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Friday, May 4, 2012

Estate Planning: It's Not Just For The Wealthy

Estate planning: Why it’s important

Estate planning
Why it’s important
Many people believe that estate planning is just for the wealthy. This is not the case — if you have assets of any kind you have an estate. And if you have an estate you need to have a plan to preserve it and transfer it upon your death.
What a plan can do
  • Keep assets in family — An estate plan can provide liquidity to pay any debts, taxes or expenses you leave behind, so your loved ones aren’t forced to sell assets to raise cash.
  • Control how assets are divided Your estate consists of everything you own — homes, insurance policies, retirement accounts, investments, bank accounts, cars, collectibles and other personal property. Regardless of your intentions, without proper planning state laws can potentially dictate what happens to those assets.
  • Avoid probate — Certain estate strategies can help to avoid a long, expensive probate process that can cause complications, conflicts and loss of privacy for surviving family members.
Future healthcare decisions; advance directives
  • Living will — As part of the planning process, it’s important to make decisions about future healthcare. A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. It’s important because it informs your healthcare providers and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.
  • Durable financial power of attorney A financial power of attorney allows you to name someone to take care of your finances when you aren’t able to. If you make your power of attorney “durable” it will continue to be valid even if you become incapacitated.  The named individual, your agent, will have control of your finances so it’s essential that you name someone you trust completely.
More information
For more information, you can visit, refer to Publication 950 Introduction to Estate and Gift Taxes; consult with your tax and legal professionals. And let’s get together — I can work with you to consider options that may help you meet your estate needs and other financial goals.

Marianne Hobbs Insurance Agency 602.547.1970

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tips For Home Buyers

If you're in the market for a new home this spring, here are some valuable tips for home buyers. 

Buying a house? Don’t forget to consider insurance

Buying a house?
Don’t forget to consider insurance
Many experts believe the housing market is getting ready to rebound — I hope they’re right! If you’re thinking about buying a home, don’t forget to consider insurance. Would-be buyers often get pre-approved for mortgages, research school districts, and look at numerous houses before finding the “perfect” home for them. Often however, they don’t consider the insurance implications of buying a specific house. Insurance is not a one-time expense. If you have a mortgage it’s likely you will pay for insurance for the life of the mortgage, so keep insurance issues at the forefront of home-buying decisions.

Do some investigation
The following factors will typically impact the price and perhaps the availability of insurance for the home:
  • Quality and location of the fire department
  • Proximity to the coastline or floodplain and risk of flooding
  • History of earthquakes
  • Age of the home
  • Condition of the roof
  • Whether or not the home is well-built and up to code
  • Swimming pool or other special features
Before you make an offer
  • Get a CLUE — It’s important to learn about prior claims on the house — not that a prior claim is necessarily a barrier to securing insurance. In fact, sometimes it may be good news — for example, the roof was damaged by a wind storm and replaced with a new one. Ask the current owner for a copy of the insurance loss history report, such as a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report from ChoicePoint, or an A-PLUS report from ISO, a source of information about property/casualty insurance. A record of insurance claims on the house can provide answers to two important questions:
    • Have there been any past problems in the home?
    • If damage occurred, was it properly repaired?

    Note: If the home has been claim free for 5 years there will not be a loss history report on the home.
  • Get the house inspected — The inspector should:
    • Check the general condition of the home.
    • Look for water damage, termites and other types of infestation.
    • Check the electrical system, water heater and septic tank, if there is one.
    • Show you where potential problems might develop.
    • Make certain that past problems have been properly repaired.
    • Suggest upgrades or replacements that may be needed.
Call me, sooner rather than later
Don’t wait until the last minute to think about insurance. Call me to learn about different coverage options so you can be sure you know what you want and have an idea of the cost. Happy house hunting!
Marianne Hobbs Insurance Agency 602.547.1970

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April Showers Bring...Lots of Auto Accident?

April showers bring ... too many auto accidents? Maybe it's because we don't really understand how fundamentally the rain affects the road and in turn, the way we and others drive which may lead to more accidents. In any event, I would prefer that April showers bring May flowers. Here's an article that may help you reduce your risk when driving in bad weather.

Rain, rain, go away Driving is safer on a sunny day

Rain, rain, go away
Driving is safer on a sunny day
Rain causes thousands of highway accidents each year largely caused by drivers who don’t realize that fair- and foul-weather driving are fundamentally different. It’s important to understand exactly how rain can cause an auto accident so that you can help minimize your risk when driving in bad weather.

Two types of drivers
In bad weather conditions there are two types of drivers who can increase the risk to others as well as themselves: excessively timid drivers and reckless drivers.

