Arizona has laws called “intestacy laws” that provide for the distribution of a person’s assets in the event of death without a will. Because your input was not included in any document, it’s extremely doubtful your wishes will be carried out to your specifications. If you pass away without a will or other estate planning documents in place, your estate will be subject to dependent probate proceedings. Dependent probate takes a long time to distribute the assets and costs a lot of money. A dependent probate should be avoided. It wastes time and money.
Having a will ensures that:
a) your assets will be distributed as you see fit
b) you avoid unnecessary time delays in the distribution of assets
c) you avoid unnecessary probate court costs d) estate taxes can be reduced or eliminated e) you will be able to provide for your dependents, family and loved ones
f) you will get to choose the guardians of your dependents
g) you can provide for the care of pets if you so desire
h) you can gift to charities if you so desire
A) Distribution of Assets
In the state of Arizona, if a person dies without a will, their assets are distributed accocrding to state statutes and court orders and not according to the deceased person’s desire. This can be very problematic. A will can avoid many problems and eliminate time delays and court costs and taxes.
Having a will controls the proper distribution of a person’s assets to his/her specifications. Whether a person wants to give all of their millions to a cat named Fluffy or leave it all to their favorite charity, they have the right to determine where their property and money is sent.
B) Providing For Dependents
One of the most important reasons for a will or an estate plan is to provide for your dependents. Whether they are your biological children, adopted children, foster children or an adult child with special needs, a will allows you to plan for their care and other arrangements in advance.
C) Directing Guardianship for Dependents
As part of your will, you can choose who you want to be the guardian of your children if both you and your spouse pass away. This is a key benefit to having a will — and it’s especially important for couples with young children or adult special needs chidren. The guardianship of a minor or special needs person will be determined by the court unless you have a will. More frightening than an untimely death, would be having to place your beloved children as wards of the state or cared for by relatives you don’t want to raise your children. That would be especially painful if the court selects guardians who don’t uphold your values.
Wayne Gardner, Attorney
Buntrock & Gardner Law, PLLC
Mesa, AZ 85203