Our Beginner’s Guide to Estate Planning In Arizona

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by | Dec 29, 2022 | Probate Law

The life that you have created for yourself and your family in Arizona should be protected, no matter what the future holds. Having an estate plan can help ensure that your wishes are fulfilled and your assets are divided in accordance with the laws of Arizona. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to update a previously established estate plan, our beginner’s guide to estate planning in Arizona will help make sense of it all. In this article, we answer some of the frequently asked questions about wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, guardianship designations, and other elements related to estate planning in Arizona. Let’s get started on establishing an estate plan so you can feel secure knowing that all is taken care of when it comes time to pass down wealth!

How Do I Know That I Need An Estate Plan?

Estate planning is an essential part of preparing for the future both for yourself and your family. Those living in Arizona should be aware that estate planning is an important step to ensure that their wishes are honored in the event of their passing.

It is important to understand why creating an estate plan is so important. People often mistakenly believe that their estate will automatically be divided correctly or go to their designated beneficiaries, but this isn’t always the case. With proper estate planning, you have more control over who receives what upon your death, as well as making sure that any dependents are taken care of in the way you would want them to be. Additionally, an estate plan can help reduce taxes and protect against creditors making claims against assets after you pass away.

Additionally, there is the matter of guardianship if you have children or dependents who may need someone else to take care of them should something happen to you. Without a clear estate plan designating with whom your dependents should live and who should manage any assets they inherit, it could end up being decided by a court or other third-party entity which may not honor your wishes as closely as desired.

How Can I Start Creating An Estate Plan?

Creating an estate plan is an important step to take as you prepare for your future and that of your loved ones. Here are the most common steps to begin creating an estate plan:

  • Consult with a qualified attorney who specializes in estate planning. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the laws that may apply to your situation, create a customized plan tailored to fit your needs, and assist you in properly executing the documents.
  • Write a will. An estate plan should include a will, which defines how assets are distributed upon death, and other legal documents such as trusts or powers of attorney that allow someone else to manage finances or make decisions if the person becomes incapacitated.
  • Setup Living Trusts. Trusts can also provide tax benefits or protect assets from creditors. Setting up living trusts is especially important for people with large estates who wish for their heirs to avoid probate court upon their passing. Additionally, various types of insurance policies such as life insurance may be part of an estate plan; these can help ensure finances are available when needed.

It’s also important to consider how digital assets like online banking accounts and cryptocurrency will be handled in the event of death or disability; provisions should be included in any estate plan so that access is not blocked off after passing away. Finally, estate plans should be regularly reviewed and updated over time, as laws change and personal circumstances evolve.

What Is A Power Of Attorney And How Does It Affect Estate Planning?

A power of attorney (POA) is an important estate planning tool used to designate someone to manage your affairs and make financial and legal decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to do so. It is a written document that gives someone else the authority to act for you in the event of such an occurrence, and it can be either general or limited in nature with specific instructions as to what type of authority is granted.

Generally speaking, a POA will allow the designated individual—the “attorney in fact”—to handle matters related to banking, investments, taxes, contracts, and real estate transactions. Depending on the scope of authority granted by the document, they may also have permission to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

When creating a POA, it’s essential that you choose someone who you trust completely because they will have access to all of your assets and financial information as well as the capability to exercise tremendous control over them without requiring court approval or supervision. 

You should discuss your wishes explicitly with this person beforehand and include detailed instructions about how funds should be managed, who has access to them, and what decisions they’re authorized to make on your behalf. Lastly, it’s important that both you and the attorney-in-fact sign all documents pertaining to this agreement before submitting them for filing with relevant government agencies or financial institutions.

How Do I Find A Reputable Law Office To Help Me With Estate Planning?

Finding a reputable law office to help with estate planning can be a daunting task, but there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you select the best firm for your needs. The first and most important step is to do your research. Researching firms is especially important if you are looking to hire an attorney who specializes in the area of estate planning. Make sure to read reviews online, ask friends or family members for their recommendations, and contact bar associations in your area for referrals.

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential firms, it is important to meet with each one before making a decision. Before meeting with any potential attorneys, make sure that they possess all of the qualifications necessary for practicing law in your state. Good lawyers will be happy to provide references from clients they have successfully worked with in the past and should also be willing to answer any questions you may have about their experience or training related to estate planning.

If you have any questions regarding estate planning in Arizona, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our team of experts is more than happy to help guide you through the process and ensure that your assets are protected. Give us a call today and let us help you get started on your estate plan!

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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