What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning in Arizona is preparing for life’s certainties and making contingency plans for the major events that many people deal with.  As there are sure to be issues in everybody’s life, every estate plan should deal with taxes and death.  To better prepare for these certainties, Wills, trusts and other legal devices are used to preserve estate assets.

In addition to preparing people for life’s certainties, estate plans should include preparations for serious contingencies that many people face. More specifically, a comprehensive estate plan provides contingency plans for disability, incapacity and premature death.  A variety of strategies prepare people for these contingencies and help secure their long-term stability.

What types of documents should estate plans include?

A life plan is a better term for an estate plan because it appropriately conveys its application to events that people encounter during their life.  In any event, estate plans should include some or all of the following documents, which prepare people for uncertainties they could encounter:

  • A durable financial power of attorney that designates an agent to handle financial matters in the event of an emergency.
  • A medical power of attorney that designates an agent to handle medical decisions in the event of an emergency.
  • A mental health care power of attorney that designates an agent to make inpatient mental health care placement decisions in the event of an emergency.
  • A living will that establishes suitable medical procedures in the event of a terminal illness or condition.
  • A properly drafted Will that names a guardian and bequeaths certain properties.
  • A living trust to help save time and expenses associated with probate.
  • A special needs trust to help qualify for public benefit programs, while setting certain assets aside to maintain a quality of life.
  • Life Insurance to assure that family members will be provided for.
  • Long-term health care insurance to cover health care costs that may arise.

What are the dangers of neglecting to create an estate plan?

Comprehensive estate planning by a Phoenix, AZ attorney provides people with a sense that their affairs will be handled appropriately regardless of what their future brings.  Those without the right documents in place, on the other hand, can lose control over their assets, and also lose flexibility when it comes to important life decisions.  Moreover, those without a thorough estate plan are sometimes subject to unnecessary expenses and fees, which could drastically diminish their estate’s value.  Ultimately, those who consider their options up front enjoy significant long-term benefits.

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