What does an estate planning attorney do in Phoenix, Arizona?
Most of our clients don't know what to expect when they come to their first estate planning consultation. Understand their role by reading our blog.
A lot of our potential new clients come to our office without a clear idea why they are here. Some people think they can just get estate planning documents online and be done with it. Estate planning is an on going process that will be in place until you pass away, and sometimes even after it. An estate planning attorney role is to create an estate plan strategy that is right for you and your family. We are here to give you legal advice that is right for you, not to sell documents.
Our goal when we ask someone to come for a consultation is to understand their needs and the needs of their family. Between other things our goal is to make sure their wishes are respected, their loved ones are protected, you have the right person or people to help you as your agent. You should create a long term relationship with your attorney with the goal of achieving peace of mind.
What does an estate planning lawyer do in Phoenix, Arizona?
The job of an estate planning attorney is very comprehensive. We added below a few things that are usually done by an attorney.
Help you to Avoid Probate Court
A lot of the clients that come to see us are worried about probate. The probate process is not fun. The probate process is stressful, time consuming and more expensive than a regular estate plan, specially for married couples. One of the roles of an estate planning attorney is to help you understand what the probate process is and to find the best estate plan option to avoid probate.
Create a Last Will and Testament for you
A last will and testament will express your wishes making sure that people know what you want in the future when you are no longer here. A last will and testament by itself doesn't avoid probate but if used in conjunction with a deed and powers of attorney (durable or medical) it may accomplish that goal as well.
A deed, like a quit claim deed or a beneficiary deed, will take care of your property. It is an important document with or without a living trust to protect your assets. Property can be transfer to your surviving spouse or heirs after dead without the need of probate if a deed was done correctly.
Using deeds incorrectly may cause tax issues. Our estate planning attorneys have a background in tax and they will be taking that into consideration when designing your estate plan.
Create an Power of Attorney for you
An estate planning lawyer can help you create powers of attorney for yourself and your loved ones. Estate planning attorneys can help you create general power of attorney, also know as durable or financial power of attorney, as well as health care powers of attorney.
A power of attorney is more important in case you become incapacitated and someone needs to make decisions related to your financial assets or your health as well. They give your agent powers to act in your behalf before your death.
When you work with our attorneys we create an estate plan and POAs for you that are very comprehensive. We will for example include a Living Will, HIPAA waivers, Mental Health Care power of attorney as well as Medicaid and Elder Law Provisions. We want to make sure that your family members or your personal representative has all the powers they need in case you become incapacitated.
Create a Living Trust for you
An estate planning attorney will help you create a trust that suits your needs. It can either be a revocable living trust, an irrevocable living trust, a dynasty trust (which is usually used as an estate planning strategy for blended families).
Creating a Living Trust in Arizona is just not putting in place a document. Selecting your agent and beneficiaries correctly, funding your trust with all your assets, taking into consideration any life insurance, retirement account and 401 k's matter, is also important. We also take into consideration taxes to make sure you don't get penalized by gifting to someone without knowing it.
Which estate planning questions should you ask an attorney?
What is estate plan?
Although that is the most basic question it is one that we think most of our potential new clients fail to ask. Estate Plan can be defined as the process of creating a plan where assets and responsibilities (like guardianship for a minor or health care decisions) are assign before someones death.
By creating and executing an estate planning strategy with an attorney you will protect your family, your beneficiaries and specially your children. It will guarantee that the legacy that you leave behind is according to your wishes.
What our video to understand the meaning of estate plan, click here to watch.
Do I need a living trust?
Living Trusts are a great instrument in Arizona. AZ has great laws for Trusts. But we don't like the approach "one size fits all" like some other law firms do. Estate plans are unique to your family and situation. Wills are great instruments to use when we know a client will eventually have to apply for Medicaid. Creating a Trust in that situation may prevent you for applying for government benefits.
At Citadel Law we take our planning services very seriously. We are not here to just draft documents for you. We are here to protect you and your family with a plan that is right for you. An estate plan should be designed to meet your needs. An Arizona estate planning attorney from our firm will offer your what he or she thinks is best for you, it may be a revocable living trust, or it may be a last will and testament, it also may be a health care power of attorney, a financial POA and a beneficiary Deed. That way your main asset, your home, will go to the right person and we also make sure an agent can make medical and financial decisions for your if you become incapacitated.
A trust is for sure not right for every person and for all our clients, we understand and we respect that. We recommend you go through the process with our firm to understand it better.
Who should I gave authority to in my estate plan?
Giving authority to the correct people, as well as having someone or a professional company as back ups for your agents can save you a lot of headache, time and money. If you have a back up agent you will not have to go to court to have one appointed.
When we review a trust done by another attorney, or a will in the same situation, we make sure to go over the list of agents and beneficiaries carefully. It is our job to guide you and help you understand what is the best way to choose agents for our estate planning documents.
Should I hire an Arizona lawyer to help me with my estate plan?
We get asked that frequently. We know that lawyers are not the only ones doing estate planning for clients. Financial advisors, banks, document specialists love to say that they can do your estate planning for much less money. Most estate plans that we see that weren't done by an estate planning attorney usually have a problem. They are a great source of revenue for our contest side of the business.
If you think paying a few thousand dollars for your will or trust is a lot of money wait until you have to hire an estate litigator. Their retainer amount is usually not less than $10,000 dollars, which is around four times what you would pay to have an estate planning designed for you. We have seeing some client spend up to $50,000 to solve an issue that could have been solved with a $2,500 plan done properly by an attorney before their death.
Having all your assets and life savings not properly protected before you pass away can have devastating life consequences for the people that stay. That is specially true if you have a blended family with children from different marriages. That is also specially true if you are not married to your partner.
Even lawyers that don't have estate planning as their main practice area usually make mistakes. Some fail to add mental health powers to your health care power of attorney, which can cause you to have to apply for guardianship in case you have dementia later in life, for example. A guardianship can cost up to $10,000 and it will have to be update every year, which will add to your legal bill every year.
Some lawyers or other professionals may recommend that you move property to your heirs name before you pass away causing tax issues. A tax law attorney retainer starts at $5,000, which is at least double of what you will pay for your estate planning portfolio.
Hiring an estate planning lawyer to help should be seeing as a cost, but as an investment in your future.
I have an estate plan from another estate. Should I redo it?
Estate planning laws are state specific. Arizona specially has some of the best trust laws in the whole United States. Only an attorney will be able to review your plan and give you proper legal advice to see if your plan needs to be redone or not.
At our office we offer you a free review with the goal of understanding it your current plan conforms to Arizona law. We also discuss it with you to see if the plan still achieve the goals that you have in mind. We have a background in elder law, tax law, as well as finance. We will take all that knowledge into consideration when reviewing your plan.
Arizona Estate Planning Lawyer in Phoenix Near You
Our law firm, Citadel Law Firm, will be pleased to help if you need Arizona estate planning help. Our estate planning lawyers in Chandler have experience with all types of cases. Having an experienced estate planning team guide you and help you with all your estate planning documents is an eye opening experience. That will bring your family members peace of mind when you pass away.
Schedule a free estate planning consultation today!
Call today at (480)565-8020 to schedule your free consultation today. If you prefer click here, or at the button below, to schedule your free estate plan consultation.