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Living Will

Five Estate Planning Strategies in COVID-19’s ‘Brave New World’

By | COVID-19, Estate Planning, Living Will, Preparedness | No Comments

Five Estate Planning Strategies in COVID-19’s ‘Brave New World’

 The sudden shock of COVID-19, social distancing, and sheltering-in-place has forced many individuals to review and address situations rarely discussed or considered, and new unthinkable realities.  While many older folks have dealt with such matters, many of us have been very fortunate in that we’ve never had to deal with sudden traumatic illness, sheltering-in-place, and increased isolation from family, friends, and neighbors. 

Many people are reaching out to us to implement estate plans they put off finalizing in the last year.  Some folks are calling to review and update their existing plans and others are calling to create estate plans they should have started years ago, motivated by the COVID-19 crisis. 

What many people don’t know is that attorneys are actively offering innovative solutions for clients to devise and implement a plan to provide peace of mind for clients and their loved ones.

Here are five things you should know to act now:

1. Use your time wisely

With so many people sheltering-in-place, it’s likely you have time to consider some of the critical issues you’ve set aside, such as who would you want to make financial or medical decisions if you fell ill and were unable to make your own? 

2. You can do estate planning from home

While you might be sheltering-in-place and unable to physically meet your attorney, you can still plan. Many attorneys working remotely are happy to consult via email, telephone, or video.  Attorneys can prepare documents and send them for your review via email, mail, or tracked delivery such as FedEx or UPS.

3. There’s more than one way to sign your estate plan documents

There are flexible and creative options to execute your estate plan documents.  Here are some ways attorneys are providing signing services while protecting clients and their team while following local social distancing guidelines:

  • Where appropriate, clients may execute their estate plan at the attorney’s office by wearing gloves and masks in a designated “clean” room;
  • Execute  estate plan at your home while wearing gloves and masks;
  • “Drive-up” signing allows you to sign your estate plan documents while sitting in your car.
  • Estate plans may be emailed to client to print and sign in their own home in the presence of a mobile notary.

4. Notaries for wills and trusts are not always required

Many state statutes may not require notarization to create a valid will or trust, even though it is common practice.  For example, in Arizona, a ‘paper will’ is valid if it is witnessed by two people.  Arizona also allows ‘holographic wills,’ which are unwitnessed wills whose material provisions and signature are in the testator’s handwriting. Although it is always advisable to have estate planning documents notarized, it is important to understand your options in case of an emergency.

5. Online notarization may be an option

Online notarization is a very new concept. Most states do not allow for online notarization.  Arizona now allows for online notarization, as of April 10, 2020.  In response to COVID-19’s sheltering-in-place and social distancing realities, some states may allow for temporary electronic notarization of documents during the pandemic. Check your jurisdiction for rules governing online notarizations.

Hopefully, this “Brave New World’ is temporary, and we can all get back to our regular lives.  Reach out to your attorney about how you can enact estate planning during this time.  At the very least, your plan’s documents can be ready to sign once sheltering-in place restrictions are lifted.

Bill is admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, and before the United States Tax Court.

5 Most Common Estate Planning Errors

By | Asset Protection, E-Alert, Estate Planning, Healthcare documents, Living Will, Pour Over Will, Will | No Comments

Most families don’t receive their wealth through inheritance or winning the lottery, but rather through years of hard work and sacrifice. However, it always amazes me that although everyone understands that we are all going to die, a vast majority disregard estate planning completely.

Here are five common estate planning mistakes that can ruin the legacy that you have worked so hard to build.

1.  No Will.  Approximately 70% of Americans do not plan at all, and therefore die ‘intestate’. Depending on which state you live in, dying without a Will could unfortunately cause your estate to pass to people that you wouldn’t have chosen.

2.  Failing to update your estate plan.  Too often, people that have an estate plan allow their plan to collect dust on a shelf. The plan is forgotten. Life changes such as divorce, deaths and births can have a significant impact on one’s original choices. For example, when you create a Will and leave everything to your spouse, you don’t anticipate a future divorce where your hard earned funds could go to the ex-spouse’s new family. Depending on the state, this could happen. An estate plan should be reviewed every 2 years to ensure that your choices are up to date with life’s changes.

3.  Unrealistic view regarding beneficiaries.  Every person should ask themselves if their chosen beneficiaries will be mature enough emotionally and financially to handle a pot of cash. Are they a spendthrift? Do they have a drug problem or gambling issues? If there is any doubt now, your estate plan can take these issues into account and protect your beneficiaries from themselves.

