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Estate Planning 101

Do you have a succession plan for your business?

Be more organized, improve your networking and give back to the community are some common resolutions small business owners make year after year. You may be among those who hope to increase your sales and your own business savvy at the same time over the next 12 months. Maybe you have even added to your list of resolutions a promise to spend less time at work and more time with your family.

One item that is glaringly absent from the lists of goals for many small business owners is the plan to begin preparing for the succession of their businesses. Does this include you? If you have a dream of retiring and passing your business on to the next generation, but have not made a plan to do so, it may be time to revise your resolutions for the coming year.

Are you worried your children will fight over who is executor?

Though you have undoubtedly loved every minute you have been able to spend with your children, you have likely also felt frustrated with them at times. You probably had hopes that your children would get along and be the best of friends, but it may have turned out that they fought more often than they got along.

While you may have found ways to end their squabbles most of the time, you may still worry about how they will react to your estate plans. You certainly want to make sure that your plans reflect your wishes, but you may also want your plans to lessen the chances of conflict as best as possible.

How pet trusts work

If you consider your companion animal a part of your family, you may want to ensure his or her care continues after you die. It may be sad to think about your pet outliving you, but you can dedicate finances to pet care and lay out specific directions by creating a pet trust. 

You may be able to simply leave your pet to someone in your will, but this does not allow you to allocate funds or specify many details. Here is a basic overview of pet trusts and some suggestions to keep in mind. 

The wisdom of a digital asset protection trust

Classic business models face increasing challenges with the meteoric increase of both digital data and its storage. Systems for the creation and preservation of such data also change at a rapid pace. When one digital protection system is in place, a new system is already needed to accommodate the latest technological inroads.

Along with the legitimate creation and storage of digital data, piracy of and illegal intrusion into that data shows alarming and sophisticated growth. At any given moment, digital warfare rages on the front lines of technology. Businesses must devote an ever-increasing number of resources, both in personnel and equipment, to stay ahead of data breaches.

2 methods of reducing estate tax

When you work on your estate plan, chances are, one of your main goals is to figure out how to maximize the amount of wealth you leave behind for your loved ones. While you may want to consider any number of different avenues that may help you accomplish this, one effective method of preserving more of your wealth for future generations involves reducing how much you have to pay in estate tax.

Estate taxes, or those assessed against your estate after your passing, can eat up a sizable portion of the wealth you worked your entire life to amass, but there are some things you can do now to lessen the burden. If you have concerns about estate taxes taking a large percentage of what you hope to leave behind, consider taking these two steps.

What are the primary advantages of trusts?

As an Arizona resident trying to figure out the best way to preserve your wealth for your loved ones down the line, you may be exploring your options and trying to determine how to maximize what you leave behind. While a traditional will is one way to leave something behind for your loved ones, there are typically other options at your disposal, and one such option involves establishing a trust.

Trusts are fiduciary arrangements that allow you to leave assets behind to beneficiaries in a format that can result in considerable savings for them after your passing. Though trusts may prove a bit more complicated to create than a standard will, they offer several benefits that can mean your loved ones get to keep more of your hard-earned legacy for themselves. While trusts come in an array of different formats, there are certain advantages that most trusts offer that make them particularly appealing to many people. More specifically, trusts allow you to:

Remember to include pets in your estate plans

Estate plans can be so complicated that you may unintentionally exclude something important. Just covering the basics, such as a will and power of attorney, can be overwhelming enough. Having legal assistance can relieve much of the burden and help you realize areas you need to cover.

One of these areas is pets. If you see your animals, from cats to horses, as part of the family, then you need to treat them as such in your estate plans to ensure their well-being in case you become incapacitated or pass on. Otherwise, they can end up without a home or worse.

How to stop family squabbles over your estate plans

If you have already created your will and feel your estate plans are solid, you might be sadly mistaken. While your family should be grieving and coming to terms with your passing, they might end up fighting amongst themselves over the contents of your will. 

It is not uncommon for disputes to happen when sibling rivalry and other issues arise that cause everyone to want what you have left behind for someone else. Before you put your will and estate planning documents aside, consider the following pointers to help prevent disputes over them: 

Estate planning steps for parents of special needs children

If you are the parent of a special needs child, you face unique estate planning considerations. While estate planning is important for everyone, you face additional responsibilities, because it is up to you to create a plan that outlines who is to care for your disabled child and how if you are unable to do so.

The issues involved in creating an estate plan that includes a special needs child often differ from those traditionally faced by parents making end-of-life plans. As a parent of a disabled child, it could be important that you consider the following:

What happens to my Facebook after I die?

After you pass away, your physical presence is missed by your loved ones who are left mourning your loss. Often they will spend time looking at your old photos to remember you or see an item of yours they inherited and think of you fondly. But what happens to your digital presence after you die? How does that factor into the way you are remembered?

Social media is a ubiquitous part of many of our lives, regardless of age. For a number of us, it is the new photo album that used to sit on the coffee table or the journal where we wrote with our thoughts and witticisms. Those things are precious to the people we leave behind. Luckily, for most major social media platforms, not all is lost upon our death.


Kruchek Law, PLLC
1926 E. Ft. Lowell Rd. Suite 100
Tucson, AZ 85719

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