Experienced Arizona Ancillary Probate and Trust Attorney Arizona Ancillary Probate Lawyer Matthew L. Howell Attorney at Law
Arizona Real Estate Trust Attorney
Arizona Ancillary Probate Specialist

Frequently Asked Questions And Answers for:


Wills, Living Wills, Estate Planning Phoenix Arizona

  1. WHAT IS THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THE WILL (LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT) IN MY ESTATE PLAN? -- The will is the document that provides how and to whom the decedent's "probate assets" will be distributed at death. "Probate assets" are those that are titled solely in the decedent's name at death, and therefore do not have title or contractual at-death beneficiary designations already provided in them (such as joint tenancy, pay on death, or insurance policy beneficiary designations). For clients who have living trusts the will is called a "pourover will" and it directs that at death any of the client's probate assets will be paid over to the then serving trustee to be distributed as provided in the trust document.

  2. WHAT OTHER IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS DOES MY WILL PROVIDE? -- The will (among other things) also allows you to select who will administer your estate. It also allows you to select a guardian or conservator for the client's minor or incapacitated adult children. It also allows the client to disinherit beneficiaries and either distribute the estate outright or in further trust to be managed over time for a selected beneficiary.

  3. WHO ARE MY BENEFICIARIES IF I DIE WITHOUT A WILL? - Your probate assets will be distributed according to the applicable state's statute of intestate distribution. The laws of the state in which you reside at death will apply to all (tangible and intangible) personal property, while distribution of your real property will pass according to the laws of the state where it is located. These laws pass this property to your surviving closest next of kin.

  4. DOES HAVING A WILL MEAN MY PROPERTY WILL AUTOMATICALLY REQUIRE PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATION? - Court administration For your probate assets depends on the value of the estate at the time of death. For assets subject to Arizona law (1) if the total value of (tangible and intangible) personal property is $75,000 or less, then those assets may be probated by a small estate affidavit (without a court filing) (2) for real estate probate assets, if the value is $100,000 or less, then an abbreviated court proceeding is available after a 6 month wait.

  5. WHAT WILL IT COST ME TO HAVE A WILL PREPARED BY AN ATTORNEY? -- Assuming you wish to have your Will prepared by Arizona licensed, experienced, estate planning attorneys, rather than the many lesser (and cheaper) alternatives, expenses to prepare a Will varies by location in the greater Phoenix area. Expect to pay more for plans prepared by the larger (downtown) Phoenix law firms as well as firms in east Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Carefree, and Tempe; lower charges can generally be expected elsewhere in the county. Generally a simple Will begins about $200 per client.

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