Tempe Estate Planning Lawyers

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CONTACT YOUR TEMPE ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL TEAM

Most people want to be sure that when they pass away, their affairs are in order and there is as little stress and dispute for family members as possible. You can achieve this by creating a valid and strategic estate plan. Our Tempe Estate Planning Lawyers can assist you in getting your affairs and estate in order. Our Lawyers service clients in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, Apache Junction, and all other communities in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona.

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Depending on your circumstances, some combination of a last will and testament, revocable and irrevocable trusts, and other methods of transfer will be the most effective way to pass down your assets. You can also use your estate plan to prepare your family for medical conditions that take away your ability to complete business transactions and make your own treatment decisions. Advanced health directives and powers of attorney can make your wishes clear and eliminate confusion among your loved ones if you ever lose your legal capacity. But with all of the factors that go into making an estate plan, it can be extremely daunting to go it on your own.

CHANGING YOUR ESTATE PLAN FOR DIFFERENT PHASES OF LIFE

Most people want to be sure that when they pass away, their affairs are in order and there is as little stress and dispute for family members as possible. You can achieve this by creating a valid and strategic estate plan. Our Tempe Estate Planning Attorneys can assist you in getting your affairs and estate in order. We service clients in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, Apache Junction, and all other communities in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Young Adult, or about 18-25

    Even if you haven’t had children or acquired property yet, it doesn’t mean that it’s too early to create your estate plan. Accidents that would trigger a power of attorney or a living will can happen at any time. Having these in place early can also reduce the amount of estate planning you have to do when you start your own family and build your estate. 

  • Growing Family and Assets, or about 35-50

    At this point in life, many people have become more established and have significant value in their estates. You may want to consider creating a living trust to protect and maintain your assets. 

  • Young Family, or about 25-35

    As you get older, you may pay off your car, put a down payment on a house, get married, and maybe even have children. You may want to strategize to protect your children’s futures, and prepare for any other unforeseeable life circumstances.

  • Preparing for Retirement, or about 50-65

    Now is the time to structure your wealth so that it can support you after you quit working. If you have children, they may be reaching adulthood and needing different kinds of support. If you haven’t already created an estate plan by this point, you should at least create your last will and testament, although using multiple instruments will usually help you get the most out of your estate. 

  • Senior Years, or about 65+

    While you’ve undoubtedly earned the right to enjoy your retirement, you will also need to make sure you have funds available for long term care and any other expenses that are specific to your family. Having a valid power of attorney and Medicaid documents in place is crucial in this time period. You probably will need to update your estate plan if you’ve already created one to reflect new family members, as well as those you have lost. 

LIVING WILL

A Living Will is one of the most common forms of advanced health directives. Other common types include POLST, or Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, and DNR, or do not resuscitate, orders. You can also use a health care power of attorney to give someone the responsibility to make these types of decisions.

In a perfect world, no one would ever need to rely on your living will. But if you ever lose the ability to give your own informed consent for medical treatment, your doctors will follow any instructions you have laid out in advanced directives. For example, you could end up in a coma, or lose the requisite legal capacity to make decisions with a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia. When this happens, a living will lets your doctors know how you’d like to proceed under certain circumstances. 

PREPARE FOR THE WORST WITH A LIVING WILL

You can include a wide variety of medical decisions in your living will. Living wills are best known for indicating whether or not a person would like to be kept on life support if they are in a persistent vegetative state. Additionally, you can also decide whether you would like to receive dialysis, medications, and palliative care. Many people will include a provision in their living wills that they would not like to be taken to the hospital in a medical emergency. You can also indicate if you would like to be an organ donor in your living will. 

LIVING WILL REVOCATION

As life changes, your beliefs and wishes about medical treatments may change as well. When this happens, you may need to revoke, or cancel, your living will and other advanced directives. You can revoke your living will by destroying it, which Arizona views as a revocatory act. Another way to revoke a living will is by creating a new living will that is “materially inconsistent” with your first living will. You can even announce that your new living will is meant to replace the previous one. Make sure your living will, as well as any future necessary revocations, are completed correctly with our dedicated Arizona estate planning team. 

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

You can make some medical decisions in advance with your living will, but what about the rest of your affairs? If you are ever in a coma, or are otherwise legally incapacitated as to decision-making, an Arizona durable power of attorney would go into effect. 

