A will is the most common way for you to convey your property to family members or charities that you support after your death. Working with a Phoenix wills lawyer to draft your will also provides a way to appoint a guardian and conservator for your minor children and name a personal representative to carry out the terms of your will when you die. Having a will is a way to protect your family in the event of your death and to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
In Arizona, a will needs to go through probate, which is the process of legally establishing its validity in a court of law and qualifying your personal representative to administer your estate. Probate can be expensive and time-consuming, although Arizona has created a streamlined process for estates under $50,000. If your estate is a large one, in excess of $ 5.34 million dollars after adjustments as of 2014, it will be subject to federal inheritance taxes.
If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed as determined by Arizona’s intestacy laws. In that event, your possessions will go first to your spouse and children if you have them; if not, your nearest living relatives will be in line to inherit from you – your parents, grandchildren, siblings, and so on. If you are found to have no living relatives at all, the state will take your property.
A will, or last will and testament, is only one of several ways to convey your property. Whether it is the best option for you will depend upon your personal circumstances and wishes. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced Phoenix estate planning lawyer who can advise you on the options available to you and the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. You may choose to write a will, either alone or in combination with one or more trusts, or you may even want to pass along some of your assets directly to family members during your lifetime.
If you live in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West, or anywhere in the surrounding area, you can find the answers to all of your questions about planning your estate by contacting a Phoenix wills lawyer at the law offices of Gorman & Jones, PLC. Our firm is devoted exclusively to elder law, estate planning, and related matters, so we are highly focused, skilled, and experienced in this area of practice. We will explain the advantages and disadvantages of wills relative to other options and advise you as to whether a will is the best choice for your situation.
If real property is part of your estate, Arizona law has made it possible to transfer it using an instrument called a Beneficiary Deed, by which you can transfer real estate upon your death without probate. In some cases, you can combine a Beneficiary Deed with a will to eliminate having to create a trust as a means to avoid probate, which is more complicated. Your Phoenix wills attorney at Gorman & Jones, PLC, can explain the use of a Beneficiary Deed and draft one as a part of your estate planning strategy if it is appropriate.
Another function of a will when you are a parent of young children is to appoint guardians who will care for your minor children until they reach majority at age 18 in the event of the death of both parents. This might be a close relative or friend. A conservator is a person who will handle a child’s financial affairs until the age of 18.
We never know what the future holds, making guardianship and conservatorship all the more important. You may be in vibrant good health today, but the years have a way of taking their toll, and many people become physically and/or mentally incapacitated in their later years and must depend on others for their care. You can use a will to name a guardian for yourself, designating the person you want wish to care for you should the need arise, or a conservator, someone who will manage your financial affairs if you are no longer able to do so yourself. The guardian and conservator may be the same person.
With the expert advice of the Phoenix wills attorneys at Gorman & Jones, PLC, and the detailed preparation of all estate-related documents that you can count on when you hire us. You can rest easy, knowing that whatever the future holds, you are prepared and your family is taken care of. Call our office at 602-388-1623 to schedule a free consultation today.