Why a Comprehensive Estate Plan is Important
At Kamper Estrada, LLP, we’re proud to give our clients an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ residents trust. We understand that making plans for the future — a future that you will not be here for — is not a topic that many people enjoy discussing. However, making sure that your wishes are carried out when you pass away is one of the many reasons why you may wish to meet with a Phoenix estate planning lawyer from our firm.
Who Needs an Estate Planning Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ?
An estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ offers realizes that when some people hear the phrase “estate planning,” they believe that only people who are very wealthy make estate plans. Just the word “estate” can leave a person imagining a vision of mansions and very wealthy homes.
As surprising as it may sound, almost anyone can have factors in their life for which having a legal plan in place would be beneficial for their loved ones. Without some type of estate plan set up, the state steps in and determines how your assets will be distributed.
For example, say you have a valuable antique collection that you would like a nephew to inherit when you die. If you pass away without a will or another legal estate planning tool specifying who will get that collection, it is not likely the state of Arizona will see to it that your nephew receives that collection. Instead, the collection might be divided up between all of your heirs or disbursed as the state sees fit.
What Can an Estate Planning Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ Do for Me?
Estate planning is most often associated with drafting a last will and testament to set out how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. While a will is an important document in estate planning, it is often not enough to cover all of the issues that you may need address in your estate plan. At Kamper Estrada, LLP, our dedicated estate planning lawyer in Phoenix, AZ can help explore some of the following tools, as well as many others, that may be right for your situation:
Living trust: This is an arrangement under Arizona law in which you transfer assets and property to the ownership of the trust and select a trustee to manage the property after your death. Trusts have many benefits, including potentially protecting your assets from creditors, avoiding the probate process, and setting out specific instructions and conditions for distributions to beneficiaries, if you so wish. There are different types of trusts that can be set up that address specific situations, such as special needs trusts, pet trusts, and charitable trusts. An estate planning lawyer from our Phoenix, Arizona office can explain which type would best benefit your situation.
Durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and advanced healthcare directive: Not all estate planning addresses what happens after your death, as many documents may set out instructions if you should become incapacitated while you are still alive. An experienced estate planning lawyer from our Phoenix, AZ firm can further explain that if you suffer an injury or illness that renders you incapable of making decisions and managing your affairs, your chosen durable power of attorney will handle your finances and business while a medical power of attorney will make decisions for your health care and physical well-being in accordance with your instructions set out in your advanced healthcare directive. By having these documents in place, you can feel reassured that your wishes will be followed.
Arrangement for your business: If you are a business owner in or around the Phoenix, Arizona area, you should have agreements created by an estate planning lawyer that instructs what will happen to your business interests after your death. Buy/sell agreements and similar documents are valuable in this situation, as are different insurance policies and funding sources to protect your hard-earned business assets and your family.
The above are only some examples of important estate planning tools that can be used in addition to a last will and testament. Federal and state laws regarding trusts, business succession, and other important estate planning issues can be complicated, so the assistance of a qualified attorney is imperative when designing your comprehensive estate plan.
Depending on your financial situation and what type of assets you own, an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ clients depend on can assist in drawing up many different legal documents. These may include:
- Living wills
- Living trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Guardianship for minor children
- Financial power of attorney
- Health care power of attorney
- Estate tax planning
- Estate Planning for Newlyweds
In addition to whatever assets or real estate property you own, there are many other items that are also considered part of your estate, such as vehicles, furniture, and household items. Even a digital library could be considered an asset and may become part of your estate.
Considering an Estate Planning Lawyer Phoenix, AZ
At this point you might be considering whether or not you really need an estate planning lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. Estate planning is serious; one wrong or misleading word, or one missing signature could essentially change the intent of the trust or will. It could also provoke a judge to misinterpret what it is you intended or leave you open to a broad range of disputes. Apart from this, you should consider factors such as the following:
State Laws Rule Estate Plans
Laws encompassing estates, wills, and trusts vary by state. These are generally very specific laws and lay out what can or cannot be included in a trust, will, or power of attorney. The laws also state who can act as a trustee, personal representative, surrogate, or attorney. Who can or cannot act as a witness to these legal documents, and what formalities need to be observed when creating and signing a will, trust, or power of attorney are also strictly enforced in state laws. There are many reasons why it’s important to have an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts on your side.
The “Buyer Beware” Philosophy Applies
You might be familiar with “buyer beware” which most certainly applies to estate planning. If you are thinking you will save money by using do-it-yourself (DIY) forms on the internet, or a software program to prepare your estate documents, you might want to think again. These DIY programs are generally meant to act as a basic example or standard model. You should always consider having an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ respects review these documents before signing them. Otherwise, your family might discover that all or part of the will, trust, or power of attorney is not valid. If this should happen, your next of kin may have to spend thousands of dollars on hiring an estate planning lawyer in Phoenix, AZ to correct your mistakes.
A Phoenix Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Resolve Financial and Family Issues
An estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on may be able to review your financial and family history in conjunction with speaking to you to decide whether or not there are any direct issues that could pose a problem in the future. If so, a lawyer can help you to resolve these problems; thereby protecting and securing the rights of all parties. If any of the following applies to you, be sure to consult with an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ respects:
- You have divorced and remarried
- You own at least one business
- You own more real estate in multiple locations
- You have a disabled family member
- You have minor children
- You wish to leave some of your estate to a charity
- You have substantial assets in IRAs or 401ks
- You have a taxable estate
- Your assets total over $1 million
For any of the above scenarios, an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ has to offer can help prepare the essential documents. If these criteria don’t apply, you risk nothing by contacting a lawyer to discuss the potential avenues that you can take.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer Phoenix, AZ Clients Rely On
Many individuals do not realize the wide array of estate planning tools they have at their disposal to fully ensure that their affairs are properly managed both during end-of-life health issues and after they pass away. At Kamper Estrada, LLP, an experienced estate planning attorney from our Phoenix, AZ location can evaluate your specific situation and advise you on implementing a comprehensive estate plan to protect your wishes and your family.
Whether this will be the first time you legally put your estate plans in writing, or whether you would like to make modifications to your existing plans, a Phoenix estate planning lawyer may guide you through the process and help you decide what will work best for your family.
Our firm is ready to help you navigate this process. The attorneys at Kamper Estrada, LLP are available to discuss your situation during a complimentary case evaluation. For more information about estate planning, or to schedule an appointment with a skilled estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ has to offer, contact our law firm at 602-730-7988 or fill out a contact form from our website.