4.  Inadequate estate plan.  Some families begin estate planning with a simple Will; however, as years go on and assets are accumulated, the Will may not be the strongest tool. A properly drafted Revocable Living Trust will allow for the avoidance of a living and death probate, restrictions on spendthrift beneficiaries, and asset protection and a minimization of tax issues.

5.  Failure to change Personal Representative and/or Trustee.  Sometimes those we name in fiduciary roles may no longer be the best choice. Our relationships with these folks may change over time, or they may move out of state. Reviewing your plan every 2 years is essential to ensure that your choices are the best they can be.

Wendy-Harn-PhotoContributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Tucson, Oro Valley and Green Valley Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, Wendy W. Harn.

About Morris Hall, PLLC:
At Morris Hall, PLLC we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 45 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. We have offices throughout Arizona and New Mexico.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Children over 18? Parents Can No Longer Make the Decisions

By | E-Alert, Estate Planning, Living Will, Other, Uncategorized | No Comments

Does a parent have the automatic right to make the decisions for their children over eighteen (18) years of age?

In the past two weeks, I met with two families to assist them in their estate planning options. There was a common theme – each family thought that their children (all over 18) didn’t need their own individual planning because the parents would be able to  be in charge should the need arise.

Let’s take an example to illustrate:  Betty’s eighteen year old son, Sam, was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him unconscious and in a coma.  Can Betty legally make Sam’s healthcare and financial decisions now that he is unable to? No, Betty would legally be unable to do so just because she is Sam’s mother. If Sam had created Healthcare or Financial Powers of Attorney nominating Betty as his primary agent, then Betty would have the appropriate authority. However, the fact that Betty is Sam’s mother doesn’t give her an automatic right to make Sam’s decisions when he is unable to do so.

In our example, if Sam had not created Powers of Attorney, Betty would have to initiate a Guardianship/Conservatorship at the courthouse. This type of proceeding is called a Living Probate, and is very expensive, time consuming and can be humiliating.

And yet another more common example:  Susan and Bill’s eighteen year old daughter, Jill, is about to graduate from high school, and heading off to college in a few months. Will Jill’s parents be able to get access to her medical records should Jill end up at the hospital while away at school? Will they be able to tell the doctor which procedures to do on behalf of Jill? The answers are “No.”

In this common example, Jill is considered an adult, and must designate in writing who can step in and receive her health information or make her health decisions. If she does not do so, and becomes incapacitated, her parents will have to go to court to initiate a Guardianship/Conservatorship.

We can avoid this unnecessary cost and humiliation during our life. How? If you are over eighteen years of age, you need a properly drafted Healthcare Power of Attorney, Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Authorization to Disclose Health Information (HIPAA) which nominates an individual(s) chosen by you, not the court, to get access to and handle your medical decisions should you become incapacitated.

 

Wendy-Harn-Photo  Contributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Tucson, Oro Valley and Green Valley Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, Wendy W. Harn.

About Morris Hall, PLLC:
At Morris Hall, PLLC we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 45 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

 

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish; Doing Your Estate Plan on the Cheap:

By | Attorney David Eastman, Estate Planning, Living Will, Other, Preparedness | No Comments

Most of us work very hard to accumulate our nest eggs. Sacrifice of time and energy, is often made to acquire the assets that we have. To ensure that these hard earned assets will be distributed where we want, how we want, and be managed by whom we want, it is critical to have the necessary legal documents in place.

To save a few bucks, people often look to “do-it-yourself” software programs to create their personal estate plans. Be very careful of these shortcuts. As the old adage states: Penny wise, pound foolish. Don’t work your whole life acquiring your nest egg simply to leave it to chance that everything will work out when you are incapacitated or dead.

A 2011 ConsumerReports.org article described that after testing LegalZoom estate planning documents and other software programs similar to LegalZoom, it was determined that “…unless your needs are very simple - say, you want to leave everything to your spouse with no other provisions - none of them are likely to meet your needs.” Consumer Reports found issues throughout the LegalZoom documents and found them unsatisfactory to use in most instances.

Preparing one’s own estate planning documents through an online legal document service can be a risky proposition. Estate planning has many nuances. It often addresses complex and technical points of law, and covers a broad range of issues even if a person does not have substantial assets. As stated in the disclaimer on its website, LegalZoom and its services are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney; it does not apply the law to the facts of a particular situation, and the information on its website is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.

