By Libby Banks,
The Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC
Valentine’s Day is February 14. It started long ago as a Roman festival and was later converted to St. Valentine’s Day by Pope Gelasius around the end of the fifth century. Much later, in the 14th century, it came to be celebrated as a day of romance.
These days, we also give gifts to other family members we love to let them know just how dear they are to us. One way to show our family we love them is to get a will or trust in place. A proper estate plan makes it much easier on your loved ones if you become incapacitated and when you are no longer here. Without a proper estate plan, you may leave a gigantic mess. Your family will have an expensive and time-consuming ordeal ahead of them, and worse, they may end up fighting.
Having a proper plan means you avoid some of these big mistakes:
Not having a plan: This seems obvious, but it is the number one mistake made by 60 percent of Arizonans. If you don’t have a plan, don’t worry. The state of Arizona has one for you, but it may not be what you want. Put your own plan in place instead. Who needs a plan? Those with children, homeowners, and business owners. Whether your situation is simple or complicated, a plan tailored to you will save your family heartache and money.
Putting a do-it-yourself plan in place or using a non-expert: Sometimes we need to call in experts. We don’t know what we don’t know. We wouldn’t perform our own surgery, so why not get legal expertise when needed too? An attorney who focuses on estate planning knows the ins and outs of the law and can suggest provisions for your plan that you don’t even know about. If you don’t use an attorney and make a serious mistake, it may be too late when your family finds out.
Keeping your “older-than-the-hills” estate plan: Good for you if you did a will when your children were born, but if they now have their own children, it is time to update your plan. If your assets have grown, you may want to consider a trust, and rethink how you are leaving your assets to your heirs. Laws change too and often require an update. In Arizona two key dates are 2008, when the trust code changed completely, and 2012, when estate taxes became less of an issue for most Arizonans. If your plan is older than this, you need a review of the plan and perhaps an update.
If you are ready to show your love with an estate plan, you can call my office for a complimentary initial consultation or review of your existing plan at 602-375-6752 or visit my website at libbybanks.com to learn more.