Click Here to Learn How Morris-Hall PLLC is helping clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Category

Will

Phoenix trust lawyers

Do I Still Need a Will If I'm Using a Trust to Distribute My Estate?

By | Will | No Comments

Phoenix trust lawyersMany people use a Last Will and Testament to distribute their entire estate when they initially create an estate plan. As both their estate and their family grow, many choose to incorporate more comprehensive estate planning tools and strategies into their plan. For instance, they might decide to use a Trust to distribute their estate instead of a Will. If so, does that mean they no longer need a Will? The short answer is a special Will is needed even if you are counting on a Trust to distribute your estate.

Last Will and Testament Basics

A Last Will and Testament is a legally binding testament, usually in writing, that allows you to make both general and specific gifts of assets from your estate to designated beneficiaries. Those gifts are legally required to be honored after your death. Your Will also allow you to make two additional important decisions. First, you will appoint someone to be the Personal Representative, also known as the Executor, of your estate in your Will. The Personal Representative of your estate is responsible for overseeing the probate of your estate following your death. Second, you have the ability to nominate a Guardian for your minor children in your Will. Your Will, in fact, is the only opportunity you have to tell a judge who you would want to take over the care of your children if a Guardian is needed. A Will works fine to distribute a very simple and modest estate; however, if you have minor children, assets worth more then $75,000, or distinctive estate planning goals, you should consider incorporating a Trust into your estate plan as the primary vehicle by which your assets will be distributed after your death.

Trust Basics

A Trust is a legal relationship wherein property is held by one party for the benefit of another party. The person who creates a Trust is referred to as the "Trustor", "Settlor" or "Grantor." The Trustor transfers property to a Trustee, appointed by the Trustor. Almost always, the Trustor is the initial Trustee, and thus has complete control of the assets of the Trust.  The Trustee holds that property for the Trust's beneficiaries as well as invests Trust assets and administers the Trust terms according to the terms created by the Trustor.

There are several reasons why people frequently decide to use a Trust as their primary estate distribution vehicle. Under a Trust, your beneficiaries will not receive assets upon your death until they are of an appropriate age and are ready to control the assets.  Only through a Trust, and not a Will, will your beneficiaries have protection from creditors, ex-spouses, irresponsibility, and other factors that could deplete what you leave them. Another huge benefit to using a Trust to distribute an estate is that assets held in a Trust are not required to go through probate, which takes months, is very expensive, and allows the public access to all matters involved. Using a Trust to distribute your estate, however, does not mean that you no longer need a Will.

Pour-Over Will Basics

A properly drafted Trust can take the place of a Last Will and Testament regarding the distribution of estate assets; however, your estate may have some loose ends after your death for which a Will is required. Specifically, you need to include a “Pour-Over Will” in your estate plan if you decide to use a Trust as your primary distribution tool. Despite your best efforts, you might leave behind some assets that fail to make it into the Trust. Personal items, vehicles, less valuable assets, bank accounts used for day to day banking, and even valuable assets purchased just prior to your death are all examples of assets that might be inadvertently left out of your Trust at the time of your death. If they remain unaccounted for, they will create an intestate estate that requires probate. A Pour-Over Will simplifies the process and provides protection by directing all assets not already transferred into the Trust to be “poured over” into the Trust after your death. A Pour-Over Will serves as a “catch-all” tool that backs up your Trust.

Contact Morris Hall, PLLC

For more information, or if you have additional questions or concerns regarding the need for a Pour-Over Will to go along with your Trust, contact Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your free consultation today.

 

Free xml sitemap generator

Albuquerque estate planning attorney

Albuquerque Estate Planning Attorney Urges You to Choose the Right Executor

By | Will | No Comments

Albuquerque estate planning attorneyA Last Will and Testament serves as the foundation for most estate plans. When you create your Will, one of the most important decisions you will need to make is who to appoint as the Executor, known as the Personal Representative in New Mexico, of your estate. The Albuquerque estate planning attornies of Morris Hall urge you to choose the right person as your Executor when the time comes for you to execute your Will.

Understanding Probate

When an individual dies, the law requires the deceased person’s (called the decedent) estate to go through the legal process known as probate. If the decedent died testate, meaning with a valid Last Will and Testament in place, the individual named as the Executor in that Will is the person who will oversee the administration of the estate during the probate process. Probate can involve many complex legal and financial issues. If an Executor is not well versed in the law and/or the world of finance, he/she could make costly mistakes, resulting in both the loss of assets to the estate and unnecessary delays in distributing to the beneficiaries of the estate. To avoid this outcome during the probate of your estate, take the time now to learn what your Executor’s duties and responsibilities will be and then appoint the right person to the position.