An experienced estate planning attorney adds significant value to the process to help ensure that a costly mistake, which may not be discovered until a crisis develops, doesn’t occur. A qualified attorney stays current on developments in the law, which helps ensure the plan is current and drafted effectively, and meets the individual’s objectives and needs.

Developing a relationship with a good estate planning attorney allows you to have a trusted advisor who can provide guidance on your most important lifetime decisions and to assist your family when you are gone.

dave-eastmanContributed by Phoenix, Arrowhead and Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney, David T. Eastman.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall, PLLC Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Why You Need a Living Trust

By | Beneficiaries, Death Probate, Estate Planning, Healthcare documents, Living Will | No Comments

This is the second piece of a four-part series on why you need a living trust.  As mentioned in my previous blog, I recently read an article from a well-known business publication that provided four reasons why you don’t need a living trust.  The second reason provided by the publication is:

~ Probate doesn’t have to be a nightmare ~

The article points out that many states have streamlined processes for small estates.  In addition, the article states that probate can be beneficial because the process is monitored by the court, which helps ensure that the executor is following the provisions of the will.

Although probate can be streamlined, that is only true for a minority of cases. Many states don’t offer a streamlined process, and others consider a “small estate” to be a total estate value of $5,000 to $10,000.  The truth is - probate is most often a nightmare.

Here are a few disadvantages to probate that the article fails to mention:

  • Probate is expensive. Probate can cost up to 4% to 5% of the gross estate. For example, if you have a house worth $400,000, with $200,000 left on the mortgage, the attorney will base the fee on the $400,000, and not consider there is only $200,000 worth of equity in the home.
  • Probate is public record. This means anyone can view your probate file and have access to your personal information.
  • If you live in a state that has a streamlined process (say with a $100,000 probate threshold), but you own a $75,000 asset in a non-streamlined state that has a $50,000 probate threshold, you will be required to open a probate in the non-streamlined state.
  • If your designated beneficiary is a minor, or is declared mentally incapacitated at the time of distribution, a conservatorship will be required to determine who will manage the beneficiary’s inheritance until the beneficiary is no longer a minor or regains capacity. Upon the minor turning an adult, which in many states is 18 years old, the conservator will have to release the money to the child. Having an 18 year old manage even a small amount of wealth could be problematic.
  • The probate process is monitored by the probate court, but it is also influenced by the court’s schedule; meaning, if the court’s calendar is heavily booked, then you may be waiting a long time for the probate to close. Many probates can take up to 18 to 24 months to complete.
  • More often than not, in a probate proceeding, it means that your loved ones will receive their inheritance as an outright distribution. This means their inheritance will not have any protection from future divorces, creditors, bankruptcies, or taxes. Most of us have worked too hard, sacrificed too much, worked endless hours to see our legacy destroyed or wiped out by leaving everything we have to those we love without any protections. With a living trust, not only can you avoid probate, but you can also ensure that your loved one’s inheritance will be protected after you are gone.

The above examples are just a few of the disadvantages of a probate.  A properly drafted revocable living trust can prevent all of the above-listed disadvantages. Before deciding on whether to create a will or a living trust, contact a qualified estate planning attorney who can help assess what estate planning method is right for you.

darren-richardson  Contributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Darren L. Richardson.

Why Choose Morris Hall, PLLC:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, Morris Hall is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only three firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with Morris Hall.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

 

 

 

Tom Brokaw’s Living Will:

By | Attorney David Eastman, Guardianship, Healthcare documents, Living Will | No Comments

The purpose of this blog is to recommend every American to outline directives for doctors to follow if they were ever in a Terry Schiavo situation.  If you are unfamiliar with the Terry Schiavo case, a quick summary here will suffice:

 

Terry Schiavo suffered a cardiac arrest in her home in Florida in 1990.  She suffered major brain damage as a result. Her doctors diagnosed her as being in a persistent vegetative state. From 1998 to 2005, her husband and parents engaged in a fierce legal battle over whether to keep her on life support or not.  The legal fees to settle this matter were in excess of $1 million. Finally, on March 18, 2005, after 14 appeals and numerous motions, petitions, and hearings in the Florida courts; and after five suits in federal district court; struck down legislation by the Supreme Court of Florida; enactment of federal legislation (the Palm Sunday Compromise); and four denials of certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States, the feeding tubes were removed.

