In Phoenix, Arizona, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also encompass personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
The drafting of a will, which simply states what you wish to be done with your property after death, is typically one of the most important parts of an estate plan. Of course, it's rarely the only one. There are many other things you might want to include, depending on your objectives.
For example, a knowledgeable estate plan will include a living will, which gives your family members and healthcare professionals instructions about your medical care, to be followed in the event you become incapacitated. You should also include your funeral arrangements, and your preference with respect to organ donation.
For anyone who has children who are still minors, it is very important to make arrangements for their custody and care, just in case the unthinkable happens. You should think of a family member or very close friend who you know would be willing and able to take care of your children, and designate them as the person who would take custody. Of course, it's important to discuss this matter with that person before you truly do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Phoenix, Arizona?
The answer to this question depends largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is probably not a high priority. And at this point in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very dangerous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
Individuals who are, for varied possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good Phoenix, Arizona estate plan. Because couples who aren't married don't automatically get any of the legal rights (such as hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and power of attorney) that come with marriage, they have to secure these rights through other means, such as wills and power of attorney agreements.
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Phoenix, Arizona estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is important and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Phoenix, Arizona Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Phoenix, Arizona can involve some complicated legal and financial issues, it is necessary to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.