There are multiple types of estate plans that meet different people’s unique needs. For instance, some plans involve only a single document, like a last will and testament. Alternatively, an estate plan could combine multiple directives, including living wills, trusts, and more.
While these plans can vary dramatically, the steps involved in creating them are similar. Every person developing an estate plan with the help of a dedicated estate attorney must make the same decisions regarding assets, beneficiaries, and directives. Experienced legal counsel could help with every aspect of the Prescott estate planning process.
The first step of the process of creating any estate plan must involve the making of an inventory. After all, it is impossible to make a plan without knowing the scope of the assets that the estate will hold. This process should include both tangible and intangible assets belonging to an individual.
Tangible assets are the physical objects and property owned by a person at the time of their death. This includes real property, such as homes or farmland, as well as personal property like vehicles, boats, or art.
Intangible assets include accounts, certificates of deposits, or insurance policy proceeds. It can also involve stocks, bonds, or other commercial paper. Intangible assets also include ownership shares in a business.
Once a person marshals their assets, they should next identify their beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the individuals that will inherit a person’s assets upon their passing. These beneficiaries will vary depending on that person’s final wishes, but they typically include the decedent’s surviving spouse or children.
Part of choosing beneficiaries also includes considering the unintended consequences that could come with these assets. Different beneficiaries can face different tax consequences, which should be considered when creating an estate plan in Prescott and throughout Arizona.
When a person creates an estate plan, they will need someone to oversee it. This individual is known as a fiduciary. In some estate plans, there could be multiple judiciary roles to fill. For instance, wills typically require an executor, while trusts require trustees.
When making an estate plan, it is possible to appoint specific individuals to these roles. They are under no obligation to serve as fiduciary, so it is best to speak with these individuals first before listing them as a fiduciary.
A fiduciary could be a close family member, including a spouse or a child. In many cases, a person establishing an estate plan will select a professional such as a local attorney or banker to serve as their fiduciary after their death.
The estate planning process also requires the establishment of the directives in the area that will enact a person’s final wishes after their passing. There are multiple documents that are part of this process, starting with the last will and testament.
It is not uncommon for an estate plan to include a variety of trusts as well. These trusts could simplify an estate and even avoid the need for probate court altogether. Other estate planning documents could include limited powers of attorney and health care directives.
A critical part of the estate planning process in Prescott involves discussing your options with an experienced attorney. Estate planning requires a number of steps and even a minor error can have lasting consequences.
Do not put your final wishes at risk. Speak with a compassionate lawyer right away to discuss planning your estate.
Willison Law, PC
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