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When peace of mind matters most

PLANNING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE

Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

CORONAVIRUS TAX CUTS. THE SILVER LINING.

CORONAVIRUS TAX CUTS.  THE SILVER LINING. Is it really time to start thinking about filing your 2020 taxes?  2020 is a particularly important year to start planning. In 2020, we have to consider inflation.  The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides individual taxpayers several new tax breaks, most of which will only be available for the 2020 tax year.  The sooner you know about the changes, the better your planning. Here are 6 ways your return may differ this year: Waived RMDs. If you’re 72 or older, you are generally required to take a required minimum distribution

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUNG ADULTS

ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUNG ADULTS Why do young adults, as early as 18, need estate planning?  And why should it be a priority for you and them?   Here’s why:  the minute a person turns 18, they become legal adults and you, the parent, no longer have the legal authority to make decisions for them.  And you don’t have legal access to their financial accounts. With you no longer in charge, your young adult could become incredibly vulnerable.  For example if they encounter an illness that renders them incapacitated, such as COVID-19, having a plan in place could literally save their

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

FOUND $$$

FOUND $$$ Rarely does a person work for a single employer for decades until retirement. Most people are likely to changes jobs multiple times during their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers have held an average of 12 jobs by the time they reach their 50s. With so many job changes, it is easy to see you might lose track of an old 401(k) or retirement account, especially if you only worked in a position for a short time. In fact, forgetting plans is quite common: it’s estimated that roughly 900,000 workers lose track of their 401(k)

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

DO YOU NEED A “GO-BAG?”

DO YOU NEED A “GO-BAG?” Go-bags originated with the US military which requires personnel to keep one on hand packed with essentials for survival. Over the past few weeks we’ve experienced deadly forest fires in California, Arizona and Colorado.  The East and Gulf coasts have suffered hurricanes and tropical storms.  The Midwest has endured tornados and floods.  And on top of all of that, we are still amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s best to prepare for your family’s safety now. Here are some updated items that you may need in your 2020 go-bag. Your updated estate planning and healthcare documents

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

ARE WE THERE YET? ESTATE PLANNING FOR LGBTQ COUPLES

ARE WE THERE YET? ESTATE PLANNING FOR LGBTQ COUPLES There is a case pending before the US Supreme Court which is on the docket for October 2020.  Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.  A religious-based adoption agency had contracted with the City of Philadelphia and agreed to abide by its anti-discrimination laws.  Regardless, the agency refused to license same-gender couples as foster parents.  The City refused to renew their contract and the agency sued the City.  The lower courts found that the City’s regulation was not a targeted attack on religion. Currently, 11 states allow state licensed adoption agencies to refuse

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries

Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries You may have life insurance as part of your estate plan. When naming your beneficiaries, there are mistakes you can make that could lead to potentially dire consequences for the very people you’re trying to protect and support. The following four mistakes are among the most common we see clients make when selecting life insurance beneficiaries. If you’ve made any of these errors, contact us right away, so we can amend your policy to ensure its proceeds provide the maximum benefit for those you love most. Failing to name a beneficiary. 

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 2

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 2 In last week’s article, we discussed the vital importance of having updated advance directives in place in light of COVID-19. Here, we’ll look at several additional provisions you should consider adding to your directives to address potential contingencies related to the pandemic. The most crucial planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care should you become unable to express your own wishes. While all adults over age 18

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 1

COVID-19 Highlights Critical Need for Advance Healthcare Directives—Part 1 As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country, doctors across the nation are joining lawyers in urging Americans to create the proper estate planning documents, so medical providers can better coordinate their care should they become hospitalized with the virus. The most critical planning tools for this purpose are medical power of attorney and a living will, advance healthcare directives that work together to help describe your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event you’re unable to express your own wishes. In light of COVID-19, even those

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

I love you all the same. Inheritance Planning when unequal distribution may be appropriate.

I love you all the same. Inheritance Planning when unequal distribution may be appropriate. Your inclination is to treat all of your children equally when it comes to an inheritance.  Truest Law knows that is not always the best choice for your family.  Below are several reasons when you may want to make an unequal distribution: ·        Children of unequal wealth.  If you have a children of varying levels of income, you may choose to leave more to the less financially advantaged child.  If you choose this option, be sure to explain your values to them or write a letter

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Does Your Trust Save You Taxes?

