When most people in Arizona think of estate plans, they probably think of them in terms of making a plan to distribute assets at the end of life. This, of course, is indeed one of the main goals of any given estate plan. However, these plans should probably be thought of more as "worst-case scenario" plans that include other documents in addition to wills and trusts.
People who have lived in the Phoenix area all of their lives or who have even just chosen to retire here come from all different sorts of economic and family situations. As a result, each one of them brings to the table different estate planning needs.
There was a time when people thought that estate planning is only meant for the wealthy. That is no longer the case as people of all economic backgrounds are starting to understand the benefits of a well-crafted estate plan. The first step toward that goal is drafting a will. A will contains the final directions of a person regarding what is to be done with his or her property after death. In the absence of a will, the estate is entered into probate and assets are distributed per the probate court's order.
Losing a parent is a saddening experience for any person. The love and care that parents provide is often irreplaceable and, therefore, the emotional stress is often too much to handle for many people. However, in addition to coping with the loss, the heirs need to ensure that the estate of the deceased is managed adequately. Estate administration can include collecting and managing the assets of the estate, paying taxes and debts and distributing assets as directed in the will or by passing the estate through probate.
Soon after a family member dies, it's essential to begin settling their affairs and their estate. Even people who don't have an estate plan have an estate in the eyes of the law. You'll need to locate a number of documents.
This is the year that you finally sit down with an attorney and develop your estate plan. You've worked hard your entire adult life and have a fair amount to show for it. Should you leave your assets to your children and grandchildren when you die or to charitable organizations whose work you support?