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What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning Attorney in TempeEstate planning is fundamentally about proactively taking control of the most important decisions that will ever affect you and your family.  The failure to estate plan allows the State of Arizona to make those decisions for you.  Not having an estate plan means you run the risk of having a court-appointed guardian act for you in the event of your incapacity and having a court-appointed guardian care for your minor children in the event you are not able. Without the asset protection of an estate plan, you are  guaranteed that assets will go through the probate court process and be distributed as determined by the State of Arizona, not according to your instructions. 

Who Needs An Estate Plan?

The need for an estate plan is not dependent upon having a certain amount of wealth or assets.  An estate plan is an instruction manual that allows you (not the State of Arizona) to take control of who will make financial and medical decisions and who will care for your children if you cannot, and who will manage and distribute assets in the event of your death or incapacity.

An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

Many people associate the idea of an "estate" with the very wealthy, but in truth, everyone needs an estate plan.  Every person and every family should create a road map that makes clear what they choose to happen in the event of death or incapacity.  These plans should address:
  • Guardianship of minor children.
  • Who will make medical decisions for you if you cannot.
  • Who will be in control of your assets when you are not.
  • Probate and guardianship avoidance for you and your estate.
  • Estate tax ("death tax") avoidance planning.
  • Divorce, immaturity and lawsuit protection for your heirs.
  • Remarriage protection for your spouse.

Our Approach To Estate Planning

We emphasize thoughtful and comprehensive estate planning that is highly customized to address your specific needs.  Because each plan is highly personalized to meet unique family situations, assets, and personal goals and values, it is impossible to detail your unique plan.  A comprehensive trust-based plan. however, will typically include the following:
  • A Revocable Living Trust which eliminates the need for probate in the event of your death or disability.
  • For married couples, estate tax planning, to ensure that both spouses estate tax exemptions will be protected.
  • Protective trust shares for your spouse, children, or other beneficiaries, so that the assets you leave beneficiaries are protected from lawsuits and divorce.
  • Pour-Over Wills to ensure that assets will be distributed under your trust.
  • Nomination of Guardians for your minor children.
  • Comprehensive General Durable Powers of Attorney.
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney.
  • Living Wills, which give direction to physicians and family regarding continuation of life support systems and other medical treatment preferences.
  • Authorizations for Release of Confidential Medical Information (HIPAA Waivers).
  • Certificates of Trust.
  • Memorial Instructions.
  • Personal Property Memorandum.
  • Asset transfer documents and instructions to ensure proper trust funding.

Estate Planning is a Gift to Your Family

Between probate costs and potential death-related taxes, your family may spend lots of time and money that could have been avoided with proper planning.  A thoughtful, comprehensive, well-drafted estate plan will make it so much easier on your family emotionally and financially in the event of your death or incapacity.  A few comfortable appointments with an estate planning attorney can allow you to take control of the most important decisions that may ever affect you and your family.  This is the peace of mind that a proper estate plan can provide.  Call our office today for a no cost consultation about protecting your assets and family. (480) 456-6267