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Sharon Ravenscroft Estate Planning Blog

Welcome to my blog covering all things estate planning, family estate planning. business planning, wills, trusts & probate.

Probate does not keep your privacy

When a probate is filed, all of your legal heirs must be notified. Legal heirs are those who would receive your assets if you did not have a Will. Thus, even if you want your assets to go to friend or certain relatives, if probate is necessary, all legal heirs will receive notice of it. To keep matters private, you can avoid probate several ways
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Easing the Burden on Your Family

When we are ill, the last thing we need is for our family to be blocked from helping us -- with our medical care or with our financial needs. Powers of attorney are necessary so the RIGHT people can assist us when we are sick. Having a Trust makes sure that our families do not have to go through the court system just to get access to our assets
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Lion of the Year Award

Thank you Phoenix Biltmore Lions Club for your support and for the award of Lion of the Year 2009 and 2010. It has been exciting working with a Club that supports so many good causes-- glasses for children in need; Christmas gifts and scholarships for families of those serving abroad in the National Guard. It is an honor to be a part of the club.
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Are your retirement account designated beneficiaries properly listed?

People with a revocable living trust often forget to use the trust when they fill out their designated beneficiary for their IRA or 401K or other qualified retirement account. The participant's spouse is normally the first beneficiary. The second beneficiary should be the Trustee of the participant's revocable living trust. Even if the trust is
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What is going on with the federal estate tax law?

I heard that someone kept their loved one alive through January 2 on machines just to take advantage that there is no estate tax law this year. Unfortunately, there also is no step-up in basis at death and so that family could be facing a very high capital gains tax. This was not a concern when there was an estate tax because there also was a
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Powers of Attorney to Empower Health

If you are ill or in an accident, who is going to make sure the doctors give you the care you need? Even if you are awake and able, being confined to a hospital bed can make it very difficult to check up on when your doctor is going to examine you, when your tests are going to be run and if your medications are being given correctly. You can give
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What is happening with the federal estate tax?

Currently, there is no federal estate tax, but that does not mean there is no taxation at death. Instead, right now there is a capital gains tax that can be levied on any assets over $1.3 million (or $3 million for a spouse). Congress has been struggling with trying to adopt a law which will put the $3.5 million estate tax exclusion back in
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Protect access to your finances-now easier than ever

The Durable Power of Attorney protects your access to your finances. You can give legal authority to the person of your choice to handle your finances if you cannot. Now, a financial power of attorney is simpler than ever. The Arizona legislature removed the requirement of initial each power to protect the agent from civil and criminal penalties
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