Estate Planning


When one spouse defers on family finances, it’s easy to get caught off-guard by a death or illness. Here’s how to get up to speed. 




*Hire an estate attorney to draft or update wills and other estate-planning documents. 


*Hire a financial adviser both spouses like. 


*Make sure each spouse’s will gives the executor permission to manage digital assets. 


*Use an on line service such as Intuit Inc’s Mint or Personal Capital Corp.’s software to track all of their accounts and assets-and be sure both spouses have the password. 


*Use an electronic password aggregator to keep track of log-in information for on line accounts, including photo sites, and keep the password with their wills. 


*Review accounts and assets 


*Set up bank and other financial accounts a surviving spouse will need immediate access to in both spouses’ names or as “transferable on death” from one spouse to the other. (Some types of accounts in one spouse’s name alone typically go through probate and may not be immediately accessible.) Consult with an estate attorney before retitling accounts if you think you may owe federal or state estate tax. 


*When the first spouse dies, his or her estate is required to use assets held in the deceased spouse’s name alone to settle his or her individual debt. Assets that are jointly held or are held in the survivor’s name alone are protected, unless the survivor co-signed or guaranteed the debts. 





*Order at least 15 copies of the death certificate to use to retitle financial accounts and settle the estate. 


*Contact the estate attorney, accountant and financial adviser. 


*Gather household bills and bank, brokerage, insurance and credit-card statements. 


*Retrieve electronic statements from the deceased spouse’s email account or petition the email provider for access. 


*Start the probate process by having the executor submit the death certificate and any will that exists to the court. 


*File with Social Security for a $255 death benefit. 


*Consult someone who knows the rules for claiming monthly Social Security survivor benefits, based on the amount your spouse would have received. A survivor can claim as early as age 60 (or 50 if disabled). 


*Retitle household bills in your name. 


*Change the beneficiaries on your retirement or other accounts or insurance policies if necessary. 


*Update your will. 


*Create a new financial plan once you understand what you own and owe and are able to make long-term decisions. 


*Locate accounts and assets 


*Call the deceased spouse’s employer, if he or she was working, to ask about a 401(k), traditional pension, stock options, and life insurance and the cost to continue health coverage under the company plan. 


*Check the most recently filed tax return for the names of the financial firms that house the household’s accounts. Financial firms provide 1099s when bank, retirement and taxable accounts generate income, capital gains, dividends or interest. 


*Present the death certificate and proof of identity to get their share of a spouse’s IRAs, 40l(k)s, and life insurance. (Be aware of the rules surrounding penalties before transferring money from a spouse’s 40l(k) or IRA to your own.) 


*Look for statements in the mail for accounts that don’t show up on the tax returns, including pensions, IRAs, annuities, and 401(k)s no one is contributing to or taking withdrawals from. Because companies can lose track of former employees, call your spouse’s previous employers, too. 


*Ask for free help if you believe your spouse was entitled to a pension from a company you cannot locate. Sources include the Labor Department the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. 


*Search for missing life insurance and annuity contracts in the “Life Insurance Policy Locator Service” sponsored by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners or in your state’s unclaimed property fund. 



Source: WSJ and Kathleen Rehl, author of “Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows”


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation. 


Sarah has been working at Southwest Investment Advisors since October of 2017.

Hers is the first friendly face you will encounter when visiting the office.

Sarah’s responsibilities include assisting clients with online access, processing account documents, scheduling meetings and assisting in all aspects of client services.

When she is not working here you may find Sarah on the shooting range serving as an assistant instructor and safety coach.

She has two children, son Zach is a graduate of the University of Arizona and daughter Paige who will graduate in 2019.


Kataya has been with Southwest Investment Advisors since January of 2017.

She assists Alix with portfolio construction, rebalancing, and trading.

Kataya also plans our company’s client appreciation events and assists with the company website.

In her free time Kataya enjoys spending time with her family and her dog, traveling to new places, and getting involved with local events.


