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Will and Trust Attorney in Glendale, Arizona

Hands of mature woman signing Last Will sitting on desk.

A property drafted and executed estate plan can provide your family and other loved ones guidance and direction on your wishes in the event of your incapacity or your death. The will and trust lawyers of Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, can help you to set up a will or trust that effectively carries out your objectives and wishes. To discuss how we can assist you, call or reach us online today for a consultation.

What Is a Will?

Last will and testament with wooden judge gavel.A will, or last will and testament, is a document in which you state your final wishes regarding the distribution of your assets. A will, which typically passes through a probate administration with the Court, contains the following important information and instructions:

  • Name a Personal Representative – The Personal Representative will manage the administration of your estate including, but not limited to, paying your final debts and expenses, filing your final tax return, and distributing your probateable assets according to the terms of the will.
  • Designate a guardian for your children – If you have minor children, you may designate who you would like to serve as the guardian for your children as well as provide guidance to the Court if there is anyone you would not want to serve as guardian. The Court, however, will always ensure and determine whether the appointment is in the children’s best interests.
  • Make arrangements for your pets – For many people, pets are members of the family. Specifying how your pets will be cared for will give you peace of mind.

When you are ready to draw up a will, you will need to meet certain conditions such as:

  • Testamentary capacity – You must be “of sound mind.” In other words, you must know the family members and how they are related to you, the extent and nature of your property, and what the effect of the will shall be upon your death.
  • Beneficiaries – You must be prepared to name beneficiaries for your estate as well as how you wish the estate to be distributed among your beneficiaries.

Additionally, in order for a will to be legally valid under the laws of the State of Arizona it must be signed and dated by you and at least two witnesses. As a further precaution, a Notary Public may also verify your and the witnesses signature.

What Is a Trust?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a party known as a trustee to hold and manage assets on behalf of a person or group of persons, or beneficiaries. A trust is governed by a document that specifies how the assets must be managed and distributed to the beneficiaries.

Unlike wills, trusts are not subject to probate. So, if you choose to pass your assets to loved ones after your death through a trust as opposed to a will, your beneficiaries may gain access to your estate more quickly than if it passed through probate. Most of the trusts that people in Glendale, AZ create fall into two categories:

  • Revocable trust – Also known as a “living trust,” a revocable trust allows you to retain the ability to amend or revoke the trust during your life.
  • Irrevocable trust – This type of trust cannot be altered after it is executed and may permanently transfer assets to other people.

Different types of trust which our law firm handles for clients in Glendale, Arizona include:

  • Irrevocable life insurance trust – This trust excludes life insurance proceeds from a decedent’s taxable estate in order, in part, to ensure funds are available to pay any estate taxes due on the decedent’s estate.
  • Charitable lead trust – This kind of trust directs income or a fixed percentage of the trust’s assets to a charity during a specific period time while allowing the remainder of the assets to pass to named beneficiaries.
  • Charitable remainder trust – This trust enables you or another person to receive an income stream for a defined period while providing the remainder to charity.

What is a Power of Attorney?

Documents showing living will & healthcare power of attorney.A power of attorney is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a party known as an agent to make legal decisions on your behalf in the event of your physical and/or mental incapacity.  In estate planning, the two categories of powers of attorney are:

  • Durable health care power of attorney – In this document, you can specifically name an Agent to make your health care decisions, including mental health care decisions.  You can further state which medical care decisions you authorize the agent to make on your behalf as well as decisions you do not authorize. This document often works in tandem with the wishes you state in a living will.
  • Durable financial power of attorney – This document can give authority to an agent to manage all of your financial affairs including, but not limited to, paying your monthly bills, managing your investments, managing your mortgage, and filing your tax return. At the same time, you can place limits on the agent’s authority, such as whether or not the agent is permitted to give gifts on your behalf.

Should You Work with an Estate Planning Attorney?

You are not required to have an attorney help you to draft a will or trust. However, an attorney will help you to effectively navigate the requirements and restrictions on wills or trusts.  Also, an attorney can advise you about what types of estate planning documents will help you to achieve your estate planning objectives and minimize losses due to estate taxes.

If you are interested in drafting a will or trust, contact the will and trust lawyers of Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, today for help with your estate planning. Our attorneys will help you to understand the options available to you in drafting your will or trusts. We can advise you on how to best protect the assets you have worked so hard for during your life so that you may pass them onto your loved ones. Contact us for a consultation today.