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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.

Negative consequences of gray divorce

Divorce for those over age 50, also referred to as gray divorce, has doubled in the last 25 years and is at its highest rate ever. People are living longer with additional “bonus” years and for some, the thought of spending their golden years with someone they have nothing in common with is unbearable. Additionally, divorce as a whole has become more socially acceptable which makes the decision easier for an older generation.

Divorce is an emotional and complicated process at any age, but for older people, it can offer its own set of challenges. For any age group, divorce requires a disentangling of the assets and property but because it’s later in life, gray divorce can have additional financial and health repercussions.

Estate planning can serve a variety of purposes

It is human nature to put off important tasks at times. In reality, life is unpredictable, and it is often more prudent to have a plan in place for how to take care of one's needs in the event one becomes incapacitated or dies unexpectedly. Arizona residents who are unsure of how to begin estate planning may benefit from learning more about the basics behind this essential task.

Not having plans in place means that the state's default inheritance laws will apply. This could thwart one's wishes concerning how intended heirs will be cared for after one is deceased. Default laws can also consume a significant portion of an estate by means of fees and taxes. Furthermore, if one does not have any plans regarding a health care guardian, the state can determine what medical care will be provided and will appoint a guardian over what decisions to make, including possible end-of-life choices.

New year may be perfect time to revisit estate planning

During the holiday season, people spend much time and effort on finding the perfect gifts for friends and family. It's also a good time to ensure that one's estate planning documents are current and reflect one's final wishes. Arizona residents who have documents in place may benefit from revisiting those plans to check that they still provide for their intended heirs.

With the coming changes in the 2019 tax laws, it may be prudent to review how estate plans are structured in order to preserve as many assets as possible from potential liabilities. The use of wills and trusts can ensure that heirs are provided for while reducing the risks of a lengthy and costly probate process. Once a will or trust has been established, it is important to review them periodically to ensure that they are current and reflect any changes that have occurred in one's personal or financial circumstances.

Trusts become ineffective if not handled properly

Those who have assets they wish to protect for their future heirs have several estate planning tools at their disposal. One of the most popular planning tools is the use of trusts. These require proper planning, or they may not fulfill the intended purpose. Arizona residents who are considering how to plan for their heirs will benefit from avoiding a few common mistakes.

One of the errors that people make is failing to properly fund a trust. An example may be for a couple who chooses to set up a joint revocable trust. They later decide to purchase a home that can be passed on to the surviving spouse or a future heir. However, if they fail to title the property in the name of the trust, then the original intent cannot be fulfilled. Property that is titled in the names of the individuals may instead be subjected to probate when the owners pass on. 

Comprehensive estate planning can provide the best protection

Over the past few years, there have been a number of stories in the media regarding what has happened to the estates of celebrities who died unexpectedly. It is often assumed that the wealthy have detailed estate planning handled long before their heirs will need it. Unfortunately, simply having a will may not be enough to protect one's assets for the intended heirs. Arizona residents who are considering how to provide for their heirs should begin the process sooner rather than later.

Reportedly, neither Prince or Aretha Franklin had plans in place for their estates. While the late Soprano star, James Gandolfini, did have a will, trusts would likely have provided the opportunity for greater privacy. The details of a will are public once filed in probate court, something the estate holder may not have wanted. 

How can wills be updated?

A person's goals and situation can change greatly over time. So, it is not uncommon for individuals to find themselves in a situation in which a will they formed no longer fits their wishes. Thankfully, wills can be updated to meet a person's changing goals and needs. Today, we'll go over the two main ways a person can change his or her will.

Why you need an estate plan in your 30s

Your 20s were for learning who you are, engaging in new activities, meeting new people and making decisions that had nothing to do with your long-term future. Yours 30s are typically when it’s time to get serious.

As you settle more deeply into your career and building your family, you’re likely thinking further ahead than you were before. To that end, this is a good time to start thinking about your estate plan.

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