Duties and Responsibilities of an Executor

An Executor has a wide range of duties and responsibilities during the probate of an estate. Some of the most common of those include:

  • Gathering estate planning documents. Your Executor may be grieving your loss; however, he/she must act quickly to prepare for the opening of probate. An original copy of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament must be located and certified copies of the decedent’s death certified ordered. Any additional estate planning documents should also be located and secured.
  • Identifying, locating, and securing assets. As soon after the decedent’s death as possible, the Executor should start identifying and securing estate assets. A preliminary decision must also be made regarding what type of probate is required – formal, informal,  or an alternative for small estates.
  • Categorizing and valuing assets. Eventually, the Executor must obtain a date of death value for all estate assets. Initially though, he/she must decide if they are probate or non-probate assets because some assets bypass the probate process entirely.
  • Initiating probate. To open the probate of an estate, the Executor must obtain a certified copy of the death certificate, a signed original copy of the decedent’s Will, and a petition to open probate. By this point, most Executors have retained the services of an experienced estate planning attorney who will prepare the necessary petition.
  • Notifying creditors and reviewing claims. Known creditors may be notified individually. Unknown creditors are notified via publication in a local newspaper. Creditors then have a statutory amount of time to file a claim against the estate. The Executor, must review all claims and approve or deny them.
  • Litigating any challenges. If a Will contest is filed, the Executor is required to defend the Will submitted for probate throughout the litigation that will follow.
  • Paying taxes. The Executor must determine if any state or federal gift and estate taxes are due from the estate and, if so, pay the tax debt out of estate assets.
  • Distributing assets. Finally, the Executor must prepare any necessary legal documents to effectuate the transfer of the remaining estate assets to the intended beneficiaries.

Choosing the Right Executor

Although it may be tempting to just name a spouse or close friend as your Executor, consider the following questions to ensure that you appoint the right person for the job:

  • Will this person be grieving your loss? If so, can he/she get a handle on that grief sufficiently to act as Executor?
  • Does the individual have a legal or financial background that might be beneficial during the probate process?
  • Does this person have the time to devote to probating your estate?
  • Does the person live too far away to be the Executor?
  • Is the proposed Executor good at conflict resolution?
  • Will the appointment of this person spark conflict?
  • Does the individual want to be your Executor? Never assume the answer to this question is yes.

Contact an Albuquerque Estate Planning Lawyer

For more information, or if you have additional questions or concerns about choosing your Executor, or you wish to get started creating your Will, contact the experienced New Mexico estate planning attorneys at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today.

estate planning lawyer

Do I Need an Estate Planning Lawyer for a Simple Will?

By | Will | No Comments

estate planning lawyerIn the age of the internet, it seems as though you can find just about anything with a few clicks of a mouse. Even “Do-It-Yourself” legal forms can be located easily on the internet. It may be very tempting to use these DIY forms to finally get started on your estate plan that you have been putting off.  After all, using a DIY form would save you money and time, right? The reality is that while a DIY Last Will and Testament form might appear to save you time and money in the short run, your loved ones are likely to pay the price in the long-run.  To help you understand why using a DIY Will form is such a bad idea, an experienced estate planning lawyer explains why you need a lawyer to help you create even a simple Will.

Why a DIY Last Will and Testament Is Problematic

With the rise of the internet, people across the world now do everything online - from communicating with far away loved ones to banking to researching concerns, issues, and facts. You can find almost anything on the internet, including DIY legal forms. Just because you can find something on the internet, however, doesn’t mean you should use what you find. This is particularly sage advice when it comes to legal forms. Consider the following common problems encountered when someone uses a DIY Will:

