Planning Ahead

questions & answers

Question: Do I need a will?

Answer:

If you want the following issues handled, then do prepare a will:

  1. You want to disinherit an heir.
  2. You want to provide for friends/charities/spouse/children/family members.
  3. You want to revoke prior wills.
  4. You want an unequal distribution among your beneficiaries.
  5. You are leaving money to minor or disabled beneficiaries (always do a trust in the will or name a custodian under the Arizona Uniform Transfers to Minors Act - Do not leave money outright as a conservatorship proceeding will be necessary).
  6. You want to provide for your pet (assets cannot be left directly to your pet but can go to a Trustee to manage the assets needed to care for your pet; the trust ends after a certain time period).
  7. You want to name Personal Representative(s) to manage notifying heirs and creditors, paying taxes, creditors and administrative expenses, and distribution to beneficiaries.
  8. You have a spouse and children from a prior marriage and want to be clear who gets what of your assets.
  9. Your wishes regarding final arrangements (please realize that if your wishes are not known before death and arrangements are done before the will is found, your wishes may be ineffective.)
  10. You wish to nominate a guardian for minor or disabled individuals.

In Arizona, a holographic will is valid; you must write out the will in your own handwriting and sign it. A date is also helpful, as is a note about whether you are revoking prior wills.

The will can be typed, signed by you and witnessed by two people and then signed by a notary public. The notary public cannot be a witness. The two witnesses and notary public should not be related to you or a beneficiary/personal representative in the will.

DO NOT write on your will after it has been signed. If you want to make changes, prepare a codicil or a new will. If someone’s address has changed, do not write on the document, simply note it on a separate page calledcontact information.”

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