The person you choose for your power of attorney, also called your representative or agent, should clearly be someone that you can trust. Never hesitate to contact an attorney at our law office who is experienced in Arizona estate planning law. Schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered regarding your specific estate planning needs. My Arizona Lawyers understands what clients in Arizona need and expect from an estate planning law firm. Our Tempe Estate Planning Lawyers and Arizona Will Attorneys are top-rated, and our legal team is professional and dedicated to providing the best legal service in Arizona.

KEEP YOUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER WITH POWERS OF ATTORNEY

You can give your representative many responsibilities with a general power of attorney, which extends to decisions about business, finance, etc. This can last as long as you like, and can be revoked at any time you have the requisite mental capacity. You should consider having an alternate named in your general power of attorney in case your first choice is unable to fulfill their duties. 

Special Power of Attorney 

Tempe Power of Attorney Lawyers

Maybe you only want someone to complete an important transaction on your behalf on a one time basis. If so, you should use a special power of attorney. This type of power of attorney can be useful in more situations than you being in a coma. Let’s say that you are on an extended trip out of the country and want to transfer the title of your vehicle to one of your children. You could also use a special power of attorney if you are expecting to be deployed or incarcerated. For more information about how to give someone the authority to complete a one-time transaction on your behalf, call 480-833-8000 to speak to our Tempe estate planning lawyers

If you want someone to make your health care decisions for you, you can indicate who should make those decisions with a health care power of attorney. It can also be used for mental health care matters. This can be used in conjunction with your advanced directives. 

Your chosen power of attorney could predecease you, or you could have a falling out with them. When this happens, you will need to revoke any applicable powers of attorney. Your revocation needs to be executed properly, and communicated to all involved parties so they know how to proceed if you ever lose your legal capacity. Our Tempe estate planning attorneys can help you revoke and replace your powers of attorney as necessary at an affordable price. 

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PROBATE

If you’ve just started considering creating your estate plan, you may be wondering what exactly probate is. If you’re a little more familiar with the process, you may be wondering why probate is so undesirable. Read on to learn more about the probate process. When you’re ready to plan your estate to minimize the time and money your loved ones will spend on probate, call 480-833-8000 for your free consultation.

THE PROBATE PROCESS IN ARIZONA

There are actually a few different types of probate in Arizona. The first is informal probate. As the name suggests, this is the simplest type of probate. This applies when there are no disputes or challenges in the probate process, decreasing the need for the court’s involvement. Formal probate is necessary when there are disputes, such as to the validity of your will. Supervised probate comes into play when an interested party requests the court’s intervention. Your executor will need the court’s approval at every step of the probate process.

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PROBATE BASICS IN ARIZONA

Probate is the official process the court uses to validate and distribute your will. Technically, every estate in Arizona is required to go through probate.  The process begins when your estate’s executor files your will and death certificate with the court. Probate also gives your creditors the opportunity to claim payment for any debts you didn’t settle before passing away. Your heirs (or anyone who expected to be an heir) might dispute your will in probate court. 

ARIZONA SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVIT

With all that goes into probate in Arizona, you may be baffled about how much work it will take to transfer a relatively modest estate. Fortunately, Arizona allows small estates to use an affidavit to bypass the probate process. Estates are measured in respect to real property, or real estate, and personal property, which is just about everything else. To qualify for a small estate affidavit in Arizona, the estate must have less than $100,000 in real property and $75,000 in personal property. The executor must wait 30 days after the grantor’s death to file a personal property affidavit, and six months to file a real property affidavit. Contact our Tempe Estate Planning Office for assistance.

FREE CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY

Contact My AZ Lawyers to schedule a free consultation. Consult with an expert in the Arizona Estate Planning law. Our legal team will assist you in every step of your case and will provide you with Arizona’s best legal representation.  Free Confidential Consultations.  Call 480-833-8000.

THE DOWNSIDES OF PROBATE IN ARIZONA

There are good reasons that people use estate planning to reduce the need for probate after they pass away. Time can be an important factor for many. The probate process usually takes about six months to complete, but can take longer, think years, if someone disputes the will or brings other challenges in court. Plus, if these challenges are brought, your heirs will need to hire probate attorneys to defend against these challenges. Probate defense can be costly in both time and money. Another negative of the probate process is that it is public, so your own privacy as well as your heirs’ will be compromised.  Seeking the assistance of experienced Tempe Estate Planning Attorneys will limit many of the downsides to Probate in Tempe, Arizona.

Asset Transfers that Can Help You Avoid Probate

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There are several ways to transfer assets to your loved ones that don’t require probate. Using these might even bring your estate’s value within Arizona’s small estate affidavit limits, eliminating the need for probate altogether. Some examples of non-probate transfers include:

  • Gifts: You can give away gifts before you pass away to reduce the size of your estate. Most people try to stay under the $15,000 yearly gift limit to avoid tax liability for gift giving. 

