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Pet trusts are becoming more commonplace

Americans have a love affair with their pets. In many homes, these animals have taken on the role of cherished children and are cared for in a loving and even doting manner. Arizona pet owners who are concerned about their companions' future well-being may consider the benefits of setting up trusts for their future care.

Traditionally, only celebrities or those with significant wealth took the time to ensure that their pets would be cared for after their owners' passing. These days, more and more pet owners are establishing pet care trusts as a common part of estate planning. Setting up these trusts can provide peace of mind that a beloved pet will continue to receive the care to which the family companion has become accustomed. Through clear instructions to a chosen trustee, owners will ensure that their plans provide for adequate funding of a trust that will be used to provide for appropriate care of these pets, including provisions for where the pet will reside.

When life changes significantly, it is time to update your will

Creating a will is an important part of making sure that your affairs are in order when the time comes, and if you have a will in place then you already enjoy at least some of the protections it provides.

However, a will cannot do its best work protecting you, your loved ones or your estate if it falls out of date. Many life events may impact your will, and it is always wise to amend your will as you experience major changes.

Estate planning is not the time to engage in DIY

The internet is full of websites that purport to teach a viewer how do almost any task.  While many of them can be helpful, there are some topics that do not lend themselves well to a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Though it may be tempting to think about carrying out estate planning in this fashion, Arizona residents may find that such an approach will cost more in the end.

There are several reasons why estate planning should not be done through blank forms and internet how-tos. The first reason is that even the most simple estate does not lend itself well to this approach. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all, as even a straightforward plan requires a tailored approach to ensure that all instructions are clear and that loved ones are provided for in the manner desired. Some may believe that a DIY estate plan can reduce the cost. However, during the planning phase, a misused legal term or other mistake can wind up costing much more to correct.

Why singles need to engage in estate planning

Living the life of a single person may be a fantasy for married parents. While those with children have obvious reasons for tackling estate planning, single people benefit from it as well, maybe even more in some circumstances. Arizona singles may wonder why they should consider this an important task.

Two important planning documents for anyone are a power of attorney and an health care directive with proxy. Singles may find themselves in a vulnerable position if they were to suffer an incapacitating illness or injury. Without trusted individuals selected to handle financial and health care decisions, a court may have to choose an individual to make these vital decisions. 

There are ways to effectively manage finances after gray divorce

The divorce rate for those over the age of 50 has doubled over the past 30 years. Though there are reasons for this increase, it is believed that those who have been remarried are more likely to seek a second divorce. Arizona residents who are facing a "gray" divorce may worry about how to plan for their retirement.

Though it may be more difficult, it is possible to survive financially intact after a gray divorce. One of the first steps to remain financially solvent is to reassess the monthly budget. One is encouraged to analyze the current marital standard of living and then work out a new budget based on the assets one will have after the divorce. It is likely that expenses will need to be reduced and the income may need to be supplemented. One should take into account the change in tax status as well as a possible change in Social Security benefits.

Estate planning is a loving act for family and other heirs

It is estimated that that only 30 percent of adults have taken the time to settle their affairs. This indicates that most people have yet to tackle the important issue of estate planning. Though this task is often seen as irrelevant to all but the wealthiest, Arizona residents who do have plans demonstrate sincere concern for their loved ones.

The majority may believe that having an estate plan is for the express purpose of eliminating tax liabilities. While this can be one component of planning, it is seldom the main reason. Instead, not having any plans in place will often compound the distress that loved ones suffer when they lose a beloved family member. Some of the most critical components of estate plans include documents relating to one's care, and the handling of financial and health matters in the event of an incapacitating injury or illness.

Estate planning for collectibles owners

You worked hard all your life and have amassed significant assets and resources. You intend to pass your property down to your heirs in as fair a manner as possible. But one area of your estate plan gives you particular pause — your collectibles.

People collect almost everything under the sun. Certain collectible items like museum-quality paintings and other types of art have an inherent value and must be appraised professionally in order that they be accurately determined. But when there are other, more obscure, collectibles, e.g., your Paul Stanley guitar or mint-condition Roberto Clemente baseball card, it may be more difficult to assign a value to these items.

Study documents top reasons for most divorce filings

There are some indications that the overall divorce rate may be on the decline. In spite of this possibility, marriages still face the real risk of ending in a divorce. Recently, researchers attempted to point out some of the common causes for couples to seek a divorce. Arizona residents who are struggling with these issues may choose to file their own petitions to end their marriages.

Researchers decided to focus on those participants who have received nonreligious premarital counseling. However, in spite of the educational course on communication, several participants claimed that the instruction did not delve deeply enough to prepare them for the changes that occur over time. The study pointed out that there are several common reasons why a marriage may not survive. One of the first cited causes is lack of preparation for resolving conflict, including differing views on religious beliefs.

Estate planning mistakes can undo good intentions

No one enjoys contemplating their own demise. Sadly, it's true that one cannot avoid death or taxes, but careful estate planning can alleviate much confusion for loved ones. Arizona residents who are preparing to undertake this task may benefit from learning what common mistakes can undo their best intentions.

The first mistake is not having any plans in place. An estimated 58 percent of adults have failed to prepare even simple plans; those with minor children are even less prepared, as only approximately 36 percent have plans in place. If one puts off planning, heirs could be impacted if an estate exceeds the exemption cap. It is also imperative to have health care directives and power of attorney paperwork in place in the event one becomes incapacitated. Not having a preferred individual prepared to make important health care and financial decisions could mean that the courts will appoint someone to make these vital decisions.

One day out of the year is most popular for filing for a divorce

Nowadays, it seems there is a special day set aside to honor or recognize nearly anything that comes to mind. That being said, while most of these are simple remembrances, such as National Cat day, there is one day that can have far-reaching implications -- National Divorce day. Regardless of the actual date, Arizona families who may be going through this ordeal often have many concerns.

According to statistics, the first business Monday of January is most popular for divorce filings. There are likely many factors that play a role in this phenomenon, including all of the stress that accompanies the holiday season. Special occasions tend to highlight the fact that a spouse is no longer happily married. Along with this realization, there is the stress of family gatherings and all of the expenses that mark the shopping season.

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