Arizona Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning
Effective estate planning requires a detailed assessment of your financial circumstances and goals and development of a plan that suits your needs. At the Law Office of Luke Reynoso, P.L.L.C., we assist clients with wills, trusts, and all other aspects of estate planning.
Arizona estate planning attorney Luke Reynoso provides services to clients from our primary office in Scottsdale, as well as from satellite offices in Gilbert, Phoenix, North Phoenix, and Peoria. We serve clients throughout Metro Phoenix and Maricopa County.
What Is Estate Planning?
Most people understand that estate planning involves determining what happens to property when a person dies. It includes making decisions about who receives your property, as well as implementing those decisions in the most effective way. For a family, estate planning plays a central role in protecting your family’s needs and interests regardless of what the future may hold.
Many individuals do not realize that sound estate planning also addresses issues that arise during their lifetime. If an accident or illness incapacitates you, documents in your estate plan express your wishes about who manages your finances and takes care of your personal and health care needs.
If the unexpected occurs and you do not have an estate plan, your wishes are unknown. The person who manages your finances and takes care of you might be someone you would not select to have those critical responsibilities.
Do You Need a Will?
The most basic document in an estate plan is a will. For many people, a will is the only document necessary to ensure that their wishes concerning property distribution after death are known and implemented.
A will serves other purposes as well. In your will, you set out your wishes concerning a number of important issues, including:
- Your preferences about your final arrangements
- Who makes your final arrangements
- Who administers your estate
- Who serves as the guardian for minor children
If you do not have a will, state law makes all those determinations for you. Your property could end up in the hands of someone other than the person you want to inherit it. The person who makes your final arrangements, administers your estate, and takes care of your minor children may be someone you would not trust with those responsibilities.
Everyone over the age of 18 (the legal age for making a will in Arizona) should have a will. In some situations, however, other mechanisms and documents — such as a trust — offer a better way to address an individual’s financial circumstances and estate planning goals.
Should Your Estate Plan Include a Trust?
A will is the right approach for some people, but in some situations, a trust provides a better option. Trusts serve specific goals and may avoid probate and taxes in some cases.
A trust is a financial arrangement created by a legal document that includes all the terms of the trust. A named trustee manages the trust assets and distributes property to beneficiaries named in the trust. A trustee has prescribed fiduciary responsibilities. Arizona laws strictly govern management of the trust and the trustee’s conduct.
There are many different types of trusts to accomplish various purposes. Common types of trusts include:
- Living revocable trusts
- Life insurance trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
To determine whether a trust is appropriate for your estate plan, you should discuss your financial circumstances and goals with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Other Essential Documents in an Estate Plan
Some documents in an estate plan address situations that may arise during your lifetime. If you become ill or receive injuries in an accident and can no longer make decisions because of incapacity, two major issues arise: Who will make decisions concerning your personal and medical care? Who will manage your finances?
Documents in an estate plan express your wishes in these regards and name the people to make decisions on your behalf. In Arizona, documents relating to health and medical care include:
- Durable health care power of attorney, which designates who makes decisions about your medical and health care if you cannot make those decisions
- Durable mental health care power of attorney, which accomplishes the same goal with regard to mental health care
- Advance directive (living will), which specifies your wishes for end-of-life care
- HIPAA release authorization form, which provides access to your medical records
An estate plan also includes a durable financial power of attorney. This document designates who manages your finances and pays your bills if you become incapacitated.
In the absence of these documents, state law determines who cares for you and manages your finances. The only way to ensure that you make those decisions for yourself is to include these legal documents in your estate plan.
Creating the Right Arizona Estate Plan for You and Your Family
Estate planning in Arizona requires special knowledge of all the state and federal laws that apply to your circumstances. It also requires experience addressing the full range of personal and private concerns that relate to planning for future contingencies.
Attorney Luke Reynoso has the skill and experience to guide clients through the Arizona estate planning process. He works closely with each client to understand all of the client’s circumstances, goals, and specific wishes. Then, he explains in detail what options best serve the client’s goals and assists the client in making all the important decisions involved in estate planning.
Talk With an Experienced Scottsdale Estate Planning Attorney
At the Law Office of Luke Reynoso, we help clients with all aspects of estate planning. Our experience also goes beyond assisting you with developing an estate plan.
We assist trustees with trust administration and probate of Arizona estates. With our range of services, we can answer all your questions about estate planning, as well as address issues relating to trusts and probate that affect your planning decisions.
From our primary office in Scottsdale office and our satellite offices in Gilbert, Phoenix, North Phoenix, and Peoria, we serve clients throughout Metro Phoenix and Maricopa County. Call us at (480) 306-6738, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our online contact form to set up your initial consultation.