LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
WHAT IS A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?
What Is a Last Will and Testament?
If you have property and valuables that you would like to see go to your children or certain loved ones when you pass away, a will is a legal document drafted by an estate planning attorney or wills and trusts lawyer that provides directions to the probate courts for the distribution of your property. A will also gives directions regarding the care of minor children, if any.
Testamentary Will or Last Will and Testament
A testamentary will is the type most people hear about. It is a written document drafted by an estate planning lawyer or wills and trusts attorney that is signed and dated by the testator (person who is getting the will done), and signed by two witnesses. This is the law in Arizona for a testamentary will to be valid. The testator must also be at least 18 years of age, have testamentary capacity and intent, and not be unduly influenced.
Holographic wills are handwritten documents signed by the testator, so an estate planning attorney would not be involved. These holographic wills are recognized by the courts in Arizona. Holographic wills are valid without the signature of witnesses.
A pour-over will is created by your wills and trusts attorney along with a trust. Estate planning attorneys include pour-over wills to ensure that all of your property and other items you own that are not included in your living trust will be "poured into" the living trust when you pass away. This is essentially a way for you and your estate to avoid the costs of probate. This is important because if you don't have a pour-over will, any property not included in the living trust by you or your estate planning attorney will be distributed according to Arizona laws of intestacy.
Why Do I Need a Will?
You need a will to ensure that your property is distributed according to your desires and not the State intestate laws. Further, if you have minor children, you can determine who cares for them in the event of your death instead of leaving that determination up to the government. If you want your money to go to charity, a will allows for that too. Plus, there have been a lot of broken family relationships because a will was unclear or did not exist and family members started fighting over a deceased family members assets. If the recent deaths of Aretha Franklin, or the artist formerly known as Prince, who passed away without an estate in 2016, don't illustrate the frustrations that accompany family members related to those who have died without a will, I don't know what does.
How Do I Get a Will?
Michael Koberlein, an estate planning attorney at the Koberlein Law Firm in the Mesa and Gilbert area, can help you draft a will and other documents that will enable you to have your wishes carried out at the time of your death. Once you have your last will and testament, you would want to ensure that your executor has a copy so your desires can be carried out as written. Please call Michael Koberlein today at (480) 776-6912 and schedule an appointment today.