Few people like to think about death, especially their own. But those that do may find some comfort in the knowledge that they have protected loved ones through estate planning. Unfortunately, many Arizona residents mistakenly believe that having a plan in place is not necessary.
There are several common misconceptions about estate planning. Some worry that drafting a will hastens death. Of course, everyone dies, though making a will does not necessarily mean one has reached the end of the line. However, not having a will means that the state will decide how to divide one's property after death, and that may or may not be in accordance with the individual's wishes. Another common reason for not having an estate plan is lacking significant assets, but a will can also specify a guardian for minor children and what one wishes as far as final arrangements.
Some people who have estate plans think there is no need to ever revisit them. This could be a costly mistake. Changes in the tax laws, marriages, divorces and deaths can also create the need to amend an existing plan. In addition, individuals who have been chosen to serve in certain capacities, such as an executor or trustee, may no longer be capable of fulfilling those duties.
Another misconception is that beneficiaries do not need to be updated based on a will. This is not the case, since the types of assets that require a beneficiary are transferred directly, outside of probate. If a will has been revised to change heirs, any beneficiaries must also be updated, if desired. While many procrastinate about estate planning, the peace of mind achieved by addressing these issues is worth the effort. Arizona residents who are unsure how to proceed may seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can select the appropriate tools for their needs.