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The New Year is a Great Time to Review Your Estate Plan

By January 4, 2012Estate Planning

Happy New Year from all of us at MH! We wish you and your family a happy and prosperous 2012!

A new year always causes reflection on what happened during the past year and what the future year might bring. As a result, there is no better time than right now to also review your estate plan and to make changes based on life events in 2011 and the direction you want your estate to go in 2012.

Here are some key areas you may want to focus your attention:

  • Trustees - Do you know who you've listed to serve as your successor trustees in case you become incapacitated or pass away? This is an important decision and should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the trustees you have chosen are still capable of serving, and that they are people you trust.
  • Guardians - Have you listed individuals to serve as guardians of your children should you pass away? This is usually a very difficult choice for parents to make because they feel as though they are giving away their kids. But that is why this decision is so critical and should be reviewed often. Life circumstances change and there may be a need to change the listed guardians depending on those circumstances.
  • Beneficiaries - Whom have you listed as the beneficiaries of your trust when you pass away? Just as with the trustees and guardians, circumstances change and you want to make sure that the assets you worked so hard to acquire go to exactly the people you want. New births or recent deaths can sometimes go unchanged in your estate plan and unintentionally change your ultimate distributions.
  • Health Care Agents - You should have health care agents listed that will make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes. These agents need to be people that you trust and that you know will carry out your pre-determined health care decisions. Even if there are no changes to whom your agents are, when was the last time you reviewed your health care decisions with your agents? Now is a perfect time to do that.
  • Arizona Trust Code - If your trust was created in Arizona, make sure it has been amended to comply with the changes to the Arizona Trust Code. There are some great new laws to take advantage of and some not-so-great laws to be dealt with. An amendment to your trust, in most cases, will allow your trust to stay current with the law.
  • Trust Assets - Finally, do you know how all of your assets are titled? Take some time now to review any assets that were acquired or were changed during 2011 to make sure they are titled and designated correctly.

Make your appointment now with a MH attorney to help you with these critical decisions and issues, and to assist in making any important changes. Start the New Year off right knowing that your estate plan is exactly how you want it to be!

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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