Answering Your Estate Planning And Probate Questions
Taking the appropriate measures to protect your legacy and your loved ones can be challenging when you are uncertain about your legal options for estate planning. Having assisted clients since 1971, the legal professionals at the Law Office of Frank L. Ross know that Arizona’s estate administration and probate laws can be confusing to interpret for most individuals.
Firm founder, Frank L. Ross, wants to give you the insight you need to look after the people and the things that you value. Please read through the questions that attorney Ross typically answers during his free consultations with new clients. Then, contact the firm to arrange your private consultation with attorney Ross by calling 623-428-2050.
Who should get an estate plan?
Most adults should have even a basic estate plan established. For some people, only a simple will is necessary. However, if you have young children or you are concerned about protecting your wishes in the event of incapacitation, you may want to add other legal tools to your plan. A skilled attorney can help you determine which legal instruments will help you achieve your goals and secure your peace of mind.
If you have met with an estate planning attorney in the past, it may be time to update your legal documents. An estate plan should change to reflect significant changes in your own life, such as a marriage, divorce and addition of a new family member. Modifying your estate planning documents will help you ensure that your interests are protected as your needs change.
Do I need an attorney to create a simple will?
It can be risky to write a will on your own even if you have relatively few assets to pass on to your loved ones. Making a mistake can lead to confusion regarding your wishes and may create conflict among your beneficiaries. It is always a good idea to include an attorney in the creation or approval of a will because if you die and your will contradicts itself, it may not be able to serve its intended purpose. An attorney can make sure you have set up your will correctly to truly protect your assets after you die.
Does every asset go through probate?
No, not necessarily. Assets that may not go through probate include those held in a trust, assets owned by more than one person, and those that pass to a beneficiary because of life insurance policy or any other contract after a person’s death.
Attorney Ross intimately understands Arizona’s probate laws. He can help you design a legal strategy that simplifies or avoids the probate process.
How long does probate usually take?
Because each family’s probate concerns are unique, there is no standard time period of probate. Complex probate proceedings can last over a year, delaying the inheritance process and extracting funds from the estate itself. In Arizona, probate can take at least four to five months to conclude. It’s also important to understand that this process is public, which means that others can read court records to learn which beneficiary received what assets. Also, any legal fees or expenses incurred by probate are paid by the estate, which affects the inheritance that is distributed. For many heirs, it is in their best interest to avoid probate when possible.