Arizona Estate Planning
Queen Creek Law Firm Serving Families, Individuals and Businesses Throughout the East Valley
At Peterson Law Offices, PLLC, we help families, individuals, and businesses protect their assets and legacies through sound estate planning. We provide a full range of affordable estate planning services for clients in Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, and the rest of the East Valley.
Goals of Estate Planning
Throughout life, unanticipated events can change our lives in an instant. It can be uncomfortable to even think about those possibilities. Yet, it’s important to think about them, because you can safeguard your family and your assets in case something unexpected does occur. When you turn to Peterson Law Offices to guide you through the estate planning process, you will gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have taken all the right steps to protect your family, yourself, and your assets, now and in the future.
Many people think that estate planning involves only deciding what happens to your property when you die. That is a serious misconception. Proper estate planning includes much more. It also includes making sure your children are cared for personally and financially, protecting yourself and your assets in the event of incapacity, and ensuring that your final wishes are carried out just the way you want.
Everyone who owns property needs to prepare for future contingencies with an estate plan. For families — especially those that include young children — putting an estate plan in place is extremely important. Estate planning is also critical for anyone who owns a business.
Every estate plan is unique, because it is built on the client’s own specific financial and personal situation. However, there are basic documents that are commonly used in estate plans, such as wills and trusts.
What a Will Can Accomplish
A will is the basic legal document that most people need as the cornerstone of an estate plan. If you die without a will — which is referred to as dying intestate — Arizona law will decide what happens to your property. That could mean that the people or organizations you want to benefit from your estate may not receive any of your property at all.
For a will to be valid, there are specific legal requirements that must be met. Attempting to prepare your own will — even using a do-it-yourself (DIY) service — could result in your wishes not being carried out at all. When you turn to Peterson Law Offices, we ensure that your will fully accomplishes your intentions and that it meets all the legal requirements.
A properly prepared and executed will can accomplish several tasks:
- Designate your beneficiaries, the people or organizations who will receive your assets and property
- Identify your executor, the personal representative who will administer your estate
- Designate a guardian to care for your minor children
- Identify a conservator to handle financial matters for your children
- Express your wishes for your funeral and burial arrangements
When Peterson Law Offices prepares your will, we also do a thorough review of your assets to make sure that property titles and beneficiaries are properly designated, so they are consistent with your wishes in your will. That includes reviewing assets like IRAs, other retirement accounts, annuities, bank accounts, financial accounts, and life insurance policies. Property that is titled, like real estate and automobiles, also needs to be checked to make sure the title is held in a way that accords with your wishes.
Other Basic Estate Planning Documents
In addition to a will, there are other basic documents that often are included in an estate plan. These are the documents that protect you and provide for your care in the event you become incapacitated for any reason. They include:
- Durable financial power of attorney, designating who will pay your bills and manage your assets if you become incapacitated
- Durable health care power of attorney, designating who will make medical decisions about your health care if you are unable to make those decisions yourself
- Durable mental health care power of attorney, designating who will make decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions yourself due to mental incapacity
- Advance directive / living will, specifying your wishes for end-of-life care
- HIPAA release authorization form, providing access to your medical records
Having these documents in place as part of your estate plan can save your loved ones from having to go through legal proceedings just to be able to care for you and manage your finances, in the event you become unable to make your own decisions. The documents also ensure that your own wishes will guide the decisions your loved ones make on your behalf.
Additional information about durable powers of attorney is available in our blog post, Why Do You Need a Durable Power of Attorney?
Trusts in Estate Planning
In some circumstances, a trust, rather than a will, forms the basis of an estate plan. Trusts are set up by documents that designate a trustee to oversee the management and distribution of the assets placed into the trust.
The trust documents detail what assets go into the trust and what purpose(s) the trust will serve. The trustee follows those purposes and the trust instructions in distributing the assets. By law, the trustee has strict fiduciary duties and responsibilities in administering the trust.
There are different types of trusts, which serve specific purposes. Examples of the primary types of trusts include:
- Revocable living trust
- Irrevocable trust
- Charitable trust
- Special needs trusts
Whether a trust is more appropriate than a will for your estate plan depends entirely on your individual and family circumstances. When you talk with Peterson Law Offices about your estate plan, we will thoroughly explain wills and trusts and work closely with you to determine which one is right for you.
Affordable Estate Planning in the East Valley
Your individual situation determines which type of estate plan is best for you and your family. The factors we analyze with you to make the decision include:
- The size of your estate
- The control you want to have during your life and after death
- The structure of your family
After discussing all these matters with you in detail, Peterson Law Offices will formulate a personalized estate plan that fully addresses your and your family’s needs and goals.
We take pride in making estate planning affordable for our clients. We have estate planning packages available that include:
- Basic will
- Revocable trust
- Irrevocable trust
- Health care documents
Our fees start as low as $100. We offer affordable payment plans with all of our estate planning packages.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With an Experienced East Valley Estate Planning Attorney
Peterson Law Offices welcomes your inquiry about our estate planning services. We work with clients throughout the East Valley, including businesses in Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling 480-878-5998 or using our online contact form.