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Comprehensive estate planning can provide the best protection

Over the past few years, there have been a number of stories in the media regarding what has happened to the estates of celebrities who died unexpectedly. It is often assumed that the wealthy have detailed estate planning handled long before their heirs will need it. Unfortunately, simply having a will may not be enough to protect one's assets for the intended heirs. Arizona residents who are considering how to provide for their heirs should begin the process sooner rather than later.

Reportedly, neither Prince or Aretha Franklin had plans in place for their estates. While the late Soprano star, James Gandolfini, did have a will, trusts would likely have provided the opportunity for greater privacy. The details of a will are public once filed in probate court, something the estate holder may not have wanted. 

For those with considerable assets, comprehensive estate plans are necessary. These may include the use of wills, revocable trusts, power-of-attorney documents and health care proxies. A will typically includes the designation of a trusted person to act as executor for the purpose of settling the estate, while trust documents include the appointment of a trustee to ensure the terms of the trust are honored. 

It is estimated that only 60 percent of adults have a last will and testament. When an individual dies without a will or funded trust, the assets of the estate will be distributed according to the state's laws of intestacy. Arizona residents confronting these issues can find peace of mind by consulting with an attorney who can help implement the estate planning tools that best fit one's unique needs.

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