Legal Documents in Estate Planning

A law firm such as ours provides many legal documents that sound familiar to most laymen. However, most people have pretty basic questions about what functions are served by some of these well known documents.

Powers of Attorney

We tell all our clients that powers of attorney, both health care and financial, may be the most important documents to have in place. After all, they protect our interests while we are living, whereas Wills primarily serve to dispose of our property when we are gone. If we have not signed powers of attorney, and then become disabled, our loved ones may have to petition the Probate Court for guardianship and/or conservatorship. Guardianship and conservatorship are far more expensive than powers of attorney to establish and to administer. That is a good reason to make sure we all have powers of attorney in place. We must have legal capacity – competency – to sign powers of attorney. If we wait too long to sign our powers of attorney, we may lose the legal capacity to do so. This is an all-too-common situation, and an unfortunate one.

Wills

Unless we have a valid Will, we are “intestate” and the statutory provisions for intestacy control the distribution of our property. The intestacy statute is in effect a default Will for those of us who have not already executed our own Wills. One of the problems with depending on the intestate provisions is when we want to leave property to someone to whom we are not legally related, for example a domestic partner to whom we are not married. Under the intestacy statute, that person would receive nothing of our personal property. Other important functions of even the simplest Will include provisions for appointing the person who will administer the estate, possibly without bond, for allowing us to have a “memorandum” to the Will that can give certain items to certain people, and for establishing our instructions as to the disposition of remains.

Trusts

A trust is almost like a contract made between the “settlor”, the person who declares the trust, and the “trustee”, the person who will administer the trust. With living trusts, the most common type of trust, the settlor and initial trustee are usually the same person.

Let Our Firm Help You

Tucson Estate Planning, Probate and Guardianship Attorney

At the Wood Law Firm, we are committed to providing affordable legal services including estate planning, wills, probate, guardianship, conservatorship and elder law matters to those in Tucson and the surrounding community.

We Deliver Timely and Reasonable Legal Services to Tucson and the Catalina Foothills Community

Attorney Henry Wood is a member of various Bar Associations and is also a Licensed Fiduciary, registered by the Arizona Supreme Court.

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