  • Failure to distribute the entire estate – one of the most common problems with a DIY Will is failure to distribute the entire estate. One of the primary reasons for executing a Will is to avoid the state’s intestate succession laws. If any assets are left out of your Will, however, an intestate estate proceeding will have to be initiated. Unfortunately, the language in many DIY Wills does just that – results in assets being left out, triggering the state’s intestate succession laws.
  • Out of date language or law – most DIY Last Will and Testament forms have been floating around the internet for years. Applicable laws may have changed in the interim, making some of the language in the form, or the entire form, stale from a legal standpoint. If the language used in the form is out of date it will almost certainly prompt litigation.
  • Failed interaction between documents – using a DIY Will is problematic by itself; however, most people don’t stop there. Your estate planning documents must work in harmony with each other. The more DIY legal forms you try and use together, the higher the odds are that they will result in failure because you need experienced legal advice to accomplish this.
  • Not state specific – many of the laws that govern wills and estates are state laws. For this reason, a Last Will and Testament must be state specific to ensure it will be valid. Many DIY forms, however, are generic and do not include state specific language and/or laws.
  • Improper execution – for a Will to be valid, it must be executed using the proper procedures. Those procedures vary from one state to the next. A generic DIY Will form won’t explain how you need to execute the document to comply with your state’s laws.
  • Lack of legal advice – despite assurances that some DIY legal documents come with the ability to ask an attorney for advice, there simply is no substitute for a lengthy in-person consultation with an attorney from your state who focuses his/her practice on estate planning.

How Your Loved Ones Will Pay for Your Mistake

The biggest problem with using a DIY Last Will and Testament is that you cannot “fix” the problem once it becomes a problem. Your Will, after all, doesn’t become relevant until your death. Consequently, it will be your loved ones who are faced with the problems your DIY creates. Those problems could easily lead to costly, and time-consuming litigation. That litigation might even create conflict within your family as people take sides. Of course, by then you will not be around to clarify anything or change anything in your Will. Ultimately, it will be your loved ones who pay the price for the mistake you made by not working with an estate planning attorney when you created your Will.

Contact an Arizona or New Mexico Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have additional questions or concerns about DIY estate planning forms, or you wish to get started creating your Will, contact the experienced Arizona and New Mexico estate planning attorneys at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today.

Albuquerque estate planning lawyer

Albuquerque Estate Planning Lawyer Explains Why the DIY Route is Dangerous

By | Will | No Comments

Albuquerque estate planning lawyerIn the 21st century, it can be very tempting to turn to the internet for everything, including legal forms. If you have yet to execute a Last Will and Testament, therefore, using a DIY Will you find on the internet may seem like a simple and quick solution. An Albuquerque estate planning lawyer explains why going the DIY route can actually be dangerous for your estate, as well as costly for your loved ones.

Your Last Will and Testament

If you are like most people, the foundation of your first estate plan will begin with the execution of a Last Will and Testament. Although your estate plan will likely grow as your estate and your family blossom in the years to come, for now, your Will can accomplish several important things, including:

  • Appointing an Personal Representative (a.k.a. an Executor) – after your death, your estate will likely need to go through the legal process known as probate. In your Will you appoint someone as the Executor of your estate, called the Personal Representative. Your Executor will oversee the probate process from start to finish.
    • Preventing an Intestate Estate – If you die without executing a Will, your estate will be distributed using the intestate succession laws of the state in which you are a resident at the time of death. This means the State will decide who gets your assets instead of you deciding.
    • Making gifts – you can make specific and general bequests in your Will. A specific bequest might include leaving your baseball card collection to your nephew; whereas a general bequest would be if you left your nephew half of your estate assets.
    • Nominating a Guardian – if you have minor children, your only opportunity to tell a court who you would want to have legal guardianship over those children in the event one is needed is in your Will.

Why You Should Work with an Estate Planning Lawyer When Creating Your Will

While you can, undoubtedly, find numerous DIY Will forms on the internet, the fact that they exist does not mean you should use them. Ultimately, using these forms will likely cost your intended beneficiaries far more time and money in litigation than you saved by going the DIY route. Among the many risks you run by using a DIY Will are:

  • Failed interaction between documents – using a DIY Will is problematic by itself; however, most people don’t stop there. Your estate planning documents must work in harmony with each other. The more DIY legal forms you try and use together, the higher the odds are that they will result in failure because you need experienced legal advice to accomplish this.
    • Failure to distribute the entire estate – one of the most common problems with a DIY Will is failure to distribute the entire estate. One of the primary reasons for executing a Will is to avoid the state’s intestate succession laws. If any assets are left out of your Will, however, an intestate estate proceeding will have to be initiated. Unfortunately, the language in many DIY Wills does just that – results in assets being left out, triggering the state’s intestate succession laws.
    • Not state specific – many of the laws that govern wills and estates are state laws. For this reason, a Last Will and Testament must be state specific to ensure it will be valid. Many DIY forms, however, are generic and do not include state specific language and/or laws.
    • Out of date language or law – most DIY Last Will and Testament forms have been floating around the internet for years. Applicable laws may have changed in the interim, making some of the language in the form, or the entire form, stale from a legal standpoint. If the language used in the form is out of date it will almost certainly prompt litigation.
    • Improper execution – for a Will to be valid, it must be executed using the proper procedures. Those procedures vary from one state to the next. A generic DIY Will form won’t explain how you need to execute the document to comply with your state’s laws.

