Estate Planning in Arizona

Preparing for an unforeseen loss or events can make things easier for families and loved ones.  This loss does not always mean death since estate planning in Arizona can cover temporary or long-term incapacitation.  Taking the time to prepare for death or extended illness or injury in calm times will make all of the difference in more troubled times.

The Importance of Powers of Attorney

Having a power of attorney can make things much easier in the event that you become seriously ill or injured and are unable to manage your affairs.  When it comes time to start estate planning in Arizona set aside some time create, and sign, a durable power of attorney appointing a trusted individual to manage your assets.  Without a power of attorney your family could find themselves in a terrible situation.  They would be unable to manage your affairs or make choices that are in your best interest.

By creating a power of attorney to use when you are alive but unable to manage your finances you will be ensuring your peace of mind along with your families.  The person appointed will be able to make gifts on your behalf to help family members manage any financial burdens or unexpected emergencies.  They would also be able to set up trusts and make other arrangements for your financial well being.  They can also deal with the IRS on your behalf or any other financial institutes or businesses.

Death Without a Power of Attorney or Will

Often people prepare to begin estate planning but are never able to get started.  When this happens a family finds itself trying to determine how to dispose of assets when no will or power of attorney has been created or signed.  The state of Arizona has created laws specifically for this situation with property being designated as either personal property or community property (property owned with a spouse or others).

In Arizona the spouse of a deceased individually retains all property and assets if there are no children or your children are also your spouses children.  If your children are not your spouses’ children then they will receive one half of your personal and community property.  In the absence of children siblings or parents can inherit according to Arizona state law.

Legal Alternatives to Wills

In the event that you die without a will there are still ways for your children or parents to inherit property or other assets.  One way is to name parents or children as joint holders on any assets such as vehicles or bank accounts.  Include a right of survivorship which guarantees the surviving owner sole position of the property or funds.

It is also possible to leave children or parent’s money by naming them beneficiaries of life insurance policies or retirement accounts.  Trusts can also be set up for children.  If the children are underage a guardian and/or trustee can be appointed to manage the funds for the child while caring for them.  If you are unsure of how to appoint a trustee or set up a trust contact a local attorney that specializes in Arizona estate planning.

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