Contrary to popular belief, Wills and Trusts are not just for the rich and famous. They are for anyone who wants to ensure their affairs are handled to their specifications following their death.
If you have assets (real estate, jewelry, family heirlooms, stocks/bonds, etc.), you need to ensure they are handled according to your wishes after your passing. If you are legally married and an Arizona resident, your assets will pass to your spouse upon your death. However, if your spouse precedes you in death, or if you die together, the chain of "who gets what" may become complicated.
Estate Planning is also about selecting someone you trust to make decisions regarding your healthcare and finances should you become incapacitated, and selecting someone to take care of your children upon your death.
Are you in a domestic partnership? If so, the laws of Arizona do not yet recognize domestic partners as a "married couple," no matter how long you have been together. Any assets not specifically held in both of your names or without a beneficiary designation will not transfer to the surviving partner. For example, if your home is held in only one partner's name and that partner dies, even though both of you were making payments on the mortgage, the surviving partner will have no legal right to remain in the home and the survivor can lose his/her fair share of equity in the home.
Additionally, your Estate Plan may also cover these provisions:
1) Pets – who will care for them;
2) Burial or cremation;
3) Organ donation;
4) Distribution of personal items; and
5) Avoid costly probate.
At Owens & Perkins, Attorney Spotlight we can answer your questions and help you devise a plan to put your affairs in order.
Please call us at (480) 630-2464 to schedule your initial