I recently met with a couple who created their trust several years ago in another state. After they moved to Arizona, they knew that they should have the trust reviewed, but they were busy with life and trying to keep up with their grandchildren. Lately, one of their close friends passed away leaving his wife with a mess. This motivated them to come in and meet with me. What we found, while not surprising to me, was stunning to them.
Most of their assets were not in their trust! The health care documents and financial powers of attorney were not up to date or compliant with Arizona law. Their trust did not give them the significant benefits of community property, and there were no protections for the surviving spouse after the first death, or for their children after both of them pass.
Fortunately, we have been able to address these issues by creating a properly drafted Living Trust that has the benefits of all the latest law changes and planning strategies. It is important that your trust be properly drafted under current laws to provide such benefits as protections for the surviving spouse and other beneficiaries from estate taxes, capital gains taxes, income taxes, creditors, ex-spouses, bankruptcy, spend-down for long-term care, spendthrift tendencies, predators and other potential losses of the assets they receive from you. It is also essential that all your documents be reviewed to assure that your assets are properly titled to your trust.
There have been significant changes in the law that have positive and negative effects upon your estate plan. If your documents are brought current, there is much more you can do to protect your affairs than what was previously available. Ensuring that your plan is current provides not only protection, but great peace of mind that your spouse and loved ones will be properly provided for. What you have worked hard to acquire and protect can actually be received and enjoyed by those you choose.
Contributed by MH Cave Creek, Phoenix and Flagstaff Estate Planning Attorney B. West Hunsaker.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall 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. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, 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.