The Law Offices of Kelly J. McDonald, PLLC - Probate, Elder Law, & Special Needs

estate planning Archives

Avoiding celebrities' estate planning errors

Many people in Arizona admire the artistry and creativity of former Marvel chairman Stan Lee, the co-creator of Captain America and Spider-Man. However, after the 95-year-old Lee passed away, experts are urging people not to follow in his footsteps when it comes to estate planning. It is not clear whether Lee left behind any estate documents, although he is survived by his 68-year-old daughter. He is not alone; a number of celebrities with substantial estates, like Prince and Aretha Franklin, have also died without specifying how their assets should be distributed.

Handling hard assets in an estate plan

Over the years, many Arizonans acquire property for their own personal enjoyment. Items such as jewelry, artwork or other sorts of collectibles are some examples. In some cases, these hard assets may have substantial economic value. However, their monetary worth may be unknown. During the estate planning process, these items should be treated and assessed differently than liquid assets such as cash in a bank account.

Differences between charitable and other trusts

Charitable trusts can be useful tools for estate planning in Arizona. They often convey tax incentives and other benefits to the person planning the estate. There are a few things that distinguish charitable trusts from other trusts. First, they have a charitable purpose. Charitable purposes might include advancing religion or education, combating poverty, promoting health initiatives or otherwise benefiting the public.

Kids don't need to accept a timeshare from their parents

Arizona residents who inherit assets from their parents may find that they have inherited a timeshare. However, a child may not want to be responsible for an asset that may cost up to $3,000 a month in dues and other fees. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to ensure that a child is not responsible for these payments. First, the beneficiary may submit a written document saying that he or she has no interest in the property.

How everyone benefits from estate planning

Arizona residents who don't have a spouse or kids may believe that they don't need a will. In fact, a Caring.com survey found that 78 percent of millennials don't have one. In addition to a will, a medical directive and power of attorney may also be worth having. A power of attorney allows another person to make financial and other decisions on an estate owner's behalf when he or she isn't able to. The medical directive enables a designated person to determine how an individual is treated while mentally incapacitated.

Prince, Aretha Franklin left many estate-related questions

Music fans in Arizona may have been saddened by the passing of Aretha Franklin. For her family, however, mourning may lead into what could be a big legal battle over her estate. Franklin died without a will, according to one of her lawyers.

Emergency instructions can fill an estate planning gap

Putting a comprehensive estate plan into place can provide Arizona residents with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their affairs have been attended to and their heirs will be taken care of, but documents like trusts, wills and powers of attorney are of little use in the hours and days following a tragedy. Valuable time can be lost while these documents are located, and it could be several weeks before matters such as the guardianship of young children go before the courts.

How to choose representatives of an estate

When choosing an agent, trustee or other estate plan surrogates, it is important to pick people who are qualified to act in those roles. This is true whether a person lives in Arizona or anywhere else in the country. If the wrong person is picked to serve in a given capacity, it could lead to conflicts between family members or threaten the financial security of future generations.

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