Putting off cleaning out your garage is one thing; putting off establishing your estate plan is quite another. There are countless excuses as to why people have yet to establish their estate plan, but what they don't understand is the countless complications that they will bring upon their loved ones should anything happen to them. Are you guilty of putting off your estate plan? Make one of your New Year's Resolutions this year to get your estate plan established.
Everyone needs an estate plan regardless of age, marital status, children or financial standing. Estate planning is about making sure your wishes are known and honored if you become incapacitated or pass away. Estate planning is also about selecting someone you trust to make decisions regarding your healthcare and finances and selecting someone to take care of your children upon your death. When you have an estate plan in place, your children or other loved ones will not be burdened with making tough decisions on your behalf or dealing with costly court proceedings when they are already dealing with your illness or 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 and result in costly probate and other court proceedings.
- In addition, your estate plan may also cover:
- Pets – who will care for them;
- Funeral arrangements such as burial or cremation;
- Organ donation; and
- Distribution of personal items or family heirlooms.
Even if you do not expect any major life changes, you should review your estate plan every 3 to 5 years to make sure that it matches your ongoing wishes and circumstances.
At Owens & Perkins we have experienced estate planning attorneys that will assist you with creating or updating your estate plan. Please contact our office at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a complimentary ½ hour consultation.