Everyone in a persistent vegetative state should have the right to decide how they want their life to end.  We should never have the courts or the government interfering with this life decision.  The best way to insure that your wishes will be carried out, should you be in a Terry Schiavo situation, is to have a Living Will in place.

A Living Will is a physician’s directive that tells doctors whether you do or don’t want to be kept on life support if you are in a persistent vegetative state.  A Living Will would have prevented the courts and government from meddling in Terry Schiavo’s personal matters, had a Living Will been prepared prior to her cardiac arrest.

 

Once you have created your Living Will, it is critical to then talk to your loved ones about your wishes and how you want those wishes carried out. It is also vital that your loved ones know where your Living Will and other estate planning documents are kept. In an article titled, Do Your Clients Have the Same Problems as Tom Brokaw?, Randi Siegel, President of DocuBank, talks about where and how these documents should be kept so they can be accessed by your loved ones in times of emergency.

To be kept on life support is a personal decision.  It is a decision that you should make while you have the mental capacity to make such decisions; it should not be made by some government official or judge. Please take the time to have this important document created for you and your loved ones.  Please call us to schedule an appointment so we can create a living will for you and your loved ones.

dave-eastmanContributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Arrowhead, Scottsdale and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.

Why Choose Morris Hall, PLLC:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, Morris Hall is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only three firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with Morris Hall.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

The King’s Estate – B.B. King, That Is

By | Estate Planning, Estate taxes, Guardianship, Healthcare documents, Living Will | No Comments
SAN RAFAEL, CA - FEBRUARY 26: B.B. King performs at Marin Center on February 26, 2014 in San Rafael, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)

SAN RAFAEL, CA - FEBRUARY 26: B.B. King performs at Marin Center on February 26, 2014 in San Rafael, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Even before blues legend B. B. King passed on May 15, 2015 at the age of 89, dark clouds hung over his estimated $10 million estate.

King is survived by eleven of his children, though King granted Power of Attorney to his longtime business manager, Laverne Toney.  About a month ago, one of King’s daughters, Patty King, filed elder abuse charges against Toney.   Ms. King alleged her father needed medical attention and pleaded with Toney to have her father taken to a hospital.  When Toney allegedly refused, police and paramedics were called to the scene..

Three of King’s children, Patty King, Karen Williams, and Rita Washington, had previously filed elder abuse and robbery charges against Toney back in November, claiming Toney had appropriated $20-30 million from their father, had been withholding his medication while on tour, and stolen several Rolex watches and other jewelry valued at $250,000; those charges were ultimately dismissed by the court.

Shirley King, another of King’s daughters, has taken to Facebook throughout this ordeal to publicly voice her outrage at Toney for his poor treatment of her father and allegedly keeping friends and family from seeing King in his final days.

Toney maintains that all of these claims against him are false, the desperate attempts of King’s children to dog-ear as much of their father’s money and future music royalties for themselves.

This is not the legacy that most of us hope to leave behind, and Mr. King’s Estate has not even been opened yet.

There is no amount of fame or money that can protect us from the issues that can arise around the settling an estate. Millions of dollars and good intentions cannot take the place of good, thorough estate planning.  Creating an estate plan can be an uncomfortable thought experiment that many avoid until it is too late.  Plus, once we begin creating an estate plan, many select their agents for Powers of Attorney or Executors based on our current predicaments – when we are able-bodied, in control of many of our affairs, and perhaps have not fully considered whether those we have selected will continue to honor our wishes and best interests when we are no longer there to watch over them.  The simple truth is that it can be hard for all of us to imagine the world without us in it.  Proper consideration and a thorough estate plan can help to minimize these sorts of ugly exchanges among your loved and trusted ones, if not prevent them altogether.

For once we pass, our plans are set in stone, and at that point, as the song goes, the thrill is gone.

 

Contributed by Morris Hall, PLLC, Heidi Harris.

