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estate administration & probate Archives

Formal and informal probate in Arizona

Arizona, like all states, maintains its own regulations that govern when and how different types of probate occur when a person passes away or is incapacitated. While there are some other types of probate, most examples of the process fall into either informal or formal probate. A general understanding of the circumstances that may necessitate either form can help you plan for the future or anticipate many aspects an impending probate procedure if you are already facing one.

Credit card debt after death

One of the primary advantages of creating an estate plan is protecting your property and assets from creditors who may come after them after you pass away. In general, any debt that you have accrued in your lifetime must be settled by your estate and does not pass on to an heir. Creditors, especially credit card lenders, may make wildly inaccurate claims to your family about what their responsibility is to your debt, so it is wise to have an estate plan firmly in place that can deal with any of these issues before they arise. It is also helpful to make sure that your family is well-educated about their rights and obligations when it comes to your estate and your debt.

Designating accounts as pay-on-death

For many years now, estate planning has largely focused on circumventing the probate process following the death of an estate holder. Depending on the size of your estate and the complexity of your assets, you may be faced with myriad options for how to construct your particular estate plan and ensure that your beneficiaries are not left waiting for an undue amount of time while the state has its way with your assets. For some individuals, bypassing probate may be as simple as designating some of their accounts as "payable-on-death" or "transfer-on-death," and assigning beneficiaries to those accounts.

New years' resolutions to protect yourself and those you love

For almost everyone in the America, 2016 was a year that held many surprises, some positive, and some heartbreaking. If nothing else, this year was an extended reminder that in big ways and small, life can take unexpected turns. As we look forward to the advent of a new year, there will be many New Years' resolutions made, in an effort to learn from the past and create a better future. Now is the perfect time to review your estate plan and resolve to address any of these key areas that may still be neglected.

Qualities of a good executor

Choosing an executor should be done very careful when creating and executing a will. While there are very few restrictions on who specifically can serve as one's executor, it is not an appointment to be taken lightly. If you are considering naming an executor, please carefully consider some standards that every executor should meet in order to truly be not only eligible but also worthy of the position.

Intestacy of an estate

When a person dies without a will, or if there is an invalid will, that person's estate passes into intestacy. Intestacy entails that the state in which the person was residing will assume responsibility for distributing the intestate estate to any relevant individuals, doing its best to approximate what that person's will might have been had one been created. This may sound like a good thing, but often the process of distribution through the state diminishes the estate significantly, and it may distribute assets in a wildly different manner than the deceased person would have wanted.

Power of appointment and estate administration

One of the most important components of an estate plan is the power of appointment. The power of appointment is one of the fundamental tools that allows complex legal transactions to take place and be honored by courts and governmental agencies. You might be considering using power of appointment to give another individual specific privileges regarding your property, which is a common occurrence in many wills and other legal documents.

Joint tenancy and tenancy-in-common

Often in the course of planning an estate, some individuals will want to own a piece of property jointly. It is possible for this to be accomplished in a couple of different ways, each with its own advantages and liabilities. If you are considering joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common on a title, a broad understanding of the differences can help you determine which is best for your needs.

How do I help my parents create an estate plan?

Millions of Americans' parents do not have a solid plan for how they want to live out their retirement years, or what to do with their estate when they pass. This is a dangerous place for everyone involved, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Regardless of the state of your parents' affairs, you can help them assemble a responsible, forward-looking estate plan that puts them first while taking pressure off of you. If you are going to help your parents get their affairs in order, you'll want to know the state of a few different things.

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