We’ve all heard the old saying that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. It is part of the human condition to know that death is an inevitable transition and a part of life, and as uncomfortable as this may be to contemplate, knowing that your time on Earth is limited gives you the advantage of being able to plan your legacy with a knowledgeable Sun City wills lawyer. What would you like to do with the fruits of your labor – the assets you’ve accumulated over your lifetime? You can control where your assets will go, who you will help, and how you will be remembered, even after you’re gone. Will your assets go to members of your family, or will they be used to support causes that you care about? The law allows you to make these decisions during your lifetime.
The most common way to make your desires known and ensure they are met is to see an estate planning lawyer to draft your will. Wills can be very simple or very complex, depending on the size of your estate, the types and locations of assets it contains, and who your heirs will be.
A will not only allows you to convey your property to family members or charities, but also provides you the means to name a guardian or conservator for any minor children and to appoint a personal representative, the person who will oversee the distribution of your assets after your death, usually with the help of your estate planning attorney in Sun City, AZ.
The law in Arizona requires that every will goes through probate, a legal process in which the Probate Court will establish that your will is valid and will qualify the personal representative named in your will to administer your estate.
Probate can be fairly long and drawn out, not to mention an expensive one, especially with estates of over $50,000, which are too large to qualify for Arizona’s streamlined probate process. With very large estates, over $5.45 million as of 2016, your estate will be responsible for federal inheritance taxes. A married couple can exclude $10.9 million from the federal tax.
There are legal ways to plan your estate to save on the complication, expense, and time involved with the probate process and to shield your estate from some or all of the federal tax obligation, so you should discuss the options available to you with an experienced Sun City trusts lawyer. You may choose to combine a will with some of the other strategies that are available, depending on your individual circumstances. At Gorman & Jones, PLC, we limit our practice to matters pertaining to elder law and estate planning and have the expertise to help you decide on the estate planning strategy that best meets your needs.
If you should die without leaving a will or other legal means of transmitting your assets to heirs of your choice, you are said to be “intestate.” In the case of intestacy, the law specifies which of your family members are entitled to inherit. If no relatives can be found, your assets will go to the state. Your legacy is your right to decide, and having a will or another plan for the distribution of your assets is your means to assert control over all that you’ve worked so hard to accumulate during your lifetime. You will not want to leave this important decision up to the government! Your Sun City wills attorney will give you the guidance you need and make the process as stress-free as possible.
At Gorman & Jones, PLC, we take the time to get to know you as a person so we can help you decide the best way to achieve your goals for your estate. We will educate you as to the pros and cons of various options available to you. If you decide that you need only a simple will, we will draft it for you, asking all the appropriate questions to make certain that your will covers everyone you wish to remember and that it provides for any minor children or adults with special needs. But whenever it is appropriate, we will go beyond simply preparing a will to show you various means that you might want to consider to protect your assets from taxes and creditors, leaving more for the ones you love.
Whether you are rich or not so rich, retired or just starting out, married or single, a parent or childless – if you have any assets at all – you will want to have a will or other estate plan. Call today to talk with a seasoned and compassionate Sun City wills lawyer at Gorman & Jones, PLC. We offer free initial consultations.