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Notice:  Safeguard Estate & Financial, LLC is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice or draft legal documents.  The following is general information and should not be considered individual legal advice.  Safeguard Estate & Financial, LLC works with the attorney of your choice to coordinate your complete estate plan.

Wills, Trust & More.

Estate planning is the process of arranging ownership and use of assets to help meet lifetime financial objectives in a tax efficient manner, and simultaneously help provide for survivors’ needs and the disposition of property at death.

According to the American Bar Association:

“Statistical studies show that 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan…” and, “…simply signing a will or power of attorney with a “do it yourself” plan my actually be worse than doing nothing, costing a “special needs” family member the loss of government benefits or resulting in an ex-spouse inheriting assets.”

 

This is where we come in to help.

What is a Will?

A will is a written document that directs the disposition of a person’s property after his or her death. A will nominates one or more “personal representatives,” sometimes also referred to as “executors,” to manage and distribute the estate. A will can also nominate a person to serve as a guardian and/or a conservator for a minor child or incapacitated adult.

What happens if a person dies without leaving a will?

Any assets in his or her estate will be distributed according to Arizona laws that designate which family members, or “heirs,” will receive assets.

Does a will affect all assets?

Assets for which you have set up a different method of transfer, such as beneficiary designations, payable on death (POD) accounts, transfer on death (TOD) accounts, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, community property with right of survivorship, and/or titled into the name of a Trustee, are not affected by a will. Remember to check whom you have named as beneficiary on any IRAs, annuities, life insurance and/or retirement plans. You can also name a beneficiary for your car, and record a beneficiary deed for real property. Assets with these kinds of transfer mechanisms automatically pass to the surviving owners or named beneficiaries.

Can a will be changed?

A will can be changed or revoked any time before death. Often simple changes are made by an amendment called a “codicil.”

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of submitting a deceased individual’s will to the court, appointing a personal representative and following through with the legal requirements to dispose of the person’s assets.

Probate proceedings are governed by the law of the state where the deceased person maintained his or her legal residence at the time of death, and by the probate laws of any other state where real property was located at the time of death.

Does a person need a large estate to have a will?

No. Any person wishing to designate who will receive their assets at death should have a will. Individuals with minor children will want a will to nominate a guardian and to manage the assets for the minor children in a trust (which may be created under the will) and/or a custodial account.

Who should draft a will?

Ideally a lawyer should draft a will. Only an expert legal professional can advise the best alternatives with respect to an individual’s estate plan.

What is a holographic will?

A holographic will is hand-written by the person making the will and needs to be signed by that person. Although a date is not required, it is recommended so that the last will of that person can be determined.

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust, or revocable trust, is an estate-planning arrangement under which a trustee (which can be one or more individuals and/or a bank) takes title to the assets of the original owner (the “settlor”). In most cases, the settlor is also the initial trustee. The terms of the document designate who will take over as trustee when the initial trustee is no longer willing and able to act. The settlor is often the only beneficiary during his/her life.

What are the advantages of trusts?

  • Cost savings. Avoiding probate can save substantial fees and costs.
  • Incapacity management. Named trustees can manage assets for a settlor’s benefit if he or she is incapacitated, avoiding the need for a court-appointed conservator.
  • Tax savings. A trust arrangement can reduce estate taxes for a married couple in certain situations. Ask a lawyer for more information.
  • Beneficiary protection. Setting up a continuing trust arrangement in either a will or a revocable trust can protect beneficiaries who are too young or otherwise unsuitable to receive all of their inheritance outright in a lump sum.

How do I obtain a will or trust?

Consult with a lawyer experienced in estate planning to determine which estate-planning options are best for you. Using the services of someone not trained in estate planning can end up costing more money to fix problems.

In discussing an estate plan with a lawyer, make sure to speak openly and honestly about all of your assets. The person preparing your plan cannot determine your needs without knowing your circumstances.

(Source: https://www.azbar.org/legalhelpandeducation/consumerbrochures/willsandtrusts/)

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Our Office:

Safeguard Estate & Financial

1405 N. Hayden Rd.

Scottsdale, AZ

85257