Phoenix Estate Planning | Never Too Early
Many of us don’t like to spend a lot of time thinking about the end of our lives. We prefer to think of passing away as being something that is going to happen in the far future. Admitting the need for a plan means we are admitting to our own mortality. But the thing is, our mortality is no secret. If you own anything at all or have loved ones you want to continue caring for, it is never too early to start thinking about Phoenix estate planning.
What’s Involved in Estate Planning?
- Writing a will. The first step in Phoenix estate planning for many people is to write out a will. Eventually, it should be a document dividing your possessions that is signed by witnesses, but it can start off as a list. Think of things that are valuable to you both monetarily and sentimentally. Think of the people you value as well, and match what is most important with who is most important. Think about charities you want to support, messages you want to leave behind. Ultimately, your estate plan is a reflection of who you are and what you represent.
- Setting up beneficiary accounts. If you are married, some of your accounts may automatically transfer to your spouse at the time of your death. But it is possible that others may not. There’s also a chance that you will want to leave something to other relatives such as children, grandchildren, or siblings. However you prefer to divide your estate, you should retain as much control as possible. One way to set things in that direction is by designating a beneficiary on savings or investment accounts or even life insurance policies. With beneficiary accounts are set up, it defines a bit more of how your estate will be divided, and those parts will not need to be sorted out in probate. If some of your assets might go to a minor child or young adult, you may want to set up a trust that will disperse the assets in a way that they will be mature enough to handle. Even if you imagine that the children in your life will be grown long before you pass away, be prepared for the possibility that the unexpected may happen. As long as you are alive, you can change your mind as many times as you want.
- A Revocable Trust. A revocable trust is a popular Phoenix estate planning tool. This basically transfers any significant assets that are in your name into the name of your trust. Most people make themselves the trustee of their estate so that most of the business they conduct is practically the same. Within the revocable trust document, they also name a successor trustee who will take over control of the trust after they pass away. In addition, many of these trusts also set up a health care proxy and/or durable power of attorney who will take over managing their health care decisions or financial decisions if they become incapacitated. They can also set up guardianship plans for minor children. In many cases, it is easier to navigate through a revocable trust. Any terms you dictate can be revised throughout your life. Wills are less flexible, and often changing a will means preparing a whole new document.
Phoenix estate planning often affects a person’s finances in their life, as well as how things play out after they are gone. Some actions, such as making charitable contributions, can make a difference in how much money is taxed. Having a Phoenix estate planning attorney help with setting up an estate plan can help you make smart choices that will assure that more of your estate will go to the people and causes that are most important to you.
Because tax laws change frequently on both the state and federal levels, it can be a great benefit to work with an attorney at May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie on your trusts and estates. We keep careful track of what is going on in these areas and are prepared to advise you of your options. In some cases, we may even help you remember aspects of your estate plan you had not yet considered. Getting your affairs in order shouldn’t be reserved for your last days. Contact us for a consultation on planning your estate today.