At MacQueen & Gottlieb, our attorneys have combined experience in estate planning in Arizona. Don’t make the mistake of leaving things up in the air or creating a mess for your loved ones in the future. Make sure you consider these seven important elements beforehand.
Create Your Will
Did you know that more than half of all American adults don’t have a will or a living will? Without these documents in place, your loved ones are left to guess (and sometimes squabble) over what happens with your possessions after you have passed away. A well written will, however, ensures that things go smoothly, and the way you designate, after your passing.
Determine Asset Distribution
Make sure you have determined who gets what when you die. Assets without instruction often lead to infighting and unnecessary drama. Instead, consider writing an asset distribution list of who gets what to include as part your estate planning in AZ.
Assign Beneficiary Designations
If you have accounts that pay out to you, like a life insurance policy, you want to make sure you designate beneficiaries. This can also include IRA accounts, pension funds and more. Make sure that you have the proper people designated for these payouts to avoid confusion.
Choose the Personal Representative
It can be difficult to determine who your personal representative should be. In many other states, this person is commonly referred to as an “executor.” But you don’t want to leave it to chance, either. This is the person who will handle paying your debts, and the distribution of your assets. Commonly, this will be the oldest child you have or a close relative such as a brother or a sister.
Make it Easy to Find Important Documents
Make sure you have all your documents in order. Things like life insurance, your will, living will and asset distribution list should be safeguarded. In cases where you have an attorney, it is not uncommon for the attorney’s firm to retain these documents on your behalf.
Take Advantage of Gift Tax Exclusions
Did you know that you can gift certain sums from your estate tax-free to your loved ones? If you know that your estate will carry certain monetary value, it’s not a bad idea to consider reducing the tax liability that your loved ones will face on the money that you’ve already earned.
Create a Living Will
A living will is another important element not to be overlooked. It outlines what healthcare procedures are acceptable or forbidden (like taking you off life support), should you be unable to answer such questions yourself. It’s a vital document that should be created, just in case.
The attorneys at MacQueen & Gottlieb are here to help you with estate planning in Arizona. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or make an appointment online.