Download your Ultimate Guide to Estate Planning in Arizona
The Ultimate Guide to Estate Planning in Arizona will get you caught up on terms you should know and understand, help you identify what might be best for you and your loved ones here in Arizona, and allow you to make informed decisions about your or your familys estate planning needs.
Here are some of the highlights:
The differences between a will and a trust
What you can use a trust for
Getting started with medical decisions
What is a Living Will
What is healthcare or medical power of attorney
Are trusts prepared in other states still valid
Why preparing your own will can be a poor decision
How to create an estate plan in Arizona
Our Arizona estate planning checklist helps people prepare their estate prior to death. It also protects them if they become incapacitated or unable to express their desires.
The steps in our checklist will guide you through the estate planning process in Arizona. We strongly recommend you consult a professional to get it right. The last thing you want is loose ends when you pass on.
Step 1 – Establish Your Health Care Preferences
You (the principal or estate owner) must specify the type of health care they would like to receive when they are incompetent and unable to express their medical desires.
Part of this will require the nomination of a health care agent who will relay the your medical preferences to health care professionals.
This agent’s responsibilities can include the acceptance of or refusal of breathing machines and other life-prolonging medications or equipment.
Medical Power of Attorney – This document and form helps the principal to choose their health care agent and specify their desires regarding autopsy, organ donation, funeral/burial disposition, and the like.
**NOTE: There are signing requirements (§ 36-3221) – The principal’s signature must be notarized or witnessed in writing.
Step 2 – Establish Financial Preferences
The next step in preparing an estate is to ensure that your finances will continue to be managed in the event that your decision-making ability is impaired or restricted.
The principal (you) will need to assign a financial agent by completing a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney.
Your financial agent will have permission to act on your behalf. He or she will also be able to execute your financial requests until you regain the ability to do so or the document is revoked.
The financial powers allowed to your financial agent
- Buy and Sell
- Bank Accounts
- Safe Deposit Boxes
- Demand, Receive, Prosecute, or Defend (for Sums of Money)
- Brokerage Accounts
- Employ Consultants
- Provide for Principal’s Support
- Income Tax Return
Step 3 – Document and describe your assets
Create an inventory of your assets. This can be a helpful tool when preparing the division of property among the beneficiaries you’ve defined.
So, you (the principal) should use the Assets List to describe each item currently under their ownership. Descriptions should be included in the assets list and be specific. These will cover your real estate, personal property, bank accounts, vehicles, and business entities.
Step 4 – Notify your beneficiaries
With your assets identified, you can continue the estate planning process by naming the recipients of your estate. These beneficiaries will be entitled to all or a portion of your assets once you pass away.
You should communicate with each beneficiary to be sure that they are prepared to inherit your property.
Step 5 – Designating your assets to your beneficiaries
This requires that you (or your estate planning attorney) draft a document that lays out how your estate will be divided and distributed after you die.
Depending on the preferences of the individual, you can choose to create a Last Will and Testament, Revocable Living Trust, or a combination of the two.
The Ultimate Guide to Estate Planning in Arizona outlines the differences of these within.
Step 6 – Storing your documents
After you have executed your estate planning documents, you should store the paperwork somewhere secure and free from the reach of unauthorized parties.
It may be best to deliver the documents to your attorney or immediate family members. Wherever you choose should be easily accessible in the event of your death or upon your incapacitation.