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Phoenix office: 1850 N. Central Ave., # 2400, Phoenix, Arizona 85004 | Sun City office: 13250 N. Del Webb Blvd. # B Sun City, AZ 85351

Sharon is a Shareholder of The Cavanagh Law Firm, P.A. which has offices in Phoenix and Sun City, Arizona. Sharon was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sharon received her B.A., cum laude, in 1984 from Wellesley College and her J.D. in 1987 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was a staff writer on the...

Sharon is a Shareholder of The Cavanagh Law Firm, P.A. which has offices in Phoenix and Sun City, Arizona. Sharon was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sharon received her B.A., cum laude, in 1984 from Wellesley College and her J.D. in 1987 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was a staff writer on the international law journal.

Simplifying the challenges related to family asset and estate legal issues is her focus for her clients.

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On this Tax Day, Remember your 401K

Your estate plan needs to include a will, powers of attorney, maybe even a trust, and it also needs to be done in conjunction with making sure your 401Ks and IRAs have properly designated beneficiaries. If you die without listing a designated beneficiary, then the funds are paid out in a lump to your estate and can be taxed at 35%. So if you are
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Beneficiary Deeds v. Will

Beneficiary deeds apply only to the real estate and the buildings on it. The household effects and tangible personal property cannot be designated by a beneficiary deed but only through a Will (or a Will with a Trust). You can avoid probate with a Beneficiary Deed on the property and a Will for your tangible personal property if such property has
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What if You Don't Know a Superior Court Judge?

If you do not have powers of attorney for finances and health care, then you are relying on a Superior Court Judge to make decisions for you. Recently, the court process has been in the news about the abuses that occur by meddling family and professionals who do not know the person who needs help. Make sure the right people take care of you by
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Get the Most from your Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney authorizes the person of your choice to help you with your medical care. You can also make sure that person can help you with your mental health care. If you are older, you might be concerned with temporary dementia or capacity issues. No matter your age, your health care power of attorney needs to cover having the
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Estate taxes for someone who lost a spouse in 2010?

For those whose spouse died in 2010, if the deceased's estate did not use all of the $5 million exemption, then the remainder can carry over to the surviving spouse. So if the deceased spouse's share of the estate was worth $2 million, then the unused estate tax exemption of $3 million can be used by the surviving spouse and added to the surviving
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New Estate Tax Law

There is estate tax is now unified with the gift tax-- $5 million per person. However, it applies only for 2011 and 2012. Couples need to keep their option to have an an irrevocable trust when the first spouse dies, just in case Congress does not extend the unified credit and the $1 million exclusion from 2002 comes back. For the estate of anyone
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Estate Tax Exclusion is $5 million per person

For 2011 and 2012, the estate tax exclusion will be $5 million per person and $10 million per couple. It appears that the new law also allows for the exemption to apply to anyone who died in 2010 if the estate wants to have the step up in basis. It appears also that one spouse can use another spouses exemption to some extent in a portability
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New Tax Law Passed by the House and Senate

Well finally we have some new tax law -- if the President signs it. It appears that the estate tax exclusion will be $5 million for just two years -- but we need to wait to see what the law is when it is finally signed. The two year period may be good for income tax issues and the economy but for estate tax issues, the uncertainty continues.
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Tis the Season To Remember Family

This is the season to visit family. This is also a good time to think about which family members would you rely on to take care of your finances if you became ill. Also consider which family members would be most helpful with your doctors and health care providers. Even if you are married, you need an alternate to your spouse-- in case you both
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Small Funding Errors Frustrate Trusts

Once you have a trust, be sure all of your accounts are titled in your name as trustee of your trust. If you want to keep your name on the account for some reason, then at least fill out a "pay on death" or "transfer on death" form with your financial institution and list the trust. You do not want your loved ones to be short on cash or not have
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