People with substantial assets, but less than $1,000,000, ought to begin considering more than just to whom their assets will transfer. Rather, when more assets are involved, people should start thinking about issues like avoiding Arizona probate and staging inheritances for children and grandchildren. People typically accomplish these goals by establishing a living trust, to which they transfer many of their assets. Once the trust is funded, the assets can transfer to whoever is named as the trust beneficiaries without going through probate. The trust can be drafted to transfer funds to beneficiaries immediately upon the trustor’s death, or at some time in the future, such as upon a college graduation or a specified birthday.
A revocable living trust is a good beginning, but it is by no means a complete estate plan. Even those who establish a revocable living trust should also establish powers of attorney appointing somebody to act on their behalf in the event they lose capacity, and a living will delineating the type of health care they wish to receive should they lose the ability to communicate their healthcare wishes. Another useful tool that many times accompanies a revocable living trust is a pour-over will, or a will that devises assets to the trust upon the trustor’s death. Of course, the strategy that a person ultimately decides upon will depend on his or her specific needs and goals. Because no two people share precisely the same circumstances, a Mesa, Arizona estate planning attorney who can explain the range of possibilities should be involved in creating every plan.