts — What Are They?

A trust document is an agreement between three people dealing with assets.

What Benefits Does a Trust Offer?

Trusts offer a number of important benefits:
»   Probate Avoidance;
»   Capital Gain Tax Savings;
»   Retention of privacy of family assets and finances;
»   Avoidance of conservatorship;
»   Creditor protection for your beneficiaries;
»   Control of distribution and management of assets during life and after death;
»   Death tax avoidance or reduction.

Who Can Benefit from a Trust?

Your loved ones, and the people surviving you benefit from your trust, by having all your assets mapped out, and where money goes and when etc… A Trust can be designed to meet the needs of a large or small estate. Its cost is a fraction of what the avoided probate expense or estate tax would have been.

What Happens if You Do Not Have a Will or Trust?

Simply put, it is like in divorce proceedings.  If the two people divorcing can’t mediate and come up with a plan for their debts and assets, the court decides.  For this reason more and more domestic relations law suits are being settled out through mediation, so the people have control of what happens to their assets, debts and property built together, now being severed through divorce.

When the court makes family and financial decisions for you, often times their is unhappiness on both parties that could have been avoided.

 

Death is definitely different than divorce, but if you do not have a Will or a Trust and have not used other probate-avoiding techniques, upon your death your assets will pass according to the laws of the state which has jurisdiction over your assets. The “state plan” may not provide for those you desire to obtain your assets.

 

Think about this example:  You have one child in your lifetime.  Your child then has 2 siblings, one who has had multiple struggles with theft and drugs landing him to serving a life term in prison, and your other son unfortunately killed in an auto accident.  You have no more heirs.  The state gets to decide who gets your assets according to law.  Perhaps you had a caregiver or a long term loving relationship with someone who you wanted to have all your assets?  Perhaps you wanted your son in prison to be the one?  Without having your wishes legally spelled out correctly, you have no control over state law.

Does it Really Take less Time to Settle an Estate in Which a Living Trust Was Used Rather than Just a Will?

Estates of more than $1,500,000 with a Living Trust typically take 10-12 months to settle. If just a Will were used, Probate is very often required to settle the estate and this court process will typically take 15-20 months. In smaller estates with a Living Trust, 4-8 weeks used to be typical.

Does it Really Cost less to Settle an Estate in Which a Living Trust Was Used Rather than Just a Will?

If just a Will was used, Probate Court proceedings are often necessary to settle the estate. Probate is a very formal and organized process. The more formal and organized a process, the more complicated it typically becomes and the expense usually increases accordingly.

Should I Do It Myself Without An Attorney?

Why risk it?  Pay a few more dollars, and KNOW you have proper documents that will be recognizable and binding by law.

We get asked this question sometimes, and we answer it with a question back.

 “Would you like a heart surgeon to be your doctor if you had a heart attack or a medical assistant?”

There is a reason attorneys go through so much schooling, have insurance for errors an omissions and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on education — not to mention hundreds of volunteer free internship work to gain experience.

So, or answer is hire an attorney. 

623.428.1923

What’s The Difference Between A Valid Trust and An Effective One?

A valid Trust is one which the law will recognize. Make sure your trust is written by a licensed attorney who specializes in estate planning.

My Child Is Married and I Don’t Trust His Spouse. How Can He Keep His Inheritance Out of Her Grasp Just In Case They Get a Divorce?

This is one of those tricky situations where a consultation is needed to get your full story.

Just call us and schedule 30-60 minutes with us.   623.428.1923

Should You Hire a Paralegal or an Attorney?

We get asked this question sometimes, and we answer it with a question back.

 “Would you like a heart surgeon to be your doctor if you had a heart attack or a medical assistant?”

 

There is a reason attorneys go through so much schooling, have insurance for errors an omissions and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on education — not to mention hundreds of volunteer free internship work to gain experience.

So, or answer is hire an attorney. 

623.428.1923

What Is An Operating Agreement?

A document that states how and by whom the company is to be managed.

Do I Need An LLC?

An LLC is a way to setup your business to protect your assets against potential claims against your business.  Not all businesses are candidates for the LLC structure; we can advise you what’s best for your specific situation.

What is the difference between an LLC and a Corporation?

When evaluating types of corporations, many business owners consider taxation to be the most noteworthy difference between S- corporations and C-corporations. In a nutshell, an S corp is a “pass-through” tax entity, like the LLC. In contrast, C corps are taxed as separate entities.

Is there any risks in just staying a sole proprietor?

Sole proprietor business structure is the simplest form to setup, but is does leave you open to risks.  This business structure has some benefits, but the major down side is that YOU are personally responsible for everything.

Do you charge for your first consultation?

Please call us and briefly explain your situation to determine if there will be an initial consultation fee.  Every situation is different and unique as you are, so there isn’t a blanket answer for this one.

Will my children need to pay taxes on their inheritance?

State laws are always subject to change, but as of 2017 there are only 6 states that impose an inheritance tax, and Arizona & Minnesota are not one of them. The six states that currently impose an inheritance tax are: Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Even though Arizona does not collect an inheritance tax, you may be subject to paying inheritance tax to another state.  Schedule an appointment with us to better look at your unique situation.

Is there a legal way to force elderly loved ones to give up driving or fire arms when they are becoming unable to operate them safely?

This is a tricky situation.  For the most part, it is best to just ask your elderly loved one to give up driving and any fire arms.  It is important not to take their vehicle or fire arm with expressed, written permission.  For more details on this, schedule a consultation with us.

What Is Elder Law?

Elder Law is a wide range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and other important matters.

What Is Probate?

The term “Arizona probate” means an Arizona Superior Court monitored legal proceeding by which the liabilities and probate assets of a deceased person (“decedent”) are paid and administered and the probate assets of the estate are transferred by a personal representative (called administrator, executor or executrix in other states) of the estate appointed by the Court.  A.R.S. § 14-3101.  This article is a discussion of Arizona probate law only. Probate law in other states may differ from Arizona probate law.

Is There A Way To Avoid Probate?

YES!  The most simple way in most cases is to create a Trust.  There are many options available; call us to discuss your unique situation.

Is there special papers or processes that need to be done when going through probate?

If I have a Will, is this enough to avoid probate?

Definitely not.  A will is simply your wishes, and will still go through probate to determine the legitimacy of the Will, as well as the other probate processes.  Our firm is able to create a Trust to accompany your Will, and also make sure your Will is properly created.

What is the difference between guardianship & conservatorship?

In short, a guardian is a court appointed person(s) to make decisions for another.  A conservatorship involved money transactions of that person.

How do I get help to be a legal guardian?

Our office is equipped to handle all guardianship legal issues.  If you need help with any guardianship issue, please let us help!

Can a guardian or conservator be predetermined in a trust before it is needed?

In almost all cases, a trust is able to legally declare your wishes in all things.  Please schedule an appointment with us to determine what is best for your specific situation; there are a few different kinds of trusts.

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