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Most people are familiar with the purpose of a will.  A last will and testament can be used to detail your assets, property, possessions and how they are to be divided after your passing.  However, a surprising number of people have not taken the time to properly set-up an enforceable will that details their last wishes accurately.  Writing a will in Arizona is vital if you want your last wishes carried out and your assets divided according to your desires.

Uses of a Will in Arizona

As mentioned above, a will allows you to detail the people that will receive your property and assets upon your death.  A will should also nominate a personal guardian for your children (while they are still minors).  If you have assets, businesses, or property, you should make sure you have nominated someone to manage the business or property until your children reach a certain age.  Every will should nominate a specific personal representative, as well as a few additional people to act if the first person cannot fulfill the obligation.  A personal representative will be responsible for making sure everything in your will has been carried out properly and accurately.

Risks of Passing Away Without Writing a Will in Arizona

Arizona intestate succession laws govern the passing of an estate after death if there is no will.  Arizona laws state that your closest relatives will receive your inheritance if you did not have a will at the time of your death.  The process starts with your spouse and children.  If you don’t have a spouse or children, it moves to your parents.  Your siblings would be next in line, followed by grandparents, then any aunts, uncles or cousins.  The state of Arizona will take possession of your entire estate if the court is unable to locate any sufficiently close living relatives.

Legal Requirements for Writing a Will in Arizona

For a will to be valid and enforceable in Arizona, only two requirements must be met.  The will must be witnessed by two people and the witnesses must sign the will.  Arizona does not require a will to be notarized, although it is typically advisable to have your will notarized. If a will is notarized and contains certain language, the will is considered “self-proving” and witnesses will not have to appear for the will to be executed.  There are places online where you can create a free will, and you can then arrange to have two witnesses there when you sign it.  However, it is advisable to have an attorney experienced in writing wills in Arizona review your documentation.  There are many important things that can easily be left out of a will without the benefit of experience.  This is especially true in cases where you have assets, businesses, and property; depending on the situation, there may be more advantageous methods to pass ownership to your family.

Make Sure to Name Personal Representatives in a Will

One of the most important things you can do in your will is choose your personal representative.  This person will be responsible to ensuring full execution of your last will and testament.  You will typically want to set up a line of succession with alternate personal representatives in case your initial nominee cannot perform the duties.

Find an Experienced Attorney in Arizona

Once you have set up a well drafted and proper will, it should only require minor updates, if any changes at all.  This is the main reason it is important to work with an experienced attorney to get it done correctly the first time around.  The attorneys at MacQueen & Gottlieb have significant experience with writing a will in Arizona.  Contact us today at 602-533-2840 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.

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