Friday, August 13, 2010

Passing Your Tangible Personal Property

At your death you will undoubtedly own a certain amount of personal property. Your tangible personal property includes: photos, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, furniture and motor vehicles. While some of these items will be of negligible value, others may be of significant value, and still others will be of great sentimental value to your loved ones. In order to keep family harmony, it may be advantageous to leave this property specifically to named individuals or entities.

Failure to plan for these items leads to an uncertain transfer. Your Trustee can be left with the difficult task of selling off some items and apportioning others so that they pass equally to your named beneficiaries. Or, as happens all too frequently, some of those possessions may "inadvertently" wind up with the first person to happen upon them after your death. It happens.

You can make an assignment of this property in your Will or Trust. A better option is to execute a Personal Property Memorandum that is referred to in your Will or Trust. Under Arizona law this can be done at any time (usually after the Will or Trust is signed) as long as the document clearly identifies the tangible personal property and the person or entity to whom you are leaving it; and you sign the document. My office provides you these forms in your portfolio and they are also provided on a CD provided so that you can make changes at any time you choose and without incurring any further attorney expenses.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Free Storage of Your Healthcare Directives Online

Free Storage of Your Healthcare Directives Online

In 2004, Arizona became the first state to provide its residents with free online storage of healthcare directives. Registrants need only carry a wallet card that contains their user name and password and their directives can be accessed online without the need for carrying those documents with them. Over 20,000 residents have already signed up to take advantage of this service.
What are Healthcare Directives?
These are the documents that express your wishes for treatment in the event that you lack the ability to communicate your desires. The Living Will sets forth your instructions as to the healthcare treatment you would like to receive or have withheld. Additionally, there is a Healthcare Power of Attorney which designates who will make decisions on your behalf (in conformance with the Living Will). In Arizona, it is also important to have a Mental Healthcare Power of Attorney which covers such items as commitment to a long term care facility. My office incorporates the mental health provisions into the Healthcare Power of Attorney.
Why is online access important?
A health emergency can occur at any time and it is likely that your healthcare directives may not be immediately accessible. The best drafted documents will do you no good if they cannot be located in a timely manner. Upon registration with the Arizona Secretary of State, if you can provide the wallet card or it can be found on your person, your directives can be accessed immediately through the internet. Additionally, there is no need to bring healthcare documents with you when you are admitted to a hospital and online storage is a protection against loss.
How do I sign up for this service?
Simply visit the website listed below this article and follow their instructions. You should be able to have your account activated within three weeks. Please send only a copy of the directive to the Secretary of State.
What if I do not have a healthcare directive?
Consider putting a healthcare plan in place soon so you can ensure your wishes will be carried out. Healthcare directives are also a gift to your loved ones. They foster family harmony for for those who may have differing opinions as to your care, and it also relieves them of the potential guilt that they may not have done what you wanted.