Contact Albuquerque Estate Planning Lawyer

For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about creating your Last Will and Testament, contact the experienced estate planning lawyers at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today.

Phoenix estate planning lawyer

Phoenix Estate Planning Lawyer Explains What an Executor Does

By | Will | No Comments

Phoenix estate planning lawyer

A Last Will and Testament (“Will”) frequently serves as the foundation of a first-time planner’s estate plan. When you create your Will, you must nominate a Personal Representative (often referred to as an Executor) to oversee the administration of your estate.  Probate is the legal process through which this administration occurs.  The Personal Representative must open a probate with the proper court to make sure the decedent’s assets are properly identified and transferred, in accordance with the decedent’s Will, and state law. Thus, before nominating a Personal Representative, it is important to understand what responsibilities go with the job.  The duties and responsibilities of a Personal Representative include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Secure important documents. The decedent’s Will must be located and certified copies of the decedent’s death certificate ordered. Any additional estate planning documents should also be located and secured.
  • Identify and secure assets. As soon after the decedent’s death as possible, the Personal Representative should identify and secure estate assets to ensure the entire estate is accounted for.
  • Initiate probate. Probate usually occurs in the county wherein the decedent was a resident at the time of his/her death. To open the probate, the Personal Representative must obtain a certified copy of the death certificate, and a signed, original copy of the decedent’s Will. Depending on the county and state, a copy of the Will may suffice.  The Personal Representative then must petition the appropriate court to open probate and to receive his/her official appointment as Personal Representative.
  • Categorize and value assets. The Personal Representative must obtain a date of death value for all estate assets, and decide if they are probate or non-probate assets, as some assets can bypass the probate process entirely.
  • Notify creditors and review claims. The Personal Representative must notify creditors of the decedent’s passing.  Known creditors may be notified individually. Unknown creditors are notified via publication in a local newspaper. Creditors then have a statutory amount of time to file a claim against the estate. The Personal Representative must review all claims and approve or deny them.
  • Pay taxes. The Personal Representative must determine if any state or federal gift and estate taxes are due from the estate. All necessary tax returns must be filed and any tax debt owed must be paid out of estate assets.
  • Distribute assets. Finally, the Personal Representative must prepare any necessary legal documents to effectuate the transfer of the remaining estate assets to the intended beneficiaries.

Contact a Phoenix Estate Planning Lawyer

For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about appointing an Executor, contact an experienced Phoenix estate planning lawyer at Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule your appointment today.

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.

When Is the Right Time To Plan?

By | Estate Planning, Probate, Trustees, Will | No Comments

Before I answer this question, here’s a true story that was recently shared by a colleague.

John died recently at age 40. He was single and no children. John lived with his mother as her caregiver, because she had some physical challenges. John had a heart attack and was on life support at a local hospital for one week. John had no health insurance. The hospital bill was over $100,000.00. John had a 401(k) and some IRAs from his work over $100,000.00.

The hospital wants John’s mother to open an estate so they can recover whatever he had for hospital bills. John had no will, no medical directive, nothing in place. Nobody knows his computer passwords, etc.

If the 401(k)/IRAs had a beneficiary designation, such as his mom or his brothers, the retirement money would have bypassed probate and the claims of the hospital. Unfortunately, John had no beneficiary designated, so all of the accounts are going through probate where the hospital will get it all.

A simple name on the beneficiary designation would have taken care of this.

The answer is - if you are over the age of 18, at a minimum, there is simple estate planning to be done.

wendy-harn-photo  Contributed by Morris Hall PLLC Tucson and Oro Valley Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, Wendy W. Harn.

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.

 

Planning is for Everyone

By | Estate Planning, Financial Planning, Other, Planning Ahead: One Week at a Time, Will | No Comments

I have talked before about everyone having an estate.  This just means we all have something.  And once we know that we have something, then the next logical thought is that we all have something to plan for.

And you may be saying that you have your plan in place.  So I will say “Kudos!” You are better than 70% of Americans.

