When accident or disability befalls somebody who is married, the court generally appoints that person’s spouse to make his or her important medical and financial decisions. When there is no spouse, however, and the person has not left any direction, courts are left to make this appointment based on statutory presumptions about the person’s family relationships. And, it is often the case that the person to whom the court gives this authority is not the person best suited for the job. As such, an important part of estate planning for single individuals is designating somebody who can handle their affairs in the event they become incapacitated.
Married Couples with Children
As couples begin to have children, it becomes increasingly important for them to have an Arizona estate plan in place. However, just because children are involved, this does not mean there is a uniform approach to estate planning. Rather, in addition to considering their children’s needs, couples must also consider their position in life, as well as their financial circumstances, when developing a suitable estate plan. Ultimately, couples with children must consider many of the issues that those without children consider, but with the added concern of their children’s well-being.
Married Couples without Children
Like single people, it is not uncommon for married couples without children to overlook estate planning. A reason for this is that many people believe that even without any formal planning, their marital property will automatically transfer to their spouse in the event of their death. Even with property transferring to a spouse, however, there remains much that married couples should have in place to protect one another should the unexpected arise.
Developing a successful business takes too much hard work and devotion to neglect business succession planning. Business owners need to thoughtfully prepare a plan that ensures their business maintains its vision and continues moving in the right direction after they are gone. Whether this is by keeping the business within the family’s control or by passing the business to a trusted associate, business owners have a lot to consider when making these plans.
A Family Member with Special Needs or Incapacitated
Families have unique considerations to make when a child with special needs is involved. This is particularly true when it comes to leaving an inheritance to a child with special needs. Although one may think that leaving an inheritance to a special needs individual could do nothing but help that person, the truth is that even a well-intentioned gift can have negative repercussions. Most people with special needs receive public benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid. These programs are needs based, which means that only those with limited resources and income qualify. Although limited earning capacity sometimes causes people with special needs to qualify for these programs, receiving an inheritance could very well disqualify them for the assistance upon which they depend.
Although many people think of estate planning as deciding to whom their assets will go after they are deceased, a big part of estate planning also involves making decisions about how financial and medical affairs should be handled in the event of incapacity. Somebody who has not made these types of plans could be left with no say over their financial or medical decisions in the event of a serious accident or illness.
Second Marriages and Blended Families
With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, estate planning for second marriages and blended families has become an increasingly important issue. This type of planning can be difficult for couples because not only must they determine how to transfer their property to children they have together, but they must also determine how to divide marital property between their children from previous marriages. A big part of this type of planning is taking care not to offend their separate children, or make them feel like they are of secondary importance to a new spouse or their half-siblings. Fortunately, there are a variety of legal tools available to help parents in blended families make suitable arrangements.
Additional Estate Services for Assets
- Less than $500,000
- Less than $1,000,000
- Less than $10,000,000
- in Excess of $10,000,000 and Philanthropic Desires
Find out more about our consultations here.
Call Arizona Estate Attorney Dave Weed at (480)467-4325 to discuss your case today.
Schedule Your Consultation
Fill out the form below to get your consultation and discuss your best legal options.