Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

When most people think of estate planning, they believe it is only
something the very wealthy need to do.  Nothing could be further from the
truth.  Below are the two questions most people ask: What is Estate
Planning? and Do I need an Estate Plan?  Once you have a basic
understanding of what estate planning is and how it can help you feel
free to look at the resources listed in the right column for more in depth
information.  Also, please feel free to call us at the telephone numbers on
the left if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free no cost
consultation with an estate planning attorney.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is a process that helps you plan for events in your life
and the lives of your family members.  The events you plan for are not
only deaths, but the possible disability of you , your spouse or children,  
as well as attacks by creditors and other predators (children's ex-
spouses, scam artists and others).  This process involves the following
considerations as well as may other factors:

How your assets will be managed for your benefit if you are
unable to do so (for example,:due to temporary or permanent  
When certain assets will be transferred to others (either during
your lifetime, at your death, or sometime after your death);
Who will inherit specific assets (spouse, children, charities, etc.);
Whether some or all of the persons who will inherit from you need
protection from creditors and predators or otherwise require
assistance in managing their affairs;
What taxes will apply in a given event (estate taxes, gift taxes,
income taxes, capital gains taxes, etc.);
The importance of avoiding the probate process and court
interference in family affairs.

The list of considerations can go on for many pages.  Many of the issues
we address in our Estate Planning process apply to even people with
very modest incomes and assets.  Estate Planning also addresses your
welfare and needs during your lifetime, planning for your own daily living
needs and health care if you are not able to care for yourself, whether
temporarily or permanently.  You may at first think that Estate Planning is
simply making a will.  However, Estate Planning encompasses much
more.  Estate Planning typically involves financial, tax, medical and
business planning.  While a will is a part of that planning process, other
documents are needed to fully address your Estate Planning needs.

Please feel free to explore the links at right for more information about
Estate Planning or call us with any questions.

Do I need to do Estate Planning?

At a minimum, and regardless of the size of your estate, you should
designate the person who, in the event of your incapacity, will have the
responsibility for the management of your assets and your care,
including the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf. This
is one of the key objectives in Estate Planning.

If your estate (your net worth) is small, you may focus simply upon who is
to receive your assets after your death and who should be in charge of its
management and distribution as well as planning for the protection of
those individuals receiving your assets. Even with small estates, it is
beneficial to avoid the expense, time and hassle of going through the
probate process.  A good estate plan will avoid probate or reduce the
amount of time and money spent in the probate process.  Another reason
to avoid probate is to relieve your survivors from the burden of probate at
the worst possible time; after you gone and your family is grieving.

If your estate is larger, we will discuss with you not only who is to receive
your assets and when, but also various ways to preserve your assets for
your beneficiaries and to reduce or postpone the amount of estate tax,
income tax and other taxes which otherwise might be payable on your

If you do no planning, then Arizona law provides for the court appointment
of a Personal Representative (in the event of your death) or a Guardian
and Conservator (in the event of your disability) to take responsibility for
your personal care and assets. This can be a very costly process, even
for small estates.  In addition, Arizona law and the courts will decide who
inherits from you and how much. People who you have no intention of
providing for at your death may receive assets you want to go to your
loved ones.

The short answer to the original question is and emphatic YES!  
Everyone should do at least the minimum planning to provide for
themselves and their loved ones.
Attorneys and Counselors at Law

Arizona Attorney General Terry
Goddard warns of Non-Attorney
"Estate Planners" scamming

Click here to read the Attorney
General's warning.

I have had clients tell me
horror stories of high pressure
sales people trying to sell them
financial products to include in
the estate plans they thought
they were purchasing.  These
plans are often basic fill in the
blank forms (one size fits all)
that do not take into account
any of the unique wishes or
circumstances of the client.  
Be wary of salespeople
masquerading as estate

General Information

ABA Guide to Wills and Estates

ABA Section of Real Property,
Probate, and Trust Law

Arizona Information

The State Bar of Arizona has
published a brochure about

Understanding Wills and Trusts

The Arizona Attorney General
has compiled information about
life planning for seniors:

Life Care Planning for Seniors

The Attorney's General Office
also has an Arizona planning

Life Care Planning Packet
Information and Documents
Phoenix Office
845 North 6th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Tel   602.344.0034
Fax   602.344.0043
Willmott & Associates, PLC serves clients in all Maricopa County cities, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria,
Tolleson, and Avondale.  See
Terms of Use and Disclaimer.

Copyright © 2012 Willmott & Associates, PLC.  All rights reserved.
Would you like your will,
trust or estate plan
prepared by an
experienced estate
planning attorney?

Willmott & Associates
at 602-344-0034
email us today
to schedule a no-cost,