ESTATE PLANNING FAQs

Arizona’s Full-Service Will & Trust Planning Law Firm
clients asking estate planning attorney questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED ESTATE PLANNING QUESTIONS

Many people assume that they need to be elderly or wealthy to create their estate plans. However, in Arizona, an estate plan can benefit anyone who is at least 18 years old. Not only can you use it to designate who should receive your money and possessions after you pass away, but who should be your estate’s executor and children’s legal guardian, contribute to charitable organizations, predetermine medical decisions if you are ever in a coma or legally incapacitated, and more. Proper estate planning can also help preserve your estate’s value by avoiding taxes and the need for probate. When you’re ready to get started creating your estate plan, call our firm for your free consultation with our experienced Arizona estate planning lawyers.

Free Case Evaluation

ANSWER:

An estate doesn’t always have to be a large property with a fancy house. For the average person, an estate is simply everything they own, like a house, vehicle, bank accounts, and personal possessions. Real property is the term for houses and other real estate, while personal property is the term used to describe everything else. Your estate will be transferred upon your death either according to your state’s intestacy laws, or through the will, trusts, and other documents you create. Life insurance policies and the like traditionally aren’t considered part of the estate.

CONTACT ARIZONA’S BEST ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

ANSWER:

There is no legal requirement that you create a will- you are free to rely on your state’s rules regarding intestate succession. In Arizona, if you pass away intestate, or without an estate plan, your estate will usually go first to any surviving spouse and descendants you may have. If you don’t have a spouse or descendants, your estate will go to your parents. If your parents predecease you, it will then go to any of their surviving descendants. Things become more complicated if none of these categories of relatives are available to be the beneficiaries of your estate. Your estate may even revert to the state if you don’t create an estate plan. None of your estate will go to charity if you rely on intestate succession.

There are two other major aspects of a will that may change your mind about relying on intestate succession. Your will gives you the opportunity to choose someone who is responsible and trustworthy as your estate’s executor, rather than whoever is willing to fulfill these responsibilities- possibly a stranger or even a creditor. You can also decide who you would like to take care of your children if you pass away before they reach adulthood, rather than leave this responsibility with the state.

CONTACT ARIZONA’S BEST ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

ANSWER:

Creating estate planning documents in addition to your last will and testament may seem like overkill. But using other methods to distribute your assets can help you avoid taxes and probate, as well as specify how you would like your estate to be used after your death. If this sounds beneficial to you, you should consider using trusts to help distribute your estate. Certain kinds of trusts allow you to bypass taxes that your family members would otherwise be liable for after inheriting. You can also create specialized trusts meant to pay for a family member’s education, special medical expenses, and more.

CONTACT ARIZONA’S BEST ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

ANSWER:

Probate is the official court process of distributing your estate after you pass away. There are several steps to complete in the probate process, so it usually takes at least 6 months. Much of this will depend on how expedient the executor is about completing tasks – you can choose the executor in your will, someone can volunteer, or the executor will need to be assigned by the court. The process can also be drawn out if anyone disputes the validity or terms of your estate plan in probate court. Not only will this delay when your beneficiaries will receive what you left for them, but it can also cost them a significant amount of attorney’s fees.

Undoubtedly, you want to leave your loved ones your estate with as few problems, taxes, and fees as possible. Probate is also a matter of public record, so many people dislike how the process takes away privacy. So you may be wondering if there is any way to bypass the probate process after your death. In Arizona, certain estates may qualify to use a small estate affidavit and skip probate. The limits for a small estate in Arizona are $100,000 in real property and $75,000 in personal property. You can give gifts before your death and reduce the size of your estate with trusts to help your estate qualify for a small estate affidavit. If your goal is to keep your estate within Arizona’s small estate affidavit limits, you should discuss your options with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

CONTACT ARIZONA’S BEST ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

ANSWER:

Another vital part of your estate plan will be the documents that indicate what should happen if you ever become legally incapacitated to make your own decisions. You can use a power of attorney to give someone the authority to make a vast array of decisions for you if it ever becomes necessary. This can prevent turmoil among your family members in deciding whose responsibility this should be if the time comes.

You can use a power of attorney for several types of decisions, including business and financial. You can also indicate whether you would like this power to last indefinitely, or just for a set amount of time. Furthermore, you can also use a specific type of power of attorney for medical decisions, or a health care power of attorney. While this gives someone the right to make medical decisions on your behalf, you can also make them for yourself in advance using a living will, or an advanced health care directive. You should discuss these options with an estate planning attorney in your area.

CONTACT ARIZONA’S BEST ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

ANSWER:

There is actually nothing preventing you from creating your estate plan on your own, without an attorney’s assistance. Many people get by just fine by carefully filling out self-help forms from the court. But your beneficiaries could be liable for additional taxes if you don’t strategically plan your estate with an expert’s guidance. Additional costs could be incurred during the probate process, as well as delaying when your loved ones will receive important funds and assets. Your family could deal with additional stress if they argue over your wishes that haven’t been made clear by your estate plan. Your will could also be executed or worded improperly so that it doesn’t stand up against challenges in probate court.

CONTACT ARIZONA’S BEST ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Don’t leave these problems for your family to deal with after your passing. Our experienced Arizona estate lawyers and planning team will take care of every step of the process and create the perfect estate plan for your situation. Better yet, we will do it at a fair price with payment options available. To learn more, call 602-609-7000 or use our online form to request your free consultation.

Consult A Will Attorney For Free Today

Schedule Your Free Same-Day, Confidential Case Review
Our Arizona Will Attorneys know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Arizona Estate Planning matters.  When you work with our experienced AZ Estate Planning Team you should expect highly personalized legal services executed in a timely and cost-efficient manner.  Our “Client First Approach” is evident from your initial free consultation all the way through to final sign off.  Contact our trusted attorneys today.



    Best way to reply: PhoneEmailText