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Phoenix Family Law and Estate Planning Law Blog

What does a trust protector do?

If you're ready to put an estate plan in place, you're likely doing a little online research. You're probably encountering all sorts of terms with which you're only vaguely familiar or may have never heard before.

One term you may never have heard is "trust protector." That's a person or entity not related to the person making the trust ("trustmaker") or to any trustees or beneficiaries whose job it is to ensure that the trust is carried out as intended. The specific responsibilities and authority of a trust protector will generally be detailed in the trust agreement.

Tips for those considering a prenuptial agreement

Many engaged Arizonans dread broaching the subject of a prenuptial agreement with their partner. They fear it will introduce distrust into the relationship, destroy the romance and force them to discuss the possibility that their marriage could one day end.

However, the conversations that are part of developing a prenup can strengthen a relationship -- and ultimately the marriage, because they involve discussing goals and financial matters that couples too often avoid. More importantly, a prenup can provide both of you with financial security.

Have you considered your long-term care needs?

Planning ahead can have many benefits. Even if you just make a quick checklist for your next morning, you could easily save time and effort in the future. Planning for more significant aspects of your life can also have its benefits. In particular, you may want to consider planning for your long-term health needs.

No matter your age, taking the time to plan could prove vastly beneficial. Most individuals over the age of 65 will need some sort of long-term care, and even younger individuals could suffer a serious injury or illness that leaves them incapacitated. Because you cannot predict when the need for such care may arise, making a long-term care plan and considering your powers of attorney may be wise.

Co-parenting when your kids are in college and beyond

Your younger child is graduating from high school this month, and he will be off to college in the fall. Your older one is graduating from college, and you're preparing to help her move into her new apartment in Tucson where she'll be starting a job soon. However, your and your co-parent's joint responsibilities to your kids likely aren't over yet.

You may be paying all or part of your new college student's tuition, room and board and other living expenses. You may be helping your college grad out financially for awhile. Maybe you're paying off her student loans or giving her a little money every month until she gets her apartment furnished. At least one, if not both of them, is still probably covered under your health insurance.

Considering reconciling with your ex? Give it serious thought

If you've been divorced for awhile and are beginning to think that splitting up with your spouse was a mistake, you're not alone. It's not as uncommon as you might assume for one or both spouses to have second thoughts and regrets about ending their marriage.

Did you really make a mistake, or are you just remembering the good times and conveniently blocking out the painful aspects of your marriage that led you to divorce? If you're thinking about giving it another go, it's essential to ask yourself some key questions.

  • What caused the divorce?
  • What has changed that would make things better if you got back together?
  • Is your ex also having regrets about the divorce?
  • Are you willing to do what it takes to make the relationship work this time?

Why your pets should be in your estate plan

Many people never consider including their pets in their estate plan. They assume that a family member or friend will take their animals when they die. Perhaps someone has even promised to do so. However, things change.

Animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats that bit someone in their new family or that were taken in by someone who wasn't allowed to have pets or couldn't afford to take care of one.

The limitations to stepparents' decision-making authority

When divorced people who have primary or shared custody of their kids remarry, their new spouses often assume an important role in these kids' lives. They may take them to or from school, cheer them on at games or concerts, help them with homework and generally be an involved stepparent.

However, stepparents have no legal rights when it comes to their stepchildren simply because they married their mother or father. Being a stepparent doesn't automatically grant someone the right to make medical decisions for a child, for example.

Don't let your fears keep you in an unhappy marriage

If you've stayed in a bad marriage for too long out of fear, you're not alone. There are myriad fears that keep people from ending an unhappy or even toxic marriage and moving on. Many of them are based on fear of the future. Others are based on what other people will think or how the decision will impact others -- particularly children.

It's reasonable to be concerned about how your children will deal with a divorce. However, research has shown that children generally do better with two happy-divorced parents than two unhappy parents arguing constantly or not speaking. If you're concerned about not being as involved in your children's lives as you are now, it's important to work towards a custody and visitation agreement that will let you see your kids whenever you wish.

Your co-parent has a new significant other. Now what?

When you divorce, you realize that you and your ex will likely find new significant others eventually. However, when you learn that your ex has someone special in his or her life, it can still cause a range of strong, conflicted emotions. If the two of you have children together, your biggest concern is the role this new person will play in their lives.

If you and your co-parent have an amicable relationship, you've likely agreed to notify the other parent before you introduce them to a new person. Of course, this isn't always the case. Don't be surprised if you hear about him or her from your kids rather than your ex.

Trying to figure out a parenting schedule? These tips may help

Perhaps the most important parts of a divorce for parents here in Phoenix are the issues surrounding their children. While your marriage may be over, you will always be parents. You and your future former spouse may agree to put the needs of your children first.

Even though coming to that decision represented a substantial challenge, it could turn out to be the easiest one the two of you make. Now, among other things, the two of you need to create a parenting schedule that works for the whole family. You know that each of you wants to spend as much time with the children as possible, but making that happen is another matter entirely.

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