  • Excessively timid — This driver may overestimate the danger of weather conditions and drive at unnecessarily slow speeds causing the traffic to back up. This can increase the risk of rear-end collisions and cause other drivers to take inappropriate risks as they try to overtake the slower driver.
  • Reckless drivers — Reckless drivers often ignore the risks posed by bad weather and may continue to drive at full highway speed despite reduced visibility or flooded roads.  Even with four-wheel drive (4WD), vehicles can skid, and when they do their high speed makes it much more difficult to stop.
Car accident prevention tips:
  • First and foremost: slow down! It takes longer to stop or adjust in wet weather.
  • Keep your eyes on the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay toward the middle lanes — water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely — the spray created by their large tires reduces your visibility.
  • Don’t brake suddenly.
  • Correctly defog your windows.
  • Turn your headlights on even in light rain, fog or overcast conditions. They help you see the road and other drivers see you.
  • Don’t turn on your flashers; they are for emergencies only and may confuse other drivers.
  • Never drive beyond the limits of visibility.
  • Never drive through moving water and avoid standing water.
Rain, rain, go away … but until it does, it’s a good idea to slow down and allow extra time to get to your destination. It’s also a good idea to call me so you can be sure you have the coverage you want to help protect yourself, your family and your vehicle.
Contact us: Marianne Hobbs Insurance Agency             602.547.1970

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Money Machine In Your Home

How would you like to have a money machine in your home? This machine would be placed prominently in your living room, next to your television set, maybe sharing the same electrical outlet. It might look like a casino slot machine, with wheels and clatter and bells. And it would produce real money for you, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, just as steady as you please. When you need money, you simply go to your money machine and scoop up the number of new bank notes you need for all your household and personal requirements. In a year’s time, how much money would such a machine produce for you?
But there is a catch to it: You cannot build a safe box around it, nor can you hire guards to protect it from theft. And suppose it breaks down? Repair might be possible, but suppose spare parts are not available. No, your machine must just stand there producing money for you, and you would surely hope it would stay in good working order for a very long time. Certainly you would come to depend on it.
So, the key question is this: if you had such a wondrous money producing machine in your home, and, knowing you could not safeguard it from theft or mechanical breakdown, for how much money would you insure it?
You certainly would insure it, wouldn’t you? Consider that this machine might well produce money for you for many years, maybe 50 or more. If it was producing, say $50,000 per year for you, in 20 years, it could be the source of as much as a million, probably much more.
Fact of the matter is, you DO in fact have such a money machine in your home. Maybe it’s you that others depend on. Maybe it’s someone else that you and your family depend on to provide all or a good portion of the income you live on. Unlike the money machine in this story, this real person cannot stay in relative security at home. No, he or she must go out into the world everyday to brave the elements and workplace. Anything can happen. Those ambulances you see running around out there have real bodies in them.
I first heard the story of the money machine in 1972, when I was learning the basics of life insurance. I’ve always thought that “life insurance” is an unfortunate name for it. A much more accurate, (and better sounding), title for it is “income assurance.” No one can insure that life will go on, but it makes great sense that probably the greatest asset a person has-being able to use talents and intelligence and be paid for doing so-needs assurance, more so than insuring buildings against fire, autos against accident, and jewelry against theft.
It is human nature to presume that the inevitable final event in every life won’t happen for 100 years. So, we put it off, because it makes us uneasy to think that maybe, just maybe, our story will end sooner rather than later…that somehow, maybe, by golly, I’ll think about it another time; call me next year. Maybe then I’ll tempt fate and actually book an appointment with an experienced, knowledgeable income assurance agent, maybe one with the letters C.L.U. after his/her name, which mean Chartered Life Underwriter, and signify areal pro at what he/she does.

Contact me to look at Life Insurance options for you and your family:
Marianne Hobbs Insurance Agency 602.672.9000

Article by Thomas Bottaro ChFC,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life Insurance Can Help Fill The Gap

Life insurance can help fill the gap

Life insurance can help fill the gap
Did you ever think that life insurance could be a valuable tool during your working years as well as after? Interestingly, life insurance can be a useful tool for many individuals and families who are approaching retirement as well as for those who are already retired.
Most of us buy life insurance to replace the loss of income that would occur should we die or to create an estate for our loved ones (click here see accompanying Did You Know article), but there are many other reasons:
  • You have an aging parent or disabled relative who depends on you for support
  • You have a large estate and expect to owe estate taxes
  • You own a business and have a partner
  • You have a substantial joint financial obligation, such as a personal loan for which another person would be legally responsible after your death
Life insurance and retirement
Many retired couples depend on Social Security and pension income to survive. When one spouse dies, those payments may be reduced — survivor benefits are often much lower than retiree benefits — while many of the ongoing expenses remain for the survivor. You can help protect your surviving spouse from this reduction in income with life insurance. The death benefit can replace your missing income so a personal loss does not become a financial one as well.

CALL ME: MARIANNE HOBBS INSURANCE AGENCY 602.547.1970 OR I can help you analyze your individual situation so you can determine your life insurance requirements and decide whether your coverage is appropriate for your needs and your family.

Life insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, Mercer Island, WA 98040.
Products and features may not be available in all states and may vary by state.

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