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Joint Ownership of Bank Accounts at Death

An elderly parent who is a widow/widower frequently believes the children will live in a harmonious, caring and sharing relationship after the death of the parent. While this may prove accurate, it frequently is an unrealistic fantasy and there is no guaranty the parent's expectations will be met. Attempting to explain this to a parent is often met with the response: (1) "my children have a wonderful relationship and care deeply for one another"; or (2) "I trust my child completely to carry out my wishes". It has been proven time and again, the relationship between/among siblings changes once both parents are deceased! Nowhere is this more clearing illustrated than in the case of the greedy child.

Can I Lose My Home to Unpaid Creditors?

Circumstances arise where you may be unable to pay your creditors and collection agents begin threatening you with lawsuits, judgments, garnishments, attachments. You may not be able financially to pay the creditors. Are you at risk of losing your home?

Financial power of attorney

Will the Financial Power of Attorney I Signed Be Enforceable?

When a principal signs a power of attorney, he or she expects that it will give the agent all the authority he or she needs his affairs. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A financial power of attorney is a document whereby the person signing the power, otherwise known as the principal, grants a designated person, otherwise known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, broad authority to mange the principal's financial affairs. In most circumstances, a power of attorney is effective either immediately or upon the demonstrated incapacity of the principal, in which case it is referred to as a "springing" power of attorney. It may also be referred to as "durable," in which case it may not be revoked by the principal during his or her incapacity. The authority granted in a power of attorney terminates upon the death of the principal. As long as a power of attorney is prepared and executed in accordance with the laws of the state in which it is signed, it is valid and enforceable in every other state.

Affidavit to Access Property After a Death


"My mom had a checking and savings account in her name only with no beneficiaries named. All her other assets were either in joint names or had beneficiaries named. Now that my mom is deceased, do I have to open a probate to gain control of these accounts?"

Naming Your Beneficiary

Most of us are familiar with naming beneficiaries in our life insurance policies. When you initially acquire life insurance, you will be asked to name a beneficiary or beneficiaries [the person(s) who will receive the proceeds of the insurance upon your death]. When was the last time you checked who you named to receive the life insurance proceeds at your death? Frequently, after initial acquisition of the insurance policy, it is "tucked away" and not reviewed for many years. Intervening circumstances may have occurred which warrant a change of beneficiaries such as marriage, dissolution of marriage, birth of children, death of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. You should not rely on your memory; instead, contact the insurance company and verify the present beneficiaries.

Important Considerations When Using Senior Placement Services

For seniors and their families confronted with finding an appropriate place for the senior to live, referral/placement services can be an invaluable resource. These referral/placement services are like personal shoppers, who help their clients sort through all the issues involved in finding the right placement. They will assess the social and physical needs of the family member and determine what type of facility he or she can afford that will meet as many of those needs as possible. In most circumstances, this type of service is free to the family, as the consultant receives a commission or "finders fee" directly from the facility. Other companies may charge a flat fee on top of the commission in order to provide additional services, including later follow up to insure the placement is a good fit.

David Bowie Estate Planning

The world lost one of it's most brilliant artists back in January with the death of David Robert Jones (aka, David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke). His artistic reach included not only music, but also film, fashion, and glam culture. Naturally, as a fan of music and estate planning, I wondered what the Thin White Duke had planned for his estate. This article from the New York Times discusses, among other things, his bequest of $2 million to his longtime personal assistant, and his instructions that his body be shipped to Bali, that he be cremated pursuant to Buddhist rituals, and that his ashes be spread there. Farewell, Ziggy.

Can I Provide Care for My Pets After My Death?

Many of us own pets and consider them important, and in many instances, essential to our happiness and well-being. We form personal relationships with our pets and the loss of a pet can be a tragic event. However, have you considered, how your pet(s) would react to your death and the loss of your companionship? Have you considered making plans for the care of your pet(s) in the event of your death? As lovers of pets, shouldn't we consider these questions?

Retirement Accounts Impacted by Divorce

Dividing the Loot - Retirement Accounts

Recently, after reading a blog post here about the Van Loan formula, someone wrote to ask how a retirement account would be divided up in a divorce and whether there was a form or calculator that could be used to do this. Like most answers given by lawyers, the answer is "It depends" and "Be very careful."

Widow Real Estate Tax

As a widow/widower, can the real estate taxes on my residence be reduced?

As a widow/widower, can the real estate taxes on my residence be reduced?

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

310 S. Williams Blvd
Suite 250
Tucson, AZ 85711

Phone: 520-518-3781
Fax: 520-748-0852
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