What are the advantages of a Living Trust over a Will?

A Living Trust avoids the court the court process probate and thereby reduces costs and delays for the beneficiaries. A Living Trust is a confidential document that keeps all personal financial affairs private. A Living Trust may save money on Federal Estate Taxes for some couples. A Living Trust can also protect the assets of the beneficiaries from creditors and liabilities.

What are the financial limits for probate in Arizona?

Assets that exceed $100,000 for real property and $75,000 for personal property are subject to probate in the State of Arizona.

When is my estate subject to Federal Estate Taxes?

The Federal Estate Tax exemption is $5,490,000 for 2017. Assets above these limits are subject to the Federal Estate Tax. The exemption limit is subject to change pending action by the government.

Does the State of Arizona have an Estate Tax?

The State of Arizona no longer has an estate tax.

Will my income taxes be affected by having a Living Trust?

There is no impact on income taxes by holding assets in the Living Trust.

What other documents should I have in addition to a Will or Living Trust?

Many adults will become incapacitated, either temporarily or permanently, sometime during their life. Everyone should have a Living Will, a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Mental Health Care Power of Attorney and a General Durable Power of Attorney to protect themselves in case of mental or physical incapacity. A Living Will lets you decide when you want to be taken off life support if your medical situation is hopeless. A Health Care Power of Attorney lets you decide who makes medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. A Mental Health Care Power of Attorney lets you decide who makes decisions if you are vulnerable with a mental disorder. A General Durable Power of Attorney lets you designate someone to manage your financial affairs for you in the event you are unable to do so for yourself, and helps avoid costly court-ordered guardianship and conservatorship.

How can I pass assets on to minor beneficiaries upon my death?

Minor children cannot own or how property in their names. However, a Living Trust will allow funds to be held in trust for the minor beneficiary until they attain the age of eighteen or older as designated in the trust document by the owners.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A trust that maintains assets to provide for a beneficiary’s special needs that are not being met by another financial source such as a governmental agency. A special needs trust can provide resources to ensure that a special needs beneficiary will have the assets necessary to provide for their unique care for the balance of their life.

What happens to the estate planning documents when a divorce takes place between a married couple?

The estate planning documents are no longer valid. Each party to the divorce could have new documents prepared to meet their changed individual needs.

What is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act of 1996)?

HIPAA became effective in the State of Arizona in 2004. Doctors, psychiatrists, hospitals, medical care providers and others may not be able to release confidential medical information governed by HIPPA unless you have prepared an authorization to release this information. Failure to have a properly completed release may result in delays in medical decisions and additional expenses.