By Abigail Neal, Scottsdale Wills and Trusts Lawyer
Each estate planning document has its own unique purpose. While we strongly urge people to create a comprehensive estate plan, we recognize that there are times when a person may only need one or two specific documents. The Neal Law Firm offers the following estate planning documents to be purchased individually:
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will & Testament is the document where you name the people or charities that will inherit your assets after death. Without a Last Will & Testament or Trust, the laws of your state of residence at the time of your death will determine who inherits your property. A Last Will & Testament helps ensure that your assets go to your desired heirs, as opposed to the heirs selected by your state of residence. Also, it is critical that parents with minor children create a Last Will & Testament as a Last Will & Testament is the only document where you can name a guardian for your minor children under Arizona law. In your custom drafted Last Will & Testament you will you name one or more persons to act as guardian(s) of your minor children if something happens to you. You have the ability to name a conservator to manage any assets left to your minor children.
Health Care Directives (Health Care Power of Attorney, HIPAA Authorization & Living Will)
A Health Care Power of Attorney names who you want to make your medical decisions if you cannot. If you become ill or incapacitated, your Health Care Agent is authorized to make decisions about what medical treatments are right for you. Without a Health Care Power of Attorney, your family could end up arguing about who should make these decisions, and possibly have to go to court. This could cost thousands of dollars and waste precious time that should be spent on getting you well again.
A HIPAA Authorization lets health care professionals know that its ok to share your protected health care information with your Health Care Agent under your Health Care Power of Attorney. This is critically important as it enables your Health Care Agent can make the best decisions about your medical care.
A Living Will tells your medical providers about your end-of-life medical wishes. These wishes include your wishes about medical treatment that would artificially delay death from a terminal condition, persistent vegetative state or irreversible coma. A Living Will is sometimes referred to as a “do not resuscitate” or “DNR” document.
Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes the person(s) you name to manage your financial affairs if you are ill or incapacitated. Your financial agent will be able to access your bank accounts to pay your mortgage, buy groceries for your family, manage your business and perform any other financial acts that you could do yourself if you were able. Your Financial Power of Attorney is very comprehensive. Without a Financial Power of Attorney your loved ones may be required to go to court to have a conservator appointed to manage your finances. This could cost thousands of dollars and waste precious time that could end up costing you a significant amount of money in late fees, interest charges and the like.
A Beneficiary Deed is used to transfer title of real property at the owner’s death. A property owner can pick whomever he or she wants to inherit the property: one or more persons, a trust, an entity or a charity. There are multiple benefits to using a Beneficiary Deed including probate avoidance with regards to the property, the ability to amend or revoke the Beneficiary Deed during the grantor’s lifetime, the ability to mortgage, refinance or sell the property – all while ensuring that the property will go to the right place upon the owner’s death. We will prepare your deed and hand record your deed with the appropriate county recorder.
Pet Trust –
Arizona law authorizes the creation of a trust to benefit and provide for pets. An Arizona Pet Trust allows you to leave money or property to your pets in trust to be used by a trustee and/or caregiver to care for your pet(s) if something happens to you. You specify who gets the assets remaining in the Trust after the last pet dies.
Questions about what you need? Please call us at (480) 699-7992. No charge for questions about preparing estate plan documents or about Powers & Neal’s estate planning services.