Estate Lawyer Chandler AZ
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What is an estate lawyer?
This is a common question among clients who have never used an attorney in the past. Most of the time, if people are referring to land, they will inquire specifically about a real estate lawyer. But the more general term estate lawyer typically refers to an attorney who practices in the general areas of estate planning and estate litigation. An Estate Lawyer Chandler will be able to help you with questions about estate planning and probate specifically for the state of Arizona.
An Estate Planning attorney is one who works with clients to protect their assets while they are alive and ensure that the clients' loved ones can manage assets and help make medical decisions for them, if necessary. The process of estate planning involves meeting with clients to determine their assets, needs, and desires. After establishing this, the estate planning attorney then structures and drafts an estate plan that may include a living trust, last will and testament, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, living will, and perhaps a Medicaid trust to warehouse and protect property from long term care costs. For more complex estate planning needs, the estate planning attorney may use other types of trusts and business entities to build in additional protections for the client and family.
Importantly, clients should also seek to build a long term relationship with their estate planning attorney rather than simply treat the exercise as a one-off transactional encounter. When one becomes ill, hospitalized, needs home health care, or institutionalized long term care, the second phone call after the medical provider is often the estate planning attorney who created the client's estate plan. Investing in this relationship enables the estate planning attorney to more readily and efficiently engage with the family to carry out the client's wishes.
After an estate planning client passes away, the process moves beyond the estate planning stage to the estate administration stage. Estate administration may take various forms depending on what a decedent put in place when he or she was alive. In the best case scenario, a decedent put in place an estate plan that included a fully funded living trust. When all assets are in the living trust, then the decedent's surviving spouse and other beneficiaries simply manage and distribute property according to the terms of the trust. This is a private affair among the family. There is typically no involvement of the courts. And the costs involved are minimal as the only professional services required are that of an attorney to assist with the administration of the trust (often called "trust administration") and a CPA to prepare the appropriate tax returns. An Estate Lawyer Chandler AZ can help you today.
If the decedent did not have a fully funded living trust, then the matter likely will have to involve a probate attorney. Probate is a form of litigation that seeks a court order to distribute property from one owner (the deceased client) to new owners, typically a surviving spouse, children, charities, or other named beneficiaries in a last will and testament. And while all probate proceedings are technically litigation, most are uncontested and simply seek the court order to distribute property either according to the wishes a decedent left in a last will and testament or, if a decedent left no will or other estate plan, according to the default distribution detailed in state laws. But because probate necessarily involves seeking a court order, the process can be much more expensive and much more time consuming than relying on a living trust to privately distribute assets among a deceased client's surviving family. An uncontested probate typically takes between 6-12 months to complete, is a public affair with most documents filed with the court becoming available to the public, and is generally more stressful for a decedent's surviving family.
Finally, if the distribution of a decedent's property is contested, then some form of more confrontational litigation ensues. This type of litigation may be referred to as estate litigation or probate litigation. These are often the most expensive and acrimonious types of court proceedings and are best avoided if at all possible.
An Estate Lawyer Chandler can help you with your estate needs. Call Citadel Law Firm PLLC today at (480)565-8020 to schedule you free consultation or click here to schedule it online. An Estate Lawyer can either talk to you about estate planning or help you address any probate needs. It will be a pleasure to help you.