Does Your Trust Save You Taxes? Everyone wants to know. A revocable trust is not a separate entity from you for tax purposes.  It is a separate entity for probate purposes meaning that it can take over if you are disabled or you die, without having to go to court.  However, until your death it is invisible as far as taxes go. If you have an irrevocable trust, created either in life or when you die (your revocable trust becomes irrevocable), that trust has its own Tax Identification Number.  It will pay taxes on any income earned by the trust

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Money Talk: When to Talk to Your Kids About Money

Money Talk:  When to Talk to Your Kids About Money Do you talk to your kids about money?  Or your parents? According to the Spectrem Millionaire Corner, a market research group, only 17% of affluent parents said they would disclose their income or net worth to their kids by the time they turned 18. A nearly equal amount, 18% said they would never disclose these numbers to their kids. 32% of the rich parents surveyed by Spectrem said “it’s none of their business” when asked why they would not talk to their kids about money. The amount of money generated

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Should You (or Your Parents) Be in the Stock Market Now?

Should You (or Your Parents) Be in the Stock Market Now? Are you connected with the holdings in your retirement or other accounts?  If you inherited accounts, do you follow them for growth and management? I heard this story from a colleague.  After her grandmother died, the accounts went directly to her mom without incident due to proper estate planning.  Great!  No court.  No conflict After that, her mom did not look at the accounts for over four years.  When they did look, the learned that even though others were experiencing a bull market, the account was losing value to

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Who Will Care for Your Children if You Cannot?

Who Will Care for Your Children if You Cannot? The pandemic may have made you think about things that you should do, even if you have previously put them off. This brings to mine a story of a colleague.  She left her kids with the babysitter to enjoy a night out with her husband.  But she couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen to her kids if she and her husband were in an auto accident.  What would happen? Even though she’s a lawyer and had nominated guardians for her kids, she still was uncomfortable.  Her Will naming the guardians

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FUNDING FOR YOUR FURRY FRIENDS

FUNDING FOR YOUR FURRY FRIENDS How to Create a Pet Trust We love our pets!  But the laws treat pets as property, so putting your pet in your Will won’t work!  How do you protect your pets when you can no longer care for them?  With a Pet Trust. When meeting with your Personal Family Lawyer, discuss your wishes for your pets so that your pet trust will be legally enforceable after you are gone. Here are some items to consider when establishing a pet trust: Before you name a trustee for your pets, discuss your intentions to ensure they

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

PARENT GUILT MUCH?

PARENT GUILT MUCH? If you’re a parent, you’re probably feeling guilty right now.  You’re now trying to balance your full-time job and your childcare and your child’s (or children) education.  That’s three jobs! Even before the virus you were probably feeling guilty because your full-time work obligations get in the way of being there for your kids.  Is your guilt compounded by the additional responsibility that was piled onto you by the pandemic?  Let’s alleviate that guilt.  They don’t always acknowledge it, but your kids see how great you’re doing.  They know you’re doing your best. Here are a few

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Online Wills? Should You?, Part 2

Online Wills?  Should You?, Part 2 Are you thinking of doing an online Will?  We’ve previously discussed how a poorly drafted will could cause your intended administrator to get a bond and may well land your family in court. Today, let’s consider your family dynamics and how they can be forever impacted by poor drafting.  Imagine your family if you did your will and you omitted an important asset, say your family cabin.  Could this lead to turmoil as your family tries to figure out what you wanted?  The law will make an assignment for you and it may not

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Do NOT Trust your Will.

Do NOT Trust your Will. Below, we explain the difference between a Trust-based plan and a Will-based plan.  This will help you make an educated decision for you and your family and you will know what is best for them. A Will-based plan does not include a Trust.  In a Will-based estate plan, your assets will be held in your own name.  With Truest Law, our Family Plan, which is a Will-based plan, your documents will include a Health Care Directive, Financial Power of Attorney, a Will and if you have minor children, a Kid’s Protection Plan. A Trust-based plan

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Online Wills? Should You?

Online Wills? Should You? Should you do your estate planning yourself, online?  Maybe. Maybe not. If you decide to, you need to know about the pitfalls that could leave your family worse off than doing nothing at all.  Online planning is a trap for the unwary.  Today, we will deal with one pitfall of online planning. To decide whether online planning is for you, you must understand your family dynamics, your assets and what will happen to them if you do nothing.  The state already has a plan for your assets if you die or become incapacitated.  It includes taking

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

The Most Important Financial Decision to Make Right Now

The Most Important Financial Decision to Make Right Now Last week we reviewed how crucial it is to have your medical affairs in order, now more than ever.  This week I want to consider the implications and importance of financial decisions in these peculiar times. Getting your financial affairs in order is not just for the wealthy. Don’t be too hasty.  This is for you too.    All of us need to worry about making specific plans for our assets.  Do you have a retirement account or 401(k)?  Do you have jewelry, artwork, furniture?  What about cryptocurrency?  What happens with  your

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

One of the Most Important Legal Actions to Take Right Now

One of the Most Important Legal Actions to Take Right Now  As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic means nothing is the same. Arizona has implemented a “stay-at-home” order to limit exposure.  This means it is time for us to consider longer term precautions.  Last week, we relayed a sad situation that emphasized the necessity of proper health care planning.  This week, we must continue to emphasize the importance of this action. Earlier we discussed how families may be resistant to talking about important matters.  The truth is it may feel pessimistic to plan for the worst during a scary situation.

