Elder Lawyer Chandler AZ
An elder lawyer in Chandler, AZ from The Citadel Law Firm has encountered many families at odds following the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence, especially when someone does not take the time to develop an estate plan. If one family member isn’t happy about his or her inheritance, he or she may become angry with everyone and start a family brawl. The last thing you want is for your family to break apart after you’re gone. Our Chandler, Arizona elder lawyer at the Citadel Law Firm can assist you in preventing fights over your will.
If your family members know what to expect from their inheritances, they will be less likely to be upset when the will is read. That’s why you should try to explain your decisions to your loved ones while you’re still alive. For example, if you plan to give your youngest daughter a bigger inheritance because she isn’t as financially secure as her other siblings, you should tell all the siblings this as soon as possible. If they understand your reasoning, they will be less likely to feel hurt or confused later. We know that these conversations can be challenging to navigate, which is why a Chandler, AZ elder lawyer is available to help you.
Select an Executor Wisely
The executor of your will is the person who pays your final bills and makes sure all your wishes are carried out after you’re gone. We cannot stress enough the importance of choosing an executor wisely. You will want to be very selective in choosing this person. They should be responsible, honest, organized and a good communicator.
Before you appoint someone as your executor, you should first ask the person if he or she is up for the task. You never know what sorts of obligations a person already has, and you don’t want to appoint someone who is too busy for the job. We also recommend that you identify a few backups in the event your executor is no longer willing or available when the time comes.
Update Your Will When Necessary
It’s likely that you will have to update your will at least a few times in your life. Experts recommend updating your will whenever you experience a major life change, such as the birth of a child, marriage, divorce or death. If you don’t update your will accordingly, it won’t reflect your current wishes and could cause problems among your family members after you’re gone.
Removing the Executor of a Will
If you change your mind about who should have the role of executor, we can offer assistance. As life changes, so can relationships. The last thing you want is for someone who has become an enemy to still hold the role of executor for your will after you have passed on. If this is a change that must be done quickly, don’t hesitate to call us right now.
Information For Loved Ones:
When an Executor Violates Their Fiduciary Duty
If you are involved in the settling of an estate as an heir or another interested party, you may have grounds to petition the probate court to appoint a new executor. This generally occurs when the will’s administrator or executor mishandles an estate. They have a legal and moral obligation to follow the rules of Arizona, which includes the requirement that they deal fairly and honestly with the distribution of the estate’s assets. They are also obligated to pay the estate’s debts before distributing the assets.
If a beneficiary has suffered a loss because of the executor, or if party is owed money by the estate, they can hire a member of our team at The Citadel Law Firmto protect their rights. An AZ elder lawyer in Chandler can also file a claim against the executor to recover damages.
When an Executor is Incompetent or Engages in Misconduct
An executor is simply someone named by a decedent during their lifetime to settle the will maker’s estate after their passing. In certain situations, such as when the decedent did not leave a valid will, the probate court will assign an individual the role of executor. But people sometimes make mistakes in the judgement of a person’s character, and a probate judge who does not know the family members can make a mistake as well. The person named as executor may be incompetent to adequately perform their duties, they may be dishonest, or both.
Because a beneficiary may also be the executor, the situation could become complicated and result in unfair losses to other beneficiaries. When a Chandler, Arizona elder lawyer represents a client, they will offer proof to the probate judge that makes it clear that the executor should be replaced. A court is likely to agree if the complaint is one or more of the following:
- The executor is unable to carry out their duties.
- The executor refuses to comply with a probate or other court order.
- The executor has used funds belonging to the estate to pay for their own personal expenses or are using such funds in another inappropriate way.
- The executor is failing to safeguard the estate’s assets.
- The executor has a felony conviction on their record.
Leaving Sentimental Items in Your Will
When many people think of items passed down in a will, they imagine homes, bank accounts and other expensive assets. However, there’s much more to estate planning than money. They’re also about relationships. It’s important to think long and hard about who you want to inherit your jewelry, photos, antiques and other sentimental items.
If you want to ensure that certain items will be left to certain people, specify that in your will. It isn’t enough to simply say, “I want my personal belongings to split equally among my children.” Instead, you should say something like, “I want to leave my family photo albums to my sister and my jewelry to my oldest daughter.”
Is It Better to Give These Items While You’re Still Alive?
When making your estate plan, you have the option of leaving your person items to your heirs while you’re still alive. The idea might seem strange at first, but it actually has many benefits. As your elder lawyer in AZ may tell you, there are several good reasons to give away these items right now:
You’ll find out what your loved ones truly want
If you give away your personal items when you’re still alive, you can find out what everyone actually wants to inherit. For example, you might think that your sister wants your jewelry when she really wants your photos albums or paintings. When you sit down with your family members, ask them which items of yours they’d like to have.
You can prevent family arguments down the line
Presenting your family members with gifts right now can also help avoid turmoil in the future. If your sister, for example, expected to get your jewelry, but you gave it to your best friend instead, it may create a lot of hurt feelings. If you give away these items right now, you can avoid surprises in the future a lot of unneeded stress on your loved ones.
You can avoid gift taxes
If you give your family member your personal items while you’re still alive, you can also avoid hefty gift taxes.
You’ll get to see the smiles on your family member’s faces
There’s no greater joy than seeing your loved ones truly enjoy the gifts you give them. If you present them with their gifts while you’re still alive, you can do just that. They will also have the chance to thank you for giving them such a great gift.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer
If you have additional questions about your will, you should talk to a reputable estate planning lawyer from The Citadel Law Firm as soon as possible. Wills and other estate planning documents are complex and shouldn’t be handled alone. We can help you establish a valid will that clearly states your wishes.
Hire an Experienced Chandler, AZ Elder Lawyer
Although it’s possible to draft your own will online, it isn’t advisable. A will is a very sensitive document and you don’t want to risk making a mistake on it. We can offer insight as you draft a valid will that includes all of your wishes and help you avoid common mistakes, reducing issues among your family members down the road.
If you follow these tips above, you can reduce the risk of arguments over your will. We have helped many people establish their estate plans. If you have additional questions about your will, you should consult with an Arizona elder lawyer in Mesa from The Citadel Law Firm.