Why You Need To Have A Will & A Power of Attorney?
Will & Power Of Attorney: Two Documents To Manage Your Estate
When most people think of “estate planning,” they imagine the process of dispersing physical items, such as homes or vehicles, after someone passes away. But the reality is that real estate transfers are just one small piece of estate law. Estate planning encompasses the many ways that a person’s assets will be persevered, managed, and distributed.
When it comes to estate law, planning is imperative. This includes conversations about what happens as we age: who will be in charge of my affairs, what will happen if I cannot make decisions on my own behalf, where and how should I distribute my money and other assets. These questions are primarily answered by two crucial documents: a will and a power of attorney. It’s never too early to begin discussing these questions with your Tempe estate planning lawyer.
What is a Will & Why Do I Need One?
A will is a document that explicitly lists all of your assets and debts with clear directions about how your estate will be managed and how your assets will be divided or dispersed after your death. Having a will ensures that your wishes are respected and followed. You can limit the dispersion to one specific person or divide your remaining assets among your spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, or to a charity. A will can also include appointment of a legal guardian to care for your surviving minor children, if applicable.
When & How Do I Make a Will?
A will can be made at any time and then updated later as you acquire significant assets or go through life changes. Your estate attorney can update, change, or cancel the will at your directive at any time; you will likely need to update your will periodically after marriage, divorce, a home sale or purchase, the birth of children, or after your youngest child becomes a legal adult.
Making a will is affordable and simple. Although you can make one yourself, it’s ideal to work with an attorney who can make sure that your will avoids common legal mistakes that can render it invalid. It’s crucial that your will is legally binding and in accordance with all applicable laws. Working with an experienced Gilbert estate planning law firm is the best way to develop a comprehensive and legal will.
Your will should be stored in a safe location, such as your attorney’s office, a safe deposit box, or a fireproof safe along with other estate planning documents.
What is a Power of Attorney & Why Do I Need One?
A power of attorney is a mandate that you give to another person that enables them to make legal decisions on your behalf. There are four types of power of attorney:
- General Power of Attorney: An agent acting on your behalf can open bank accounts and manage your personal finances. This arrangement is no longer valid when you become incapacitated, pass away, or remove the power of attorney.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This designates another person to act on your behalf before, during, and after you become incapacitated.
- Special or Limited Power of Attorney: An agent is granted limited or specific powers in certain areas, such as the authority to sell a home or real estate after your death.
- Springing Durable Power of Attorney: This arrangement is made in advance and only becomes effective when a person becomes incapacitated.
How is Power of Attorney Drafted & Legalized?
In order for a power of attorney document to be legally recognized in Arizona, the grantor must be mentally competent when they sign the document. A power of attorney can be drafted by your Mesa estate planning attorney, which will verify that your documentation is in accordance with state laws. Your power of attorney must be signed in the presence of witnesses, helping to ensure that it is authentic, free of coercion, and that everyone who is involved is competent at the time of the signing. Additionally, the signatures must be notarized.
What is the Process For Obtaining a Power of Attorney?
There are a couple of steps that will need to be taken in order to draft and complete a power of attorney document. These include:
- Obtaining the necessary forms: Contact your Phoenix estate planning law office and tell them that you wish to create a power of attorney. They can guide you through the types of power of attorney and determine which is best for your situation.
- Drafting and completing the forms: Your attorney will draft a power of attorney document according to your wishes and needs. Be sure to carefully review this documentation along with your appointed agent(s) to make sure everyone fully understands the agreement.
- Get the document notarized: With your agent and attorney, sign the power of attorney documentation in the presence of a notary, which are generally available at any law office. As with a will, make copies and file them in safe places. It’s ideal to store all of your estate planning documentation together.
Although it can be difficult to have discussions about your estate, will, and power of attorney, you’ll appreciate peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be followed and that your legacy is secure.
Plan Your Estate with Arizona’s Trusted Estate Planning Lawyers
The legal team at My AZ Lawyers are experts in making estate planning simple. Let us help you gain peace of mind and prepare for the future with a will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documentation. With extensive experience in Arizona law and a compassionate understanding of the needs of our clients, we are your #1 choice for estate planning! Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
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