But what about your parents?  What about your adult children (keep in mind that “adult” is 18 years and older)?  Have you talked to them about getting their plan in place?  What about your friends and neighbors?  Don’t you want to share the relief and peace of mind you have by getting your estate properly planned?

And I know that estate planning (i.e. death and taxes) is not an easy subject.  “So, have you given any thought to dying, and the impact it will have on your loved ones?”  That sentence just does not roll off of your tongue.

But remember, everyone has an estate, so you don’t have to get into any details.  You can simply talk about how good you feel but talking with your Morris Hall attorney and getting your affairs in order.  You just need to open the door with those positive feelings.

 

Planning is for everyone.  The plan content differs by the needs and goals of the individual.  As you know, the first step is meeting with one of our attorneys.  We can’t call your parents, or your kids.  We can’t call your friends and neighbors.  But you can have them call us, and they can have what you have – a great estate plan and peace of mind.

jim-plitzContributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, James P. Plitz.

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.

 

Should You Make End-Of-Life Plans on Your Own?

By | Estate Planning, Other, Will | No Comments

Another term for an estate plan should be a “legal vault”. The legal vault should be strong and sturdy to withstand any attack that may come against it. The question becomes, is your legal vault flimsy or solid to withstand what comes its way?

For some people, establishing an estate plan appears to be straightforward, simple and not requiring the guidance of an estate planning lawyer. For others that started off with this mindset, come to understand what was once simple, has turned into a complicated mess.

As with household repairs, some repairs can be fixed by the homeowner after a quick trip to the hardware store. The same is often said of estate planning - a trip to the office supply store with fill in the blank documents can be a quick cheap fix. However, here are just a few reasons why a trip to see an estate planning lawyer would be most helpful.

  1. Customizing a will – the online template fill in the blank documents don’t give much room for adding special language. Altering a will provision could possibly invalidate the entire will.
  2. Avoiding/minimizing death, income, and capital gains taxes.An estate planning lawyer can guide you through the various estate planning options to minimize and/or avoid the death tax that could come your family’s way upon your death. For example, a Revocable Living Trust is a common tool that is crafted to fit your individual goals and needs. Also, proper planning to minimize other tax implications of income and capital gains taxes.
  3. Avoiding a living and death probate. There are two types of probate that an estate planning lawyer can help you and your family members avoid – one while you are living, but unable to make your financial and healthcare decisions; and the other after you pass away and your assets need to be distributed with the least cost and delay. An estate planning lawyer can also help you with other legal tools, such as Powers of Attorney and a Living Will.
  4. Keeping your estate plan updated with law changes. Estate planning laws are constantly changing and an estate planning lawyer will be able to share those with you as they happen. It’s important to keep your plan up to date as your life changes, but also with the law changes that occur.

 

When you think of your legal vault, consider it anonymous with your legal legacy. You have worked hard to build your legacy, and we at Morris Hall, PLLC are here to make sure it withstands any storm that may come your way.

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

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.

Life Happens… Is your plan up to date?

By | Beneficiaries, Estate Planning, Other, Will | No Comments

We have reviewed thousands of wills and trusts.  Often we find when someone creates a Last Will or Living Trust they put it in a file or on a shelf and forget about it.  Dust collects and life continues.  But what impacts has life’s movements had on your estate plan?  What about the individuals that you have listed, as a beneficiary or decision maker - Over time situations change, relationships change and people die.

I recently met with a couple that had created their Living Trust many years earlier.  They came in to meet with me about a simple change - adding a beneficiary.  As part of our normal process, while reviewing the documents I asked them about certain people named in the trust.  They were surprised at my question because some had died several years earlier.  I then joked with them that their deceased friend will have an awfully hard time serving as their successor trustee.  They had completely forgotten that they had listed their friend to manage their trust after they pass.  Together we reviewed more of their plan and found several items that needed to be updated.

 

Estate plans need to be reviewed on a regular basis.  We recommend to all of our clients that a review every three years is prudent.  Sometimes there are law changes that can significantly affect the plan or there might have been a falling out with someone that was asked to serve an important role such as a health care agent or power of attorney.

When we build an estate plan, we try to build to be as flexible as possible; trying to account for some of life’s uncertainties.  However, the plan is based on the criteria, needs and concerns at that particular point in time.  And as we know, the old saying goes…life happens.

west-hunsakerContributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Carefree, Sedona, Flagstaff and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, West Hunsaker.

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.