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Lack of Healthcare Directive Leaves Fiancée Without Answers

Lack of Healthcare Directive Leaves Fiancée Without Answers This week I heard a tragic story from a colleague whose client recently lost her fiancé to COVID19.  He was hospitalized and the hospital was on lockdown.  She could not even enter the hospital. He was alone to fight the disease. Sadly, she wasn’t listed on the legal documents filed with the hospital (the fiancé’s healthcare directive and HIPAA waiver), so once he was taken to the hospital, no one would communicate with her. She called on Thursday last week and was informed that he was no longer in ICU – she

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

WHY D.I.Y. ESTATE PLANNING DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK

WHY D.I.Y. ESTATE PLANNING DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK Lawyers call it “poor man’s estate planning.”  You may think it is easier to put your child on the deed of your house and avoid probate.  Yet this poor estate planning often ends up, well, poorly, and costing a lot more for the people you love.  Here’s why and what you can do to avoid ending up in the “poor house.” Risk of “Poor man’s Estate Planning.”  If you put your child on the deed of your house (or any time there is more than one person on a deed and the parties

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

STILL FLOATING AROUND

STILL FLOATING AROUND After making my checklist for planning and having Traice make hers, we realized we need to help our families get organized – even those resistant to making plans. Please start to discuss with your parents, even if they are resistant.  Let your parents know that you are worried that if something happens to them, you will not know what to do unless you get into conversation about it. Notice that I’m not suggesting that you tell your parents (friends, family, clients) what to do or demanding anything from them.  Instead, it’s about getting vulnerable with them to

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

UNCHARTERED WATERS

UNCHARTERED WATERS We are deep into our navigation of unchartered waters…Are you prepared?  This is my checklist (I am not in the at-risk category): Personal needs. Plan in case I get sick. Updated estate plan and inventory. Updated work-out plan (that gym has never been closed – thank you to my coach and gym for ongoing support). Family needs. Remind young adult he’s not invincible.  Encourage him to stay active and make music.  Plan in case they get sick.  Make sure they know the basics of estate plan. Elder family members. Sadly, my older relatives have gone, but we are

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

CONGRATULATIONS! You are a new parent. We can help you protect your most precious asset.

CONGRATULATIONS! You are a new parent.  We can help you protect your most precious asset. As you await the new baby, you plan for everything.  You become an expert planner!  You schedule birthing classes, plan the new nursery, start looking at preschools and schools.  There are so many things to think about while you await your new child! Don’t overlook one of the most important plans for your child:  an estate plan.  Below are five considerations for us to discuss when setting up an estate plan once your new baby is born: Guardians and Trustees. Delay in choosing a guardian

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

What your Will WON’T do

What your Will WON’T do Your will can do a few necessary things – and you should have a well-crafted will.  If done correctly, it will distribute family heirlooms and name a guardian for your children.  But did you ever wonder what a will WON’T do for you? 1.     Your Will won’t distribute some types of property.  To distribute assets from your retirement account or investment account or the proceeds of a life insurance policy, you must make certain that you have correctly designated a beneficiary.  Your beneficiary designations supersede the instructions in your Will.  Also, if you own property

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Avoid These 10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

As a second entry into my series about estate planning mistakes many people make, we are continuing my theme of the importance of selecting the right estate planning lawyer for you and for your family to keep your family out of court and out of conflict when it is most important. As a Personal Family Lawyer® and through our probate cases, we see many of the same estate planning mistakes made time and again by people who either fail to plan properly or who use “do-it-yourself” estate planning websites or forms in an effort to save money.  These mistakes can

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

How Shopping Around for An Estate Plan Could Leave Your Family With an Expensive, Unintended Mess

We understand that sometimes shopping around is a good thing. Maybe you’ve gone so far as to get “three estimates” on products and services in the past. That may be a great idea for some products and services for your house, car, etc.; but it is not always the best way to pick a great estate planning attorney. In this article, we are going to examine why comparing by price only is not the best practice when choosing an estate planning attorney and how you can ensure you get the most efficient and affordable plan possible for your family. Shopping estate

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Ready to talk with us about how you can keep your family out of court or out of conflict when something happens to you.

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