A last will and testament (will) is a document that is the building block of your estate plan.
The will states:
Estate: the net worth of a person at the time of death. It is the sum of a person’s assets minus all liabilities at that time.
Personal representative: the person in charge of settling the decedent’s final affairs, sometimes called an executor.
Beneficiaries: the persons/entities who will inherit property sometimes called the heirs
In Arizona a valid will must be:
✓ executed by a person over age 18
✓ in writing
✓ witnessed by two people (notary not required but a good idea)
A holographic will must:
✓ be in the person’s (testator) handwriting
✓ name the beneficiaries
While having a witness and notary is a good idea, it is not required if the will meets the requirements of a holographic will.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I don’t have any property why would I need a will? Remember that a a last will and testament also directs what happens to your personal items and who should be the guardian for your minor children, disabled children, or an incapacitated spouse.
What is a personal representative? The personal representative is the person who will file documents with the court so your assets can be used to pay your final debts and distribute the remainder to your heirs. In some states, this role is called an executor.
Does having a will mean my estate can avoid a probate? Whether you have a will or not does not determine if a probate action is needed. If property is only in the name of a deceased person (not jointly owned, not titled to a trust, and no named beneficiary) and that property exceeds certain minimum limits, a probate may be required to fulfill the terms of your will.
Kile & Kupiszewski law firm has over 20 years experience in estate planning. When you come in for a consultation we will help you to understand the estate planning and probate process. Most importantly, we listen to you and will formulate an estate plan that meets the needs of you and your loved ones. Call us today to schedule a consultation 480-348-1590.
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