Estate Planning Law
At Fleming & Monroe, PLC, we believe it’s never too early to start preparing for the future. For this reason, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your estate plan. As difficult as it may be to confront the idea of your own mortality or potentially becoming incapacitated, it is extremely important to start building a safety net now to preserve your legacy and protect your family. As Estate Lawyers, we offer the following services with regard to estate planning in Arizona:
- Estate Planning
- Last Will and Testament
- Durable Financial Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Medical Power of Attorney
Our Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek estate planning attorneys help you create a roadmap for your future. After discussing your personal circumstances in depth, we help provide clear direction on how you want your affairs to be handled while you are still living, as well as after you are gone. The benefits of developing an estate plan with one of our estate planning attorneys are far-reaching. Your estate plan can establish your intentions for dividing your assets among family members, friends, charities, or other loved ones; designate someone you trust to manage your financial and medical affairs if you become incapacitated; appoint a guardian for your minor children; nominate a personal representative to administer your estate; and much more.
Estate planning in Arizona is not just reserved for the rich and the elderly – everyone should have an estate plan. Irrespective of your wealth, age, or health, and regardless of whether you are married or have any children, estate planning is necessary to safeguard your future. Let our Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Queen Creek estate planning attorneys protect your future. Choosing to not participate in advanced planning can make a bad situation far worse. For instance, if you died tomorrow without a will or trust, your estate would be subject to division according to Arizona’s laws of intestate succession. This means that the wealth you accumulated over your lifetime may not go to the beneficiaries you would have preferred. Without leaving clear instructions, your family and friends are left with many questions left unanswered, which could result in a court battle over your estate, which is the last thing most people would want for their family members left behind.
Last Will and Testament:
A Last Will and Testament provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children, and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children, and even what happens to your pets – making decisions that might not reflect your desires. Our experiences attorneys draft wills that clearly convey your intentions.
An Arizona trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer legal ownership of assets during your lifetime into a trust, as part of an estate plan. If you create a living trust in Arizona, you are the trust grantor. Your assets become owned by the trust which will be managed by the person you choose as trustee. The purpose of a trust is to ensure that your assets go to the people you choose, your beneficiaries. A revocable living trust allows you to change or cancel the trust at any point during your life, while an irrevocable living trust becomes permanent.
Creating a living trust in Arizona allow you to pass on your assets without having to go through the probate process. If your assets pass via your will or through the state intestacy statues, there is a delay as the court approves the process.
While there is no requirement that anyone create a living trust, many people choose to do so because of the many benefits it offers. Your living trust allows you to control when and how your assets pass to the beneficiaries. A living trust allows you to preempt probate, so there is never a court proceeding or any public record of what property you leave at your death and to whom you leave it. The privacy this provides is important to many people. If you do not have a living trust, your assets will be passed according to your will, if you have one. The probate process can take months or more depending on the size of your estate. A living trust allows your assets to pass immediately upon your death.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney:
A Durable Financial Power of Attorney is a document that allows a person (known as the “principal”) to designate someone else (a person known as the “agent”) to make decisions for the principal regarding financial matters, including buying and selling property, handling bank accounts, business decisions, and any related matter to the principal’s financial accounts. A Durable Financial Power of Attorney can become effective immediately or it can spring to life upon the occurrence of a certain event – mainly when the principal becomes incapacitated. In the event of mental incapacity, the agent would be able to have ultimate control over the principal’s financial matters and would be able to make any decision necessary as long as it is in the best interest of the principal.
Your estate plan should also include a Living Will with Advanced Medical Directives. A Living Will allows one to provide a written statement outlining his or her desires with regard to medical treatment in the event the person becomes incapacitated, and they are no longer able to provide instructions about their medical care on their own. With this document, the principal states the decisions they wish to express while of sound mind. For example, you can provide direction as to whether you want cardiopulmonary resuscitation if you are in an irreversible coma with a reversible illness or injury, as well as a number of other circumstances.
Medical Power of Attorney:
An Arizona Medical Power of Attorney, which is sometimes referred to as a Durable Medical Power of Attorney, allows someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. However, the medical decisions made by the person you appoint cannot be inconsistent with the Advanced Medical Directives you designated in your Living Will.