  • Trust contributions: Assets that you contribute to a trust transfer directly to the beneficiary without the need for probate. There are several types of trusts, which are explained below. 

  • Payable-on-death accounts: These accounts transfer to a person that you choose once you pass away. That person will not be able to access the account, or its funds, until you pass. 

  • Joint tenancy: Houses, bank accounts, and other assets can be held in joint tenancy between two people. This is commonly done with married couples, so that a shared asset can go straight to the spouse without probate when one spouse passes away. Contact our Arizona law team for more information about titling your assets in joint tenancy. 
  • Policy designations: Your life insurance policy and retirement policy aren’t included in your estate, and should go to your chosen beneficiary without court interference. 

TRUSTS

Trusts have the reputation of being endless piles of money that spoiled rich kids have and squander. But trusts might actually be useful for your specific needs, even if you only have a modest estate. They transfer on your death without going through probate, or you can set certain requirements that must be met after your death in order for them to transfer. That doesn’t mean establishing one or more trusts will be simple. Read on to learn more about the different types of trusts you can use to plan your estate in Arizona.  Contact our Tempe Estate Planning Lawyers.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ARIZONA ESTATE WITH TRUSTS

Different Types of Trust in Arizona:

  • Revocable living trusts

    You guessed it- these types of trusts can be revoked, changed, or canceled throughout your lifetime. You can also be the trustee of your own revocable living trust. This can make revocable trusts, also known as inter vivos trusts, desirable for grantors who value control and flexibility.

  • Educational Trusts

    These can be used to stow away money for your loved one’s educational expenses. You can set standards for which type of education the trust can be used. You can also name more than one person the beneficiary of an educational trust, and decide how the funds should be split between them. 

  • Family Trusts

    These trusts can also be called credit shelter trusts or bypass trusts. These trusts can help your family members avoid both probate court and tax liability. Additionally, you can also use a dynasty trust to pass down to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

  • Irrevocable Trusts

    Unlike revocable trusts, these trusts can’t be changed once completed. The grantor will be surrendering all control of any assets they contribute to the trust. Assets contributed to an irrevocable trust can’t be used for lines of credit, but they will be protected from your creditors. Using an irrevocable trust may allow you to reduce the tax liability for the transfer as well. 

  • Special Needs Trusts

    If someone you love is diagnosed with an illness or disability, you may wish to leave at least some of your estate to help with these expenses. However, certain methods of transfer could disqualify the recipient from receiving government aid like Social Security and Medicaid. A special needs trust can help your loved one with costs stemming from their condition without disqualifying them from financial aid. 

  • Life Insurance Trusts

    These trusts are always irrevocable. This removes your life insurance policy from your estate, and the probate process. You won’t be able to borrow against the value of your life insurance policy once you have created a life insurance trust. 

AVOID COMMON ESTATE PLANNING SLIP-UPS

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Making mistakes in your estate plan could leave a huge, potentially expensive mess for your loved ones to deal with after you pass away. Make sure that all of your documents are executed properly as per Arizona law. Proper execution assures that they hold up against validity challenges in Probate court. Therefore, you should also make sure that your witnesses are ones that you can trust so that no one challenges your mental capacity at the time of signing.

Another common mistake in estate planning is waiting until the last minute, or until it is too late altogether. It’s never too early to start building your estate plan.  Things like emergency medical treatment documents like advanced directives and health care powers of attorney. Furthermore, you should also have a will not just to indicate who should receive your possessions, but who should take care of your minor children and be your estate’s executor as well.  Our Tempe Estate Attorneys can assist.

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FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN ARIZONA ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY

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Contact an Arizona Estate Attorney Near You
Our Tempe Estate Attorneys find that things tend to go more smoothly when you discuss your intentions with your beneficiaries. Therefore, it gives them more reasonable expectations, and can reduce disputes in probate court. Communication can also ensure that your estate is distributed using your most recent estate planning documents.  Our Tempe Estate Planning Team can assist you.  

A sloppy will, trusts, powers of attorney, and the rest of your estate plan will create a headache for you and your loved ones. Thus, it’s important that each part is executed correctly, or it could cost your family thousands in legal fees and taxes. Therefore, our Arizona estate planning team has the skills to efficiently create your strategic estate plan with affordable rates and payment plan options. Get started today for free with your initial consultation at 480-833-8000.  We offer safe, confidential phone consultations for people seeking Estate Planning in Tempe, AZ.