 About Morris Hall, PLLC:
At Morris Hall, PLLC we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 45 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

 

 

7 REASONS ESTATE PLANNING IS BENEFICIAL FOR EVERYONE

By | Attorney David Eastman, Estate Planning, Estate taxes, Living Will, Other | No Comments
  1. Estate planning for your potential disability. If you were to become disabled, what would your family do? In the absence of an estate plan, your family members would be required to go to court in order to have you declared incompetent and to appoint a conservator/guardian. However, a Living Trust with proper health care documents provides for this possibility without court involvement.
  2. Estate planning will help you avoid Probate. Probate is the court process that proves the Will, if any, is valid and carries out the instructions of the Will. Probate is often costly and time consuming. It is also a public process that allows anyone to know of your financial affairs and subjects your heirs to possible predators. With a Living Trust your assets are kept out of Probate and provides an efficient private way to transfer assets to those you love upon your death.
  3. Estate planning will protect your assets from creditors. If your assets are transferred to your loved ones outside of a Living Trust they cannot be protected from the loved ones creditors. If, however, the assets are transferred through a Living Trust, in the form of a beneficiary trust, the creditors of your loved ones will not be able to access the inheritance.
  4. Estate planning instills your values to your descendants. This is one aspect of estate planning that many people to not even consider, yet it is very valuable. Even though you are gone, a Living Trust will provide a way for you to keep your values alive. For instance, if you want your loved ones to receive a college degree you are able to provide assets in the trust for this purpose. You may also allow them to receive their inheritance upon completion of their education or deny them their inheritance if they don’t get a college degree.
  5. Estate planning helps to minimize taxes. Although currently less than 1 percent of people in the United States die with a taxable estate, a good plan will help to avoid paying more in taxes than you owe.
  6. Estate planning will protect your assets from Long Term Care. Provisions in the Living Trust will allow for planning to take place to avoid having to spend down your entire estate before you qualify for public benefits coverage.
  7. Estate planning will provide divorce protection for beneficiaries. Your Living Trust will provide protection for your loved ones in the event they get divorced.  This will ensure that your hard earned assets do not go to some future son/daughter-in law.

Scottsdale and Glendale Estate Planning Lawyer David Eastman - VA Accredited AttorneyContributed by MH Phoenix, Arrowhead and Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

 

You have an 18 year old? Now What!

By | Estate Planning, Healthcare documents, Living Will | No Comments

Does a parent have the automatic right to make the decisions for their children over eighteen (18) years of age?

This past week I met with three new families to assist them in their estate planning options. There was a common theme – each family thought that their children (all over 18) didn’t need their own individual planning because the parents would be able to  be in charge should the need arise.

Let’s take an example to illustrate:  Betty’s eighteen year old son, Sam, was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him unconscious and in a coma.  Can Betty legally make Sam’s healthcare and financial decisions now that he is unable to? No, Betty would legally be unable to do so just because she is Sam’s mother. If Sam had created Healthcare or Financial Powers of Attorney nominating Betty as his primary agent, then Betty would have the appropriate authority. However, the fact that Betty is Sam’s mother doesn’t give her an automatic right to make Sam’s decisions when he is unable to do so.

In our example, if Sam had not created Powers of Attorney, Betty would have to initiate a Guardianship/Conservatorship at the courthouse. This type of proceeding is called a Living Probate, and is very expensive, time consuming and can be humiliating.

We can avoid this unnecessary cost and humiliation during our life. How? If you are over eighteen years of age, you need a properly drafted Healthcare Power of Attorney, Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA which nominates an individual(s) chosen by you, not the court, to get access to and handle your medical decisions should you become incapacitated.

Morris Hall Can Protect You in Today’s Litigious Society:
We live in a litigious society, where over 1 million lawsuits are filed every year in America alone.  Financial predators are looking for ways to take funds from others and often use litigation as their means to do so.  At Morris Hall we provide your assets and your loved ones with important protections that can prevent financial predators from taking advantage of you.  We do this through proper and current estate planning techniques.  With an MH living trust, we can also protect your property, assets and loved ones from probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, creditors, Medicaid spend-down, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings, ex-spouses and more.  A living trust also keeps your asset and beneficiary information private and secure to avoid giving financial predators information to use against you and your family.  Without a living trust, this information will be made public.  For those living in Arizona, we serve the areas of Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Sonoita, Arrowhead, Avondale, Goodyear and Tempe.  In New Mexico we serve the areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences and more.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment with an attorney in your area!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation

Same-Sex Marriage Update

By | Estate Planning, Estate taxes, Living Will, Other | No Comments

The U.S. Supreme Court appears to be staying away making any decisions regarding same-sex marriages. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from the Circuit Courts in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. These 5 states have now been added to the list of states allowing same-sex marriage. It is estimated that approximately 54% of the country lives in one of the 30 states and the District of Columbia which allow same-sex marriage. However, the list will likely continue to grow in the hours, weeks and months to come.

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington (state)
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

 

Why Choose Morris Hall:

You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation