What Is Estate Planning In Arizona?
Estate planning is the process of developing a plan for people to create an orderly disposition of their assets or their estates, at their passing. That’s the simple definition. It is estimated that approximately 25% of the US population has a defined estate plan in place. That estate plan may not be up-to-date, it may not be current, it may not be the estate plan that they really want in place, but about 25% have a plan. The other 75% have no estate plan. Even people that don’t have really significant assets, such as real property or financial assets, still need some kind of plan in place to create an orderly disposition of property and assets at their passing.
When they die intestate, at least under the laws of Arizona, then a probate is required. Probate is required not only for a Will, it’s required when someone dies intestate (without a Will or a Trust). Probates in Arizona generally take about 6 months, at a minimum. The assets could be hung up for 6 months or longer before they are distributed to the beneficiaries and it is all accomplished with court oversight. With Probate, whether it’s an informal or formal probate, anyone who is a potential heir receives notice. During the notice process people can come out of the woodwork and challenge the disposition of the estate. If the person that died wanted that property to go to his or her three kids, people coming out of the woodwork can challenge the disposition, and that property may not find its way entirely to those three kids. That is one of the problems that can occur when someone passes away without an estate plan in place.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without A Will Or Estate Plan In Place?
If someone dies without a Will or an estate plan in place, it’s known as dying intestate. Generally, that term applies to dying without any type of estate plan in place. Briefly, dying without an estate plan in place means dying without a Will, without a Trust, without Joint Tenancy deeds and accounts or without beneficiary designation accounts in place. If someone dies intestate, not only do you have a probate, but the court determines, by statute, who the personal representative will be for that probate and, again by statute, who will be entitled to inherit the property left behind by the deceased person. The deceased person, known as the decedent, gave complete control over their estate to the Court and the statutes of the State of Arizona when they elected not to have even a simple estate plan in place. By contrast, if someone dies with a Will or some type of estate plan in place, they get to name the personal representative or representatives and they can control the disposition of their property instead of giving all the control to the Court and the statues of the State of Arizona regarding who the personal representative will be and how their estate will be divided.
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