Scottsdale Legal Blog

Estate planning when your child is an addict

Making an estate plan is something you and your spouse have wanted to do for some time. You may have had definite ideas about how to distribute your assets among your adult children, and it may even be something you prepared for since they were young. However, like many families, you are hesitating, hoping things will get better.

If you have a son or daughter who is addicted to opioids, writing a will to distribute your assets presents a special set of concerns. Unfortunately, you are not alone. Millions of families across all socioeconomic groups have been touched by the opioid crisis leaving parents confused about how to prepare their estates.

Do you know the different types of personal representatives?

Estate planning can seem intimidating. Between the various tools, planning options and appointments, you may wonder what everything means. Feelings of confusion and uncertainty are understandable as you likely do not have a full working knowledge of the laws and details relating to estate planning. Fortunately, various resources exist for obtaining useful information and assistance when it comes to making a plan.

One area in particular that may cause some confusion relates to who will be in charge of your estate after your passing. You may have heard of personal representatives, executors, administrators and trustees, but you may not know whether you need one, any or all of these positions. A breakdown of each term and role may allow you to better understand how the positions could fit into your plans.

Do you need to probate your loved one's estate?

Your loved one died. You are mourning his or her loss, stressed about making funeral arrangements and trying to figure out how to close out his or her estate. There is a lot on your plate and the last thing you want to do is go through the probate process. Did you know, that under the right circumstances, going through probate in Arizona may not be necessary?

At the end of the day, probate does serve a valuable purpose. It is a way to make sure an estate is distributed appropriately and that any concerns with the estate get addressed. Even so, there are two reasons why you can avoid this process completely -- making the closing of the estate much easier on you and your family.

Don't let your estate plan become a relic

When you were in school, you may have planted a time capsule in which you and your classmates placed special items to bury for future generations. You may fondly recall the item you chose to place in the time capsule, or perhaps you can't even remember what it was. Was it your favorite 8-track tape? A picture of you in your coolest bell-bottom jeans? A ticket stub from the first time you saw Star Wars?

Unlike a time capsule, your estate plan should not be buried in the ground for someone else to dig up at a later date. In fact, there are many times when you should review and revise your plan so that it does not become just a piece of useless nostalgia.

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.

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

Phone: 602-903-7759
Fax: 480-478-0146
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