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Phoenix, Arizona, Business Law Blog

How should a loved one's estate be handled?

Losing a loved one is always tragic. When that happens, it can be challenging to focus on the attendant legal issues if you are a trustee or executor of the estate. One thing that can help is to have basic questions about the estate addressed.

What should I do about the will?

Estate battle between Alan Thicke's widow and sons continues

Alan Thicke was an exceptionally successful entertainer. He is remembered by millions for his portrayal of Jason Seaver, the father on the hit show Growing Pains. He played the role for seven seasons.

Thicke passed away in December 2016, and in death he is back in the news as his sons and his widow battle over his estate. That battle is taking place in the media as well as in courtrooms.

Know the role that trusts have in your estate plan

As we recently discussed, life insurance trusts serve an important purpose. These trusts can help to ensure that the money from your life insurance policy is protected from creditors and that it can be used in accordance with the schedule that you set for it. This isn't the only type of trust that you can use as part of your estate. We can help you learn about the options that might work for your needs.

When you are thinking about the trusts that you can include in your estate plan, there are several things you need to consider. One is what purpose you need the assets to serve while you are still living. Another is the circumstances that the beneficiary has that will impact the administration of the trust. For example, if the person is receiving government assistance, you should think about a special needs trust.

Protect life insurance proceeds when you pass away

You have carefully planned for what is going to happen when you pass away. You have a life insurance policy in place to help your family members handle your final expenses. What if you found out that just a simple life insurance policy might not actually benefit your loved ones? This might very well be the case.

There is a chance that your loved ones could end up with more serious issues because of the life insurance policy than what they would have had without it. This is because there are often implications that come along with receiving a large windfall.

The choices you make today affect your business's future

When starting a business, the choices that you make have tremendous impact on its future. The first major choice you will need to make concerns the type of entity that you will form. Like others who form small businesses, a limited liability company remains a popular choice.

It takes more than just filing your Articles of Organization to make an LLC work for your business in the best way possible. As you go through the following steps to form your new company, make your choices carefully and ask for guidance and assistance where needed. Consulting with an attorney could also help prevent you from making a mistake or missing a step that could end up costing you and your company in the future.

Estate administration is a complex undertaking, seek help

After a loved one's death, you have to handle a lot of things. One of these things might be the estate administration duties. If you are the person who is responsible for this, make sure that you know what you need to do because any mistakes can be rather costly.

We understand that you might need some assistance trying to find out what you need to do. The probate process can often be difficult. You have to determine what bills to pay and how you should work on finding out if all of the decedent's assets are included in the will. If there are any that are missing, you have to find those assets and determine how they should be handled.

Britney Spears finances continue under conservatorship

A court can appoint a guardian for a number of reasons, and one of those is to handle the financial matters for someone who is deemed unable to do so themselves. Often, we talk about guardianships and conservatorships related to minor children or older relatives who are incapacitated. In some cases, though, adults who are struggling with physical or mental illness might also require help. Conservatorships are one way that family can provide assistance with financial decisions and management.

A judge deemed this was the case 10 years ago when he appointed someone to oversee the financial matters of Britney Spears. At the time, the pop star was struggling with mental health issues and it was deemed that she wasn't able to make appropriate decisions about her finances, fortune and entertainment industry business matters. The judge at that time appointed Spears' father, Jamie Spears, to handle these matters.

Spring cleaning: Getting your estate in order

As frigid winter days give way to spring breezes and blossoming plants, many people traditionally take some time to clean out the old and welcome the new. For most people, spring cleaning usually takes the form of opening the home, cleaning out clutter and doing a deep clean of items that don't get everyday treatment, such as baseboards. You can turns the same attention to detail to estate planning to ensure you are prepared for the future, and spring is a great time to do it.

Begin by evaluating your current estate plans, if you have them. Has anything changed about your desires for your assets or heirs? Has something changes in your family, such as someone getting married, divorce or having a child? All of these things can be reasons to make alterations to your will, trusts or other estate documents. Just as you might make a list of all the chores you have for spring cleaning a home, make a list of things to do regarding your estate.

3 reasons estate planning is a smart move for 30-somethings

Estate planning is for everyone, not just those who are firmly established and have what is perceived as abundant wealth to share. The truth is that you probably have something you want to safeguard for your loved ones, no matter what economic stage of life you are in. For 30-somethings, estate planning should be a no-brainer; here are three reasons why.

By now, you might not be rich, but you probably have something. Whether you've bought your first home or you just really want your sister to end up with the family photographs you've collected over the years, a will could be in order. A will lets you make specific decisions about how your belongings and assets will be disbursed among your heirs. We often think about things like cash accounts and real estate in this regard, but you can also use a will to ensure family members receive items that are sentimental.

What tax benefits are available from a charitable trust?

A charitable trust, also called a charitable remainder trust, lets you leave assets to a charity of your choice after you are gone. The trust can also put some conditions on how and when those assets might be used by the trust, so you can be sure your wishes for your legacy are protected. Another benefit of this type of trust is that it can help alleviate some tax burdens. Here are three tax benefits associated with charitable trusts.

If you put property in a charitable trust, it resides in that trust even during your life. You can still use the property, depending on how you set up the trust, but when you die, it passes directly to the charity you named. That means the property is not included in your estate, so the value of the property would not be included in determining the taxable value of the estate.

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