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With the tragic passing of one of comedies all time greats, Robin Williams, comes the realization that we are all mortal and that death is going to happen to all of us one day.

Unlike a lot of his colleagues in show business Robin Williams had a very comprehensive estate plan in place.  It is always amazing to me how private most people in Hollywood are, yet they do not take the necessary steps to keep their most intimate and private matters from public eyes when they die.

Hollywood lost two other very talented and well known stars this year in addition to Robin Williams- Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini, both of which did not plan properly and the details of their wills and who was going to receive their estates was a public affair.  Why would anyone want the general public to know the details of our most intimate thoughts and desires when we pass away?  Robin Williams certainly understood the benefit of keeping these details of his life private.  He had created multiple trusts and other necessary estate planning documents to ensure his estate would be kept private and his loved ones would receive the bulk of his estate with the least amount of expense and delay and the greatest amount of privacy.


In order to ensure that your affairs are going to be managed by whom you want and how you want, if you are incapacitated, and ensure that your estate goes to whom you want, when you want and how you want with the least amount of expense and delay and the greatest amount of privacy, when you die, you need to have the following documents in place in Arizona:

  • Last will and testament- If you have a minor child this document appoints the guardians over those minor children. This document also nominates the executor of your estate when you have passed away.
  • Living Trust- This document is used to ensure that your estate avoids the expense, delay, and publicity of a probate. The trust holds title to your assets so that when you become incapacitated or die everything is being managed how you want without the courts involvement.
  • HIPAA- This authorizes the doctors and hospitals to release your medical information to your loved ones if you are incapacitated.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney- This nominates someone to make your medical decisions for you if you cannot make those decisions on your own.
  • Mental Health Care Power of Attorney- This nominates someone to have the ability to commit you to a behavioral one health care facility. If you get Alzheimer’s or dementia this will allow your agent to get you the help you need.
  • Property Power of Attorney- This nominates someone to act on your behalf regarding your financial affairs if you are incapacitated.
  • Living Will- This lets the doctors know your end of life desires, as far as whether you want to be kept on life support or not, if you are in a persistent vegetative state.


If you have not created these documents it is imperative that you do so otherwise the courts will control these decisions for you.  If you have created these documents it is important to have them reviewed at least every three years.

Scottsdale and Glendale Estate Planning Attorney, David Eastman Contributed by MH Arrowhead, Scottsdale and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, David T. Eastman.

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 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, 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.

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