Luck Has Nothing to Do with It

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My husband’s family is Irish. I feel in my bones that their Irish luck will rub off on me and I will somehow find my pot-of-gold. Or win the lottery. Actively planning to protect your family, however, is much better than just leaving everything to chance. Here are seven steps to take.

1.  Update beneficiary forms

A beneficiary form lists who receives that asset at your death and may be called Payable on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD). You can find a beneficiary form for vehicles at

2.  Record a Beneficiary Deed

Arizona allows a homeowner to record a Beneficiary Deed. This allows your home to avoid the probate process when you die.

3.  Purchase life insurance

Life insurance is not for you—it is for your family. My dad died when I was 19 and his life insurance helped me finish college. I was lucky my dad planned to protect me.

4.  Pre-plan your funeral

Most attorneys cannot make absolute guarantees to you. I can. Someday you will die… and you absolutely will need cremation and/or burial services. Pre-planning and pre-paying for funeral expenses will cost your family less money.

5.  Choose a guardian for your minor children

Have an estate planning attorney draft a comprehensive Will that names who will raise your children if something should happen to you and the other parent. You are not protecting your children by leaving that decision to chance or creating a do-it-yourself document.

6.  Create a Revocable Living Trust

An estate plan that includes a comprehensive Revocable Living Trust can help your family avoid the probate process, provide incapacity planning for you, and provide asset protection for your loved ones.

7.  Talk to your family

Tell your family! All the pre-planning in the world does no good if surviving family members do not know your wishes or have access to your documents. It may be difficult or time-consuming, but if you take these steps you will have peace-of-mind knowing you are protecting your family.

Cholewka Law provides estate planning, probate, and trust administration services. If you want to plan for your family instead of leaving everything to chance, we would love to help! Contact Cholewka Law at 480-497-3770 to schedule a conversation or visit for estate planning information and videos.

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