Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and transfer of assets in anticipation of incapacity or death and planning for the health and well-being of you and your loved ones when you are no longer able to do so yourself.
Do You Need Estate Planning?
Many people believe that hiring an estate planning attorney is necessary only if you have a lot of assets or a certain net worth. However, even for those individuals with relatively smaller estates, it’s important that one’s assets are managed properly during incapacity and that whatever remains upon death is passed along according to his or her wishes and not someone else’s. Of course, the process does become more complex depending on the character and value of assets and how much control over those assets is exercised. The tools you use will depend on your individual circumstances after consultation with an estate planning lawyer.
Estate planning applies to you if:
- You have any assets, including personal belongings, that you want to pass down to others.
- You would like to gift some of your assets to charity.
- You have a minor child.
- You’re a parent of a child with special needs.
- Your family is dependent on your income.
- You do not have documents in place to protect you in the event of a sudden disability.
- You own a business.
- You do not want your heirs to have to go through probate for your estate.
A will is a crucial document created with the help of a lawyer. It specifies who will receive your property after your death and who will be responsible for administering your estate. If you have minor children, your will includes who you want to serve as guardian upon your death. If you die without a will, Arizona Law dictates how your property will be distributed.
The cornerstone of many estate plans is a trust. A revocable living trust is an excellent way to avoid probate and to exercise greater control over when and how certain beneficiaries will receive distributions.
Probate is court process for transferring title of certain assets in your estate to your beneficiaries and resolving any creditor claims in an orderly fashion. In many circumstances, it is possible to avoid probate through jointly owned accounts with rights of survivorship and accounts with payable-on-death (POD) designations. However, there are important limitations on this approach in terms of flexibility.
Estate Planning Goals
A proper estate plan helps you:
- Make your wishes clear about health care at the end of your life
- Indicate how you intend for your assets to be distributed
- Provide for the needs of your family.
You need experienced guidance to ensure that the documents and strategies are aligned with your individualized plan. Goals should be established for the most efficient and cost-effective means of administering your estate, avoiding probate when possible and appropriate, providing for your heirs upon your death, and minimizing your tax burden. Ways that a knowledgeable Tucson estate planning lawyer can assist you include:
- Creating trusts
- Estate tax planning
- Drafting advance health care directives and living wills
- Generating financial powers of attorney
- Planning for the care of your children in the event of your death
- Estate planning for mixed families
We will work with you directly to ensure that your estate planning documents reflect individual circumstances, taking into account such things as the number of children and grandchildren you have, the ages and marital status of your children and grandchildren, and your own marital and financial status.
The strategies you choose will affect you and your loved ones now and in the future. In the wake of a sudden incapacitating event, long-term care crisis or death, make sure your loved ones know your wishes. Having your specific wishes documented can make a difficult situation much easier for your family members.
Our estate planning lawyers can help you understand your options as well their legal and tax ramifications. This empowers you to make the most informed decisions about your future. You need to ensure that your wishes and your goals for your estate are executed quickly, effectively and without unnecessary hardship for your loved ones.
Contact Us Today
Our estate planning lawyers have years of experience working one on one with people in need of a long-term view. We will take as much time as necessary to understand your unique situation. We know how personal and important estate planning is, and that’s why we give you our focus and commitment as your lawyers. Call us at 520-518-3781 or contact us online.
Let's Begin Solving Your Legal Problem
At West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman P.L.L.C, we are proud to serve people in Tucson and beyond. To speak with an attorney, call us at 520-790-7337
West. Longenbaugh & Zickerman PLLC
310 S. Williams Boulevard,
Tucson, AZ 85711
Mon-Fri: 8:30am - 5pm