Estate planning can be a difficult topic to think about. Essentially, it requires an individual to plan for their death and for a time during which they may no longer be of a sound mind. While it can be challenging to think of these times, it is essential to be prepared for these scenarios.
Taking the time to prepare an estate plan is vital to ensuring that your family members and friends receive the inheritances you want them to receive and that they receive these things without any issues. While any lawyer can draw up a will or explain to you the various trusts that exist, they may not be able to create a customized estate plan that is tailored to fit your specific needs and all Arizona regulations.
Do I Need an Attorney to Create an Estate Plan?
Technically, you do not need an attorney to create an estate plan. However, if you choose to create an estate plan on your own, you risk making mistakes. If the mistakes are severe enough, your estate plan can be considered invalid, and If this occurs, your estate will be sent to a probate court, where a court appointee will be tasked with dividing the estate.
This process is time-consuming, it will cost your heirs financially, and your estate will not be divided according to your wishes. While hiring a lawyer will cost you money upfront, it pays off. Invalid and improper estate plans are sent to the probate court, which can be costly as well as the estate will be subject to further taxes.
Hiring an experienced estate planning attorney to draft your estate plan guarantees that your estate plan is valid and your wishes will be followed. In addition to this, you and your beneficiaries can avoid the probate process.
What if You Pass Away without an Estate Plan?
If you die without an estate plan in place, your estate will be transferred to various heirs by a probate attorney and a probate judge. The judge and attorney will distribute your assets to family members according to state law when this happens. For example, if one spouse dies and has no children, the surviving spouse may inherit the entire estate.
But, if there are multiple heirs, the process of distributing the assets becomes complicated. Far too often, when an estate is sent to probate court, heirs miss out on receiving an asset they were promised. For instance, a father and his 15-year-old son have spent the last few years fully restoring a car for the son to drive when he turns 16. If the father passes away, the car will be given to an heir who is eligible to receive the car, and the son may not get it even though it was the father’s wish to give it to him.
If you die without a spouse or children, your next closest relatives (siblings, parents, grandparents) will be the ones to receive your assets. If it turns out that you do not have any living relatives, your estate will go to the government.
What Documents Should be In My Estate Plan?
In its most basic form, a trust is an arrangement through which one person, the trustee, is granted the legal title to another person’s property. Trusts can be arranged in many ways, and each way specifies precisely how and when assets will be passed to the beneficiaries.
Trusts are created to organize property and assets to be passed on after death, but they also play a significant role in preventing probate. This is extremely valuable as preventing beneficiaries from going to probate court will save them hundreds if not thousands of dollars in court and legal fees. The beneficiaries can also gain access to their inherited assets much quicker.
A will differs from a trust as it does not transfer your property and assets to the beneficiaries following your death. Instead, a will is a legal document that sets for your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the care for any of your children or your spouse.
Scottsdale Estate Planning Law Office
Our Scottsdale office is conveniently located in the heart of Scottsdale. Our office is on Scottsdale Road between Chaparral Road and McDonald Drive.
Address: 5635 N. Scottsdale Rd, Suite 170 Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Phone Number: (480)467-4325
Call Our Arizona Estate Team at (480)467-4325 to discuss your case today.