Scottsdale Legal Blog

Are you concerned an executor is not acting appropriately?

After the passing of a loved one, you may have wondered what would happen to his or her remaining possessions. In most cases, individuals are in charge of ensuring that a person's remaining estate properly closes by carrying out necessary tasks. These tasks may come as part of the legal process known as probate, and a named executor or court-appointed personal representative typically has the responsibility of carrying out these tasks.

Though the deceased individual may have named someone other than you as executor or the court appointed a different person, you may still have concerns when it comes to making sure that the estate is handled with care and proper attention. Therefore, you may wonder what actions an executor can lawfully carry out.

Problems with your estate plan could be a problem for loved ones

Arizona readers of all income levels know that having a strong estate plan is a smart step for everyone. Regardless of the types and value of your assets and savings, an estate plan can save your loved ones from complications in the future, as well as ensure that you get the final say over what happens to your assets. 

However, even having a basic estate plan may not be enough. Not having the appropriate additions, such as a trust, as part of your plan could be problematic, as can certain errors committed during the planning process. There is too much at stake, and you would be wise to have assistance as you work for a plan that meets your needs and suits your objectives. 

Protecting your loved ones from themselves in estate planning

When most people think of someone being addicted to drugs, they envision meth or crack addicts, along with individuals who get the munchies from smoking marijuana. However, a new type of addiction has gained footing in the country that breaks all boundaries and crosses economic and gender lines -- addiction to opioids. It's a painful fact that these days, many Arizona families deal with a loved one who suffers from such an addiction.

In many cases, what started out as a way to control pain after an injury turned into a personal nightmare for the addicted individual and his or her family alike. This is why many families are considering how to protect loved ones with addictions from themselves when they engage in estate planning. Some of the options available may not suit your particular circumstances, but knowing all of the options is important nevertheless.

Early asset distribution could complicate estate administration

After the death of a close loved one, you may feel emotionally raw. During this time, you may wonder how long your grief will last and what the loss of this person could mean for you and the rest of your family. As a result, you may want to spend time focusing on the emotional aspects of this type of event.

Of course, other factors may require your attention as well, such as the fact that the decedent's estate may need looking after. If the person named you as executor, you have the responsibility of carrying out necessary duties in order to settle the estate. Because this process can have its complications, you may want to avoid certain errors.

Resting in peace means keeping the peace over your possessions

Leaving a will is partly to make it clear who gets your things. By doing so, you would hope that you won't be splitting heirs — that is causing a rift between your loved ones if they have to decide how to share your belongings.

When you're fashioning your will, it might be a good idea to stipulate to whom you would like your individual personal possessions to go. After all, cutting Granny's handmade quilt in two would not bode well for anyone. Perhaps a discussion with your family members may prove helpful when making these decisions.

3 reasons your estate plan may not need a trust

As you work to create your estate plan, you may wonder whether you need to utilize certain planning options. Because each plan created needs to suit the particular wishes of an individual, what works for other people may not apply to your situation. A close assessment of your estate and personal details could help you decide how to design the best plan for your circumstances.

One planning tool in particular that may have you curious is a trust. You may have heard about the various benefits this tool offers -- such as avoiding probate -- but just because a planning option has benefits does not mean that you have a need for those benefits.

Speedy probate? Don't hold your breath

While probate often seems like a dirty word in the estate-planning world, it is an important and necessary process for many estates. It is a way to ensure that the deceased person's final wishes are understood and carried out as closely as possible. This is more likely to happen when a will or other estate plan is in place, and such carefully prepared documents often hasten -- or even bypass -- the process of probate.

Nevertheless, an Arizona court must carefully inventory and value the assets, verify the heirs and pay any creditors who have claims on the estate. This can be complicated or relatively simple, and each estate is different. This is why it may be nearly impossible to say exactly how long probate might take. However, if you are currently waiting out probate for an estate from which you will receive an inheritance, you should know that there are certain factors that can prolong the process.

Do you have legal grounds to contest a loved one's will?

The death of a loved one can affect each Arizona resident differently. You may like to look back on your loved one's life with fondness of the loving times you shared together, or you may feel an overwhelming sense of grief that makes it difficult for you to face the situation. Because reactions to death can bring about a variety of feelings, each person may handle their losses in their own ways.

If your loved one created a will, you may have great interest in moving through the probate process quickly in order to settle his or her affairs. However, the possibility exists that you could find issue with the document that has you feeling concerned. In some cases, the problems may prove significant enough to contest the will. Of course, in order to do so, you must have grounds to take such legal action.

Probate can act as a bittersweet process for loved ones

Distributing a loved one's assets after his or her death can come as a bittersweet moment. You will certainly miss your family member immensely, but knowing that you and other individuals may obtain meaningful assets as a reminder of the special person may bring you some comfort. Of course, before any individuals can obtain assets from the remaining estate as dictated in a will, the probate process must finish.

If your loved one named you executor of his or her estate, you will face the most responsibilities when handling the probate process. You will essentially take charge in ensuring that the appropriate parties have necessary information and that heirs receive the correct items. Due to having such tasks to attend to, you will certainly want to understand the probate process.

Do you need a health care power of attorney?

It can be difficult to think about the health care needs that you may face in the future, but it is useful for both you and your family to make the effort to have certain protections in place. By having the appropriate legal documents drafted, you can outline your wishes in case you are incapacitated or unable to make important medical decisions for yourself.

Through a health care power of attorney, you can better control what may happen to you by formalizing your desires for medical interventions, life saving measures and more. These could be important and essential additions to any existing estate plan. 

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The Law Offices of Mary T. Hone, PLLC
10505 N. 69th Street, Suite 1400
Scottsdale, AZ 85253

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