The reason many residents of Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area want to avoid probate is that they have heard stories about how the process drag on and cost their loved ones a lot of time, stress and money.
Arizonians should take part in long-term planning to assure wealth protection, avoid probate, lower taxes and to protect heirs. This traditional estate planning, however, may not address the important and emotionally-charged and confusing time immediately after a person's death. Other specific legal documents are needed.
The sadness that an Arizona family experiences when they suffer the loss of loved one or the concerns that seniors have for taking care of their heirs after they die are not buffers to scams and other attempts designed to take advantage of an estate. Proper estate planning can help prevent these schemes.
Filing for an Arizona divorce may require additional estate planning and possible changes to numerous documents. This planning helps assure that a spouse's intent and wishes are carried out, and there is a proper distribution of assets, even if they die or become incapacitated before the divorce is final.
Arizona estates may be vulnerable to litigation and insolvency, not only after a person's dies, but also during their lifetime. While traditional estate planning can set forth how wealth can be passed on to heirs, it cannot protect assets that are lost in a devastating lawsuit. Comprehensive and effective planning, however, can provide wealth protection and preserve property for a person's heirs.
Clearly, estate planning must enter the digital age now that at least 77 percent of all Americans go online daily and handle their personal and financial matters online. An estate plan should now include digital assets and other personal property stored electronically, according to a financial expert.
In Arizona, estate planning often ends in failure. At least 70 percent of estates suffer financial losses or family discord, according to a 2007 book. Failure is preventable, however.
There may be times that it is appropriate to look an estate gift horse in the mouth. Estate planning should include the advantages and downsides of inheritances and bequests.
Drafting a will is only one part of effective estate planning in Arizona. Other essential estate documents may avoid costly litigation or having other unintended or unwanted individuals appointed by courts to make important decisions.