Lacey has been with Southwest Investment Advisors since 2007 and has been the Operations Manager since 2012.

Her primary duties are assisting clients, assisting Advisors, processing paperwork, and working with our back office at LPL Financial.

When she’s not working she enjoys riding horses and spending time with her husband, Dustin, her two small children, and her dogs, Tebow and Ellie.

Lacey and her family really enjoy traveling, spending time outdoors, and watching her dad, Robert Wright, play the banjo.


Robert has been an Advisor since 2012 following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and graduated Summa cum Laude from BIOLA. After working several years in Social Services Robert has a distinct perspective when helping people create and manage their financial goals.

When Robert is not working, life is all about family. Along with his lovely wife, Robin, four beautiful children and their dog, he enjoys traveling in the family bus, which is always an adventure. He enjoys meditating, praying, journaling and plays the guitar daily to maintain his sanity!

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Licensing and Regulatory​:

Licenses: Series 7, Series 63, Series 31 held through LPL Financial and the Series 66 is held through LPL Financial and Southwest Investment Advisors


Rob is an original co-founder, has been in the industry since 1994. He has degrees in English and Liberal Studies as well as a Teaching Certificate from California State San Bernardino.

Before becoming a Financial Advisor, Rob was a member of the New Christy Minstrels and he continues to perform with his banjos and other stringed instruments in concert as a member of the Wildcat Jazz Band throughout North America and as a guest artist with local symphonies and at various music festivals. Rob and his wife, Linda have one daughter and two grandchildren.

Rob has since retired and no longer has duties at Southwest Investment Advisors, Inc.


Original co-founder, Bart has worked as an Investment Advisor since 1983.  He was with Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley for fifteen years, serving as Branch Manager during the final four years, before moving to Piper Jaffray as Branch Manager for an additional three-and-a-half years before co-founding Southwest Investment Advisors.

In 2008, Bart become one of the first 200 professionals obtaining the industry’s newest designation, the Certified Wealth Strategist® designation, and administered by Cannon Financial Institute.

In May, 2010 Bart was selected for the distinction of Outstanding Advisor of the Year by Registered Rep Magazine, one of 10 financial advisors selected by the editors for 2010. From hundreds of nominees, the winning advisors have demonstrated both business success and leadership in serving as guides to other financial advisors and as active participants in community activities.

He is active in his church and served as President of the Board for Gospel Rescue Mission of Tucson from 2007 – 2010 and 2015 – 2018.  Bart also has served on the Board of Adjustments for the town of Oro Valley from 2002 – 2008.  Bart and his wife Marcella have three grown children and several grandchildren. Together they enjoy wine tasting, scuba diving, and travel.

Bart has since retired and has no responsibilities at Southwest Investment Advisors, Inc.


Rick is in charge of the managerial duties at Southwest Investment Advisors.  As a Financial Advisor, he meets with new and existing clients and helps with problem solving.

He has a Bachelors of Science in Business and Marketing from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. His past 20 years of business experience includes roles of Controller, CFO, and President of consumer goods companies with double digit growth for over a decade.  He and his wife own a local jewelry boutique, Trinity Diamonds.

Outside of the office, Rick enjoys keeping up with the latest in tech news, scuba diving, hiking, playing the electric bass guitar (well, trying to), and keeping the dogs happy with long walks.

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Alix’s primary roles in the team are portfolio management and client contact. She focuses on building and maintaining client relationships and reviewing and constructing portfolios that reflect clients’ individual goals.

Alix holds a BS in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, where she studied both in Malibu, California and Florence, Italy. She started with Southwest Investments in 2009 on the operational side of the business and has built her way to the sales side.

In 2014 Alix obtained one of the industry’s newest designations, the Certified Wealth Strategist® designation, administered by Cannon Financial Institute.

When she’s not in the office, Alix enjoys traveling and exercising with her husband Phil, singing at the Vineyard Christian Community, and meeting up for tea or a cold brew. She has a wonderful family and close group of friends and is excited to be a part of the team here at Southwest Investment Advisors.

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