Welcome to our members’ only website about Wills, Trusts and estate planning for Arizona residents. This site was written and created by Arizona Wills & Trusts attorneys Richard Keyt (father), JD, LL.M. (federal income tax) and Richard C. Keyt, (son), JD, MS (accounting). Membership is free for people who want to learn about Wills and Trusts and what they must do to protect their loved ones from their death or incapacity. To access this ebook called “Family Asset Protection” click on Subscribe (if you are not a member) or Login (if you are a member).
Definition of Estate Planning
Estate planning is taking steps while you are able that will allow you to: (i) control your property while alive, (ii) take care of yourself and your loved ones if you and/or your spouse (if married) become incapacitated, (iii) give what you have to who you want the way you want and when you want, and (iv) save every last tax dollar, professional fee and court cost legally possible.
Purpose of this Family Asset Protection eBook
As estate planning attorneys we have had far too many people contact us for help with the following problem caused by their parents’ or spouse’s failure to adopt a comprehensive estate plan. The most common failure to plan problems encountered to the surviving spouse and/or family are:
- Parent or spouse loses his or her mental capacity. This requires the child or spouse to file a petition with the court to appoint the spouse or child as the conservator of the incapacitated person so that the conservator has the legal power to deal with the incapacitated person’s financial affairs and assets. Legal fees can exceed $3,000.
- A loved one is in the hospital and unable to communicate and family members give conflicting healthcare instructions to the doctors. When life and death decisions must be made and the family cannot agree on what to do the doctors will require the family to get a court appointed healthcare decision maker. Legal fees can exceed $3,000.
- Children have no clue if their parent(s) adopted a Will or a Trust and they don’t know exactly what assets the deceased parent owned or who the parent wanted to inherit the assets.
- The number one biggest problem – Because the deceased did not have a Will or a Trust the inheritance laws of the state where the deceased resided at the time of death determines who inherits the deceased’s property. Far too often the state’s inheritance plan causes the wrong people to inherit the deceased person’s property. The single most important reason why all adults who have valuable property should sign a Will or a Trust is to insure that people selected by the person inherit property rather than the people selected by the state.
Our experience is consistent with the findings of a Consumer Reports study published in its February 2013 issue. The story entitled “7 Money Stumbles to Avoid” says that two of the 7 big mistakes are:
“1 Not Updating your beneficiaries . . . . Eighty percent of our survey respondents said they hadn’t created their will and other estate planning documents or updated them within the last five years. . . .
2 Withholding information from family . . . . The widow . . . realized she knew almost nothing about her husband’s business when he died, not even the name of his lawyer. . . . Our survey showed that in only 40 percent of the households did both spouses know where to find the details of financial accounts. . . . The death of spouse who controls family finances can leave survivors struggling to construct the financial puzzle. Communication between generations can reduce hassles and misunderstandings. Yet just 37 percent of respondents with adult children said they’d told their kids where to find important documents, accounts and passwords.
Why We Wrote this eBook
We wrote this eBook because we hope it will convince you to sign a Will, a Trust and ancillary estate planning documents to protect your family and loved ones from the heartache, financial problems and mental anguish that they will suffer if you do not do what you must do to protect your most valuable asset – your loved ones.
Procrastination – the #1 Reason People Don’t Protect their Loved Ones
Everybody wants to protect their loved ones and do what is best for them so the number one reason people don’t sign a Will, a Trust and ancillary estate planning documents is procrastination. We all know we will die and that if we fail to plan our loved ones will suffer. A common human trait is to avoid thinking about death. Everybody has a tendency to think “I’m not going to die soon so I’ll sign my estate plan later.” Unfortunately for over 70 percent of adult Americans they procrastinate so long that they die without ever signing a Will or a Trust to protect their loved ones. Our goals in writing this eBook is to help you overcome that natural tendency to procrastinate and to motivate you to protect your family before it is too late.
Do not let your spouse or loved one read this ebook because he or she may want you to adopt an estate plan to protect your family. One of the most common reasons a person adopts an estate plan is because of the insistence of a spouse or loved one who does not want to suffer the certain financial and mental harm that follows the death or incapacity of a procrastinator.
Take the First Step Now
To protect your family and get peace of mind call a KEYTLaw estate planning legal assistant Michelle Watkins at 480-664-7413 and schedule a free no obligation consultation with Richard Keyt (father), JD, LL.M. (federal income tax) or Richard C. Keyt, (son), JD, MS (accounting), to answer your questions and design your estate plan with a trust.