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Four Essential Estate Planning Documents That You Should Have

Every adult should have the following four estate planning documents: 1) last will & testament; 2) general durable power of attorney; 3) health care power of attorney (with mental health powers); and 4) living will. While circumstances may warrant the preparation of additional documents, such as a revocable living trust, each of the foregoing four documents is essential.

Effect of divorce on pre-existing estate plans

Most today are aware that approximately 50% of all marriages end in a divorce, dissolution or annulment (referred to in this note collectively as "divorce". The marriages that don't end in divorce ultimately end with the death of one spouse. A large percentage of divorced persons, widows, and widowers subsequently remarry one or more times. This note addresses the legal effect divorces may have any pre-existing estate plans including wills, trusts, non-probate transfers [such as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, community property with rights of survivorship, payable on death ("POD") and transfer on death ("TOD") beneficiary designations]. A subsequent note will address the effect of marriage on a pre-existing estate plan.

What is the Van Loan Formula?

Ever wonder how the heck we figure out who gets what when trying to divvy up a pension? Who was that Van Loan guy anyway? Our own David West represented Mrs. Van Loan, arguing that she had a community interest in Mr. Van Loan's military retirement benefits, even though the benefits had not yet vested. The trial court, and later the Arizona Supreme Court, found that Mrs. Van Loan's interest in the pension was one-half of the fraction of the number of years of the marriage over the number of years he had served in the military, if and when he received the pension. Hence, the Van Loan formula was born.

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West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman P.L.L.C.

310 S. Williams Blvd
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Tucson, AZ 85711

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