An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you with your estate plan today.
Planning your estate is a major task, and many don't know when or how to start. In this guide, learn when the best time to start.
According to a recent survey, almost 70% of American adults admit they haven't done any estate planning yet. That number has actually increased over the last decade even though a worldwide pandemic took place during it.
The good news is that another recent survey suggested Arizonans, in particular, seem to take estate planning more seriously than those in other states. Over half of them have taken the time to create a will. But even still, that leaves millions of Arizonans without the proper estate planning.
Not having an estate plan in place can open the door for probate court proceedings or estate litigation. The results may be devastating for some families. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you avoid that.
Have you started planning your estate? If not, you should learn more about when you should start the estate planning process. It'll let you know when it's going to be time to bring an estate planning attorney on board to assist you.
Discover when you should begin to plan your estate below and then set out to create a last will and testament or a revocable living trust as part of your estate plan, as well as other important estate planning documents.
When Should You Begin Planning Your Estate in Arizona?
There are some differing opinions as far as when you should start planning your estate. But generally speaking, most experts will tell you that it wouldn't be a bad idea at all to begin planning your estate as soon as you turn 18 and become a legal adult.
When you turn 18, you'll technically be in charge of all your finances. You might also find that you'll be in charge of things like your healthcare.
As a result, you should have some say over what will happen to your finances and who will make important medical decisions on your behalf. You can take control of these things by doing estate planning. Accidents unfortunately happen and having a healthcare power of attorney or a durable power of attorney is essential for young adults.
All of this being said, there are very few young adults who turn 18 and automatically think to begin planning their estates. Most people choose not to do it at that time, and because of this, they end up putting it off and then get confused about when they should start planning their estates.
It's why you might want to pick one of the major milestones that'll often take place in your 20s or maybe even your 30s and use it as motivation to do estate planning. Here are some of the milestones that might give you a great reason to plan your estate:
- Getting hired for your first "real" job
- Marrying the love of your life
- Purchasing your first home
- Having your first child
- Inheriting a large sum of money from a grandparent or another relative
- Being the beneficiary of a life insurance policy
If you go through any of these events in your young life, you should use it as a sign to begin your estate plan. It'll help protect your finances, your assets, and whatever else you're able to accumulate. Most importantly it will protect you healthcare or the life of your minor children.
Why Is It Important to Plan Your Estate?
Once you go through the process of planning your estate, you'll understand why it's one of the most important things you'll ever do. But prior to doing it, you might not fully grasp what makes it such an important step in your life.
Here are several of the top reasons why you should make estate plan such a big priority:
- Gives you the opportunity to leave your assets to your preferred beneficiaries
- Allows you to continue to provide for any children who might be a part of your estate
- Prevents your beneficiaries from being subjected to certain taxes
- Ensures your family doesn't end up in turmoil due to uncertainty surrounding your estate if you pass away unexpectedly
- Provides you with peace of mind as you age
- It will protect your estate from estate taxes if you have a substantial estate
Estate plan might not necessarily be a ton of fun while you're working your way through the process. But you'll find that it'll be very beneficial for you and all your loved ones. An experienced estate planning lawyer will guide you and make the process less stressing. They will provide a comprehensive list of all the items that you should consider when doing your estate plan. They will review your assets with you, like bank account, 401ks, retirement accounts, etc, and help you decide if a wills or living trusts will suit your and your family better.
Most of our clients want to avoid the probate process at all cost. There are different legal instruments that will keep you out of probate proceedings. A legal instrument used a lot as part of estate planning in Arizona is a living trust. Living trusts are not suitable for everybody.
The estate administration after someone die with a living trust is not necessarily easier depending of the circumstances, specially if someone is planning to apply for medicaid or other government benefits. A last will created together with a beneficiary deed may be a better estate planning strategy depending of your family. You don't want to make your estate plan too complex for your heirs and beneficiaries.
What May Happen If You Don't Do Estate Planning?
If you don't do any estate planning in Arizona, you're going to put your family in a tough spot. In Arizona, there are laws of intestate succession in place that are designed to divide a person's assets up automatically. If your estate has more than $75,000 in assets like bank accounts or retirement accounts, or more than $100,000 in real property it is very likely that your estate will be subject to probate. That will put a lot of pressure in your family and your beneficiaries.
A state probate court will take a look at everything from a person's marital status to the number of kids they have and begin assigning ownership of assets based on the intestate succession laws. Things will be done very "by the book" in this case. A personal representative will be appointed.
In some instances, this will work out just fine. But there will also be a chance that some of your assets could end up falling into the wrong hands. If, for example, you were on the verge of getting a divorce in Arizona at the time of your death, your spouse would still likely be entitled to get access to your assets even though that might not have been what you would have wanted.
Estate planning in Arizona is specially important if you are part of a blended family.
Planning your estate in Arizona will guarantee your final wishes are honored. It'll prevent a situation in which the state will have to determine what to do with your assets without any input from you. Your beneficiaries will be pleased.
How Can You Start the Estate Planning Process?
As you can see, planning your estate isn't something you should put off for any longer than you have to. The sooner you're able to do it, the more you'll be able to benefit from the estate planning process. Getting your estate planning documents in place with an estate planning attorney will help you achieve peace of mind. Estate planning in Arizona is easier than you think.
To get this process moving in the right direction, you should call on a trusted estate planning attorney in Chandler, Arizona to lend a hand. They'll be able to guide you through the process so that you can plan your estate without any problems.
You can rely on Citadel Law Firm PLLC to assist you with every aspect of the estate planning process, including:
- Last Will and Testament
- Living Will
- Revocable Living Trust
- General Durable Power of Attorney
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Beneficiary Deed
- Irrevocable Trust
You'll find that planning your estate will be so much simpler than you could have ever imagined when you have our law firm in your corner and an attorney that you can trsut.
Contact Us for All Your Estate Planning Needs in Arizona
Planning your estate in Arizona is something you can do at just about any time after you turn 18. But you'll always be better off tackling an important task like this sooner rather than later.
You should also get into the habit of updating your estate plans every few years as you continue to reach major milestones in your life. You'll sleep better at night knowing your assets and your beneficiaries will have all the protection they need. Looking for the guidance of an attorney is an important part of your estate plan. In the event of your death they will manage your wishes with your heirs and your family.
Reach out to us at Citadel Law Firm PLLC to start planning your estate in Arizona. Our estate planning attorneys will be pleased to help you and your family with your estate plan. We serve those in Chandler, AZ as well as those in Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and San Tan Valley.
Call (480)565-8020 or click here to schedule your free estate planning consultation today.