5 Surprising Facts About Estate Planning In Arizona

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by | Dec 28, 2022 | Probate Law

Are you considering creating an estate plan for your family but aren’t sure where to begin? Estate planning in Arizona is far more complicated than it appears due to its unique set of laws and regulations. To help make the process easier, here are five surprising facts that suggest why consulting with a professional estate attorney is necessary when setting up your legacy. Read on to find out how they can assist in protecting you, your loved ones, and your assets during life, as well as after death!

How Important Is Estate Planning In Arizona?

In Arizona, estate planning is incredibly important for individuals and families of all ages. With a plethora of surprising facts about estate planning in the state, it’s clear that taking the time to plan and protect one’s finances, property, and other assets is paramount. It’s surprising to learn that more than half of all adults in Arizona do not have a will or any kind of estate plan in place. It’s also surprising to note that estate plans can protect an individual’s assets from creditors and provide an orderly transfer of wealth to the chosen beneficiaries.

Additionally, many people are unaware that they may be able to take advantage of tax benefits offered by estate planning rules in Arizona. Estate planning also provides an opportunity to set up trusts which can help manage finances during an individual’s life as well as benefit their heirs after death. Further surprising facts about estate planning in Arizona include provisions for special needs children or adults who require long-term care or guardianship assistance, as well as provisions for children from previous marriages or step-children who are at risk of being disinherited if no plan is put into place.

Lastly, estate plans in Arizona can enable individuals to choose how their medical care should be managed if they become incapacitated and unable to make these decisions themselves. Many people never consider the importance of having an estate plan until it is too late; however, the surprising facts about estate planning in Arizona underscore the importance of taking action now while there is still time.

Here are 5 surprising facts about estate planning in Arizona:

If You Pass Away Without A Will Or Trust, The State Of Arizona Has A Default “Will” In Place

When it comes to estate planning in Arizona, one surprising fact is that the state has what’s known as a default will. This means that if an individual passes away without having a will or trust in place, the state of Arizona has a predetermined set of instructions for how their assets should be distributed. The most surprising part about this is that even if you never made any estate planning decisions, the state still had predetermined instructions for what happens to your estate after you pass away.

The default will is based on probate laws and inheritance laws, which are specific to the state of Arizona. Generally speaking, these laws dictate that when an individual dies without leaving a will or trust behind, their surviving family members will split up their assets according to specific criteria. This can include things like closest relatives receiving higher percentages of the estate than distant relatives and certain assets being divided unequally among heirs.

People Avoid Estate Planning For The Most Part Due To Mortality And Procrastination

Estate planning is an important issue for people in Arizona, yet many avoid it due to mortality and procrastination. This surprising fact speaks to the anxiety felt by many when it comes to thinking about their mortality and the future of their estate after they are gone. Mortality can be a difficult subject to face, as can the thought of how one will ultimately divide up their estate between loved ones after death. Procrastination is also a problem with certain matters like estate planning because it is seen as something that can wait until later in life, where in reality, it should be addressed sooner rather than later.

Every Three To Five Years, An Estate Plan Needs To Be Updated

It can be surprising to find out that estate plans should be updated every three to five years, regardless of any significant life changes. This is because the law and tax codes in Arizona can change quickly, making it important for those with an estate plan to keep up with the latest information.

Failing to update an estate plan when necessary could lead to costly mistakes that can affect how assets are distributed after a person passes away. To make sure that beneficiaries are taken care of properly and in accordance with current laws, estate plans should be reviewed by a qualified attorney every few years, at minimum.

When Something Happens To You, Your Family Won’t Automatically Inherit Your Estate

Surprising to many, when something happens to a person in Arizona, their family will not automatically inherit the estate. Estate planning is an important step that individuals must go through to ensure their property and assets are distributed according to their wishes. Without estate planning, the state will intervene and determine how your belongings should be allocated after death.

If You Pass Away Intestate, Your Estate Will Be Subject To Probate And Will Become A Matter Of Public Record

If a person passes away without having an estate plan in place, their estate will be subject to probate and will become a matter of public record. This means that anyone can access information about the deceased’s assets, liabilities, and other financial information. The process of probate can also be time-consuming, taking months or even years to complete. This can leave surviving family members feeling overwhelmed and frustrated during an already difficult time. Furthermore, if the deceased does not have adequate assets to cover their debts, creditors will often attempt to acquire funds from remaining assets before heirs receive anything.

In addition to becoming subject to probate proceedings and potentially encountering creditor claims when passing away intestate, one’s estate may also become subject to state laws regarding intestacy succession. In Arizona specifically, the laws governing intestacy are based on who survives the deceased and how much they inherit.

Now that you know a little more about estate planning in Arizona, it’s time to take the next step. If you have any questions or would like help getting started, our team at GillespieShields is here for you. We have years of experience helping people in Arizona with their estate planning needs and can provide tailored advice for your unique situation. Call us today to get started!

Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust?


At GillespieShields our attorneys have been practicing in the field of estate planning since 1985. During the past 30 years, we have developed effective strategies to plan your estate and reduce estate taxes. An estate plan doesn’t just consist of ways to save your tax dollars; they are complex strategies that work together to secure your family’s financial future. Our experienced attorneys can draft wills, create trusts, protect your assets, and help you avoid probate. Contact our office today to start planning for the future of your family. Based out of Phoenix and Mesa, AZ, we provide legal services across a broad spectrum of practices. Our teams have experience and passion for finding sustainable solutions to complex problems. Our AVVO ratings and badges range from excellent to superb, and two of our team attorneys have received Martindale-Hubbell client recognition awards. We are committed to providing effective representation and undeniable value to our clients. We hope you will contact us for any of your legal needs. During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer all of our questions surrounding Arizona’s family laws, your family’s unique situation, and the possible court outcomes. Contact us today for your consultation!


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