Whether you call it a Will or your “Last Will and Testament”, the theory is still the same. There are many reasons why you would want to consider having a Last Will and Testament.
Before we go any further, the first thing we MUST be sure to go over with you is that if you have $75,000.00 or more in assets whether its personal property, life insurance, savings, etc. than you may want to also consider a Trust. What a Trust will do is ensure that your assets do not land in probate because if they do, the assets you’ve saved may go right out the window.
If you are unsure what you are really after or want to learn more about protecting all of your assets, give us a call at (602) 262-4357 or schedule a FREE consultation today with one of our highly skilled attorneys. They will give you truthful answers to some of these and other questions that you may have.
Whenever you’ve considered a Will, you may have to ask yourself some of these key questions. Once you know the answers to these questions you are working yourself in the right direction.
- What happens to my property or assets and who will get it after I pass away?
- Will my loved one receive my assets or will they go to an organization or non-profit?
- Will someone need to take care of my children? If so, who will be the right person to help?
- What if I pass away before my children are old enough to claim my assets? Who will be someone I trust that will help manage my property or assets until my children are old enough?
- Who will make sure that my Last Will and Testament is carried out as I had planned?
Let’s now go over why at the very least you should have a Last Will and Testament:
Have you ever heard of Arizona’s “intestacy” law? Think of this law like pedals of a flower that can be plucked, each pedal represents a relative. What this law will do is go through your closest relatives first and then with each pedal that is plucked the court will work themselves further down your family tree.
This is how the intestacy law works:
The courts will always start with your spouse, then your children, grandchildren, parents, then on to your distant relatives including any of your siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and then on to your spouse’s relatives (if applicable). If all efforts have been exhausted and there is no relative that can make this claim from the court than the state of Arizona will take your property and assets. Not that we all do not love the State of Arizona, but we probably had different intentions with our assets than to just hand them over to the State or for that matter to a relative that is so distant that you haven’t seen them since your youth.
Do I really need a lawyer to help me with my Will?
Honestly, no you do not, but let us tell you why it is always wise to seek an attorney’s advice even if it isn’t us. Whenever you create a Will you are giving someone rights to your assets after you pass away. Those assets may be money, property, vehicles, etc. and with that comes a possible issue with those who were not listed in your will and did not receive any of your assets.
Legally, your Last Will and Testament can be contested. If you’ve disinherited your spouse for example they may contest your Will in the courts after your death. So, no you do not need an attorney to help you, but if for any reason you may have any doubt that your Will will not be carried through as you see fit than you should seek qualified lawyer who will give you their expert opinion of how these types of matters should be handled.
Will my Last Will and Testament need to be notarized? This answer is a little more complicated because no, you do not necessarily need to have your Last Will and Testament notarized. Upon signing your will you will need two witnesses. In front of each other you and your witnesses will sign your Will.
However, in Arizona if you have a “self-proving” affidavit that accompanies your Will, your beneficiaries will have a much easier time trying to collect on those assets. What is a self-proving affidavit? When you have this affidavit signed by you and your witnesses in front of a notary it proves who you are and that all of you knew that you were signing the Will.
Why should I have a self-proving affidavit? As we mentioned before it will save your beneficiaries quite a bit of time instead of going through the whole probate period. If you do not have this and your Will notarized, than the court will need to find the witnesses that you had sign the document and validate their signatures. This would become quite difficult if your witnesses have moved, passed away or just plain hard to find.
Our firm does have a notary available on a daily basis Monday through Friday at either one of our law offices whether it’s our Peoria or Scottsdale, Arizona location.
If you have questions about your Last Will and Testament, or have questions about Asset Protection in general give us a call at (602) 262-4357 or schedule a FREE consultation today!