For many individuals, the thought of leaving their loved ones with unresolved debt, inheritance disputes, and surprise tax obligations is unthinkable. A proper estate plan can help a person ensure that their assets are distributed as they see fit and done so in a way that is efficient and fair.
A seasoned estate attorney could assist with the important work of developing an estate plan. From drafting a will to making decisions about your medical care when you are incapacitated, working with a Prescott estate planning lawyer could be highly beneficial.
A Prescott attorney has multiple tools at their disposal during the estate planning process. There are a variety of options available to each person considering their final wishes. Some of these legal options will work better than others, depending on the specific circumstances. A well-practiced lawyer could provide guidance on what elements of an estate plan could work best for each person.
The last will and testament is the basic building block of most estate plans. This document provides written instructions for the distribution of a person’s assets. Most wills go through a process known as probate, which is a court proceeding where a judge oversees this distribution.
Unlike wills, trusts are intangible entities that hold the property of the estate creator. These trusts are valuable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, assets that are distributed through a trust typically do not have to go through the probate process. This keeps the assets of the estate out of the public record and avoids substantial delays.
Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust may be changed during the course of the creator’s life for a variety of reasons while irrevocable trusts are much harder to alter. Once created, the property is removed from the creator and held until their death for the benefit of the designated beneficiaries. Additionally, irrevocable trusts can provide substantial tax benefits in some cases.
A living will is a formal written document that sets out a person’s wishes for their end-of-life care. These documents exist to ensure a person receives the medical care they prefer, even if they no longer are able to make those decisions themselves.
A power of attorney is a document that lets another person handle specific aspects of the document creator’s life when they are no longer able to do so themselves. A durable power of attorney allows the designated person to make financial decisions, while a healthcare power of attorney provides authority to made decisions on the person’s medical care.
Dying without an estate plan in place is known as dying intestate. This can have a variety of repercussions on a person’s surviving family. Dying without a will or trust leaves the assets of the decedent in the hands of the courts. This can be problematic since the courts are required to follow intestate succession, which are the rules for distributing the property of a person after their death. This process may not fit with the final wishes of the deceased individual.
Furthermore, failing to have estate plan in place can also impact the end of a person’s life. Without a power of attorney in place, there is no guarantee that a person’s wishes will be adhered to or respected. Thankfully, a hardworking attorney could help people in Prescott and throughout Arizona avoid these issues through proper estate planning.
There are many individual decisions that go into the estate planning process. A skilled attorney could walk you through every one of those steps to ensure the distribution for your property adheres to your wishes following your passing.
Do not leave your assets in the hands of the court. Call a Prescott estate planning lawyer today to maintain control of your property through the end of your life.
Prescott Family Lawyer | Willison Law, PC
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