The estate planning process can be long and complicated. After all, it did take you a lifetime to accumulate your assets, so you should expect it should take a while to decide what to do with them all. Luckily, with top-notch estate planning attorneys on your side, such as Bivens & Associates in Scottsdale, we do a lot of the work for you. Estate planning, on your part, is really only about making the decisions; the legal part is left up to us. Our team is caring and compassionate, and our mission is to make your estate planning as easy as possible.
In our last blog post, we discussed the beginning steps to estate planning, namely getting a will and/or trust written and naming beneficiaries. In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few more steps in the estate planning process. Give our expert estate planning lawyers a call today for your free consultation!
MORE STEPS TO YOUR ESTATE PLAN
Establish Health Care Directives
Another often neglected part of estate planning is health care directives. It’s important to make your wishes known (and in writing) about what you would like to be done in the event you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions and/or communicate. There are several different ways you can make your decisions known:
- Medical care directive. Also known as a living will, a medical care directive states what your medical care should look like should you become incapacitated.
- Medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney designates who will be in charge of making medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. If you have a medical care directive that names a medical power of attorney, then that document is known as an advanced health care directive.
- Durable financial power of attorney. A durable financial power of attorney designates someone to handle your finances should you become incapacitated or medically unable to do so. This gives the person the ability to keep paying your bills and your taxes, as well as manage your other assets.
- Limited power of attorney. A power of attorney grants usually only one power for a short amount of time (hence the name “limited”). These are common with home closings if one person can’t be present at the signing.
Bivens & Associates in Scottsdale recommends that you choose your medical and financial power of attorney choices carefully because they will have absolute and final say should you be unable to do so. This is why there are multiple options so that you can designate different people should you so choose in case one cannot execute their duties.
Understand Tax Implications
Luckily, federal estate taxes don’t apply to many Americans because the exemption is now set at $5.49 million, which means if your estate is valued at less than $5.49 million (the amount in 2017 as this amount rises each year due to inflation), you won’t have any penalty assessed. Married couples can transfer twice the amount tax-free, and all assets left to a spouse are tax-free as well.
However, every state is different and some are different for specific situations as well. The estate attorneys at Bivens & Associates can advise you on taxes, but to be 100% sure, you’ll want to consult a CPA who knows all of the tax laws thoroughly in order to maximize the amount of money you leave to beneficiaries.
It’s a personal decision whether you want to include funeral plans in your will. Many people prefer to just tell their loved ones what they want done with their remains and for the funeral rather than go through the formality of a will. However, this means you have to trust these loved ones to do as you say.
If you own a business, you most definitely need a will if you are going to protect the hard work you’ve done throughout the years. If you are a sole proprietor, ensure you have a succession plan worked out for someone to take over in the event of your death. If you are partners in a business, it’s best to have your partners buy you out instead of trying to leave your share to someone else. For businesses, Bivens & Associates in Scottsdale implores you to put everything in writing and to do it correctly with regards to the law. Too often, verbal directives for businesses are just not followed, which can end up costing your personal family as well, especially if a lengthy court battle ensues.
Don’t Forget the Details
There is so much to remember when planning your estate, which is why it is imperative you speak to a well-versed, qualified real estate attorney or estate planning attorney who can not only get you squared away with every legality, but they can also help you remember what you are probably forgetting, such as the family dog or cat, life insurance, work policy beneficiaries, stock beneficiaries, and so much more. The nuances are many, and unless you spend considerable time learning Arizona’s entire code and laws on estate planning, you’ll most likely miss something that could be paramount.
HOW BIVENS & ASSOCIATES IN SCOTTSDALE OFFERS PEACE OF MIND IN ESTATE PLANNING
Bivens & Associates in Scottsdale offers peace of mind with our estate planning services. As you can see from above, there is a lot to think about when you pass, and it is a great help to your relatives if all of the work is done ahead of time, so they can focus on grieving instead of on probate or bickering with each other. Furthermore, you’ll know that Fido or Fluffy is taken care of should you pass, your kids will have the money they need if they are minors to get to college, and treasured mementos will go to the person who values them the most. You will have your wishes known should something happen, and you can’t speak. Your i’s will be dotted and your t’s crossed. At Bivens & Associates, we can help make your end of life go smoother for your loved ones. Call us today to get started!