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Understanding the Elements of an Estate Plan

By Zachary Mushkatel on

Estate planning is as personal as each individual or couple who creates one. Working with an experienced Glendale estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan that ensures your wishes are carried out after your death with a minimum of tax burdens, legal hurdles, or other obstacles for those you leave behind.

Although each estate plan differs, they share some basic elements since the purpose of each estate plan is to ensure things go according to plan after an individual’s death. Some of the basic elements that may appear in estate plans include:

  • Wills. A will is a written document that lets its writer, or “testator,” leave certain instructions such as who should receive certain property, who should administer the estate, and who will care for the testator’s minor children. Wills must meet specific requirements of Arizona law increasing the importance of having a will reviewed by an experienced attorney.
  • Trusts. A trust holds assets for the benefit of one or more people. It can be used to hold assets for the benefit of its creator and then transfer those assets to other named individuals or charities once the creator dies.
  • Life insurance. Life insurance pays proceeds to a named beneficiary or beneficiaries when the insured individual passes away. Different types of life insurance are available. An attorney or insurance professional can help you choose which is best for you.
  • Gifts. A gift is a transfer of property made during your life. Many gifts are tax-exempt when made in the proper ways, making them useful estate-planning tools.

Other tools also form a key part of estate planning for some individuals. An experienced Arizona estate planning lawyer can help.