Simply put, an estate plan is the road map for you and your assets. An estate plan gives instructions on what should happen to you, and your property, in the event of your incapacity or death. A person's failure to create their own estate plan will mean they are stuck with the one the legislature has designed for them.
Probate is the court process for distributing certain assets of someone who has died. Things like bank accounts, real property, etc will require probate unless alternative estate plans were made while the person was still alive.
This is incorrect. Having a will does not mean your estate will avoid probate. All a will does is allow the testator to say what should happen to his/her property after death. A probate in this circumstance will depend on the value and type of property in the decedent's estate.
Easy isn’t the right word. A probate requires certain legal steps be taken. The steps have time lines and requirements. So while many probates aren’t “hard,” they do require some specialized knowledge and can take months to complete. You are certainly welcome to handle it yourself if you want. However, most non-lawyers, and even some lawyers, will make mistakes. It is best to secure experienced counsel.
A will is a document that is signed by a person that, among other things, gives instructions about how the persons property should be distributed upon their death. A will must be "probated" after the person has died and it has limited functionality to provide for longer term planning.
A trust, on the other hand, is usually created during a person's life and the trust is "funded" with the settlor's property during their lifetime. The settlor remains in control of all of their own property during life as the trustee and at their death a successor trustee steps in to take over. Since all of the property is held in the trust already and the trust gives instructions on how it should be managed it is often easier for property to be dispersed. A trust, in most cases, never goes to court and the settlor's estate generally does not have to go to probate court after their death.
No. A trust can provide a number of benefits that a will cannot, and those benefits aren't necessarily tied to someone's wealth. In most cases a trust allows your estate to avoid probate. Probate is a time consuming and sometimes costly process that your loved ones will have to facilitate after you are gone. A trust also allows you, the settlor, to dictate how your estate should be divided and when. The division of your estate can be simple or quite complex - it all depends on what you want. In any event people who have real property, retirement accounts, valuable collections, or even modest cash savings should consider a trust. The specifics of what is best for you can only be determined after a consultation regarding your situation.
You should because if you don't then your wishes may not be taken into account in providing your desired level of care. A medical directive is guidance that you provide to healthcare workers about how you would want to be cared for in the event you are unable to make your own medical decisions. Medical directives are an important part of estate planning.
A power of attorney is a document that allows another person to act on your behalf. Most often they are used to empower others to make medical and/or financial decisions for another person. A power of attorney is an important document in any estate plan.
Certain life events trigger the need to update your estate plan. Some of these events might include:
• Children, by birth, adoption, or marriage
• Death of a spouse
• Change in assets
• Change in status of a guardian, trustee, or executor
• Changes in tax laws
A yearly review of your estate plan is probably a good idea. Any changes in your life, or the lives of your beneficiaries, should also be considered.
It depends. A validly executed trust and/or will from another state should work in Arizona. However, there is a level of complexity and or potential sources of litigation that MIGHT be created by using out of state documents. This question cannot be answered simply and will need a review of your documents and assessment of your estate plan to determine what makes sense for you.
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Wente Law - Estate Planning
Serving the west valley area of Phoenix Arizona, including Goodyear, Buckeye, Surprise, Avondale, and more.
The material on this site is provided by Wente Law. All material on this site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship.