Estate Planning Lawyer in Peoria, Arizona

5.0 out of 5.0

Pennington Law is an excellent law firm. Andre is extremely knowledgeable and takes the time to understand your needs. I have and will continue to recommend friends and family to him without question.

- Charlene Short
Pennington Law, PLLC

13260 N. 94th Drive

Suite 203

Peoria, AZ 85381

Phone: 623-303-1813

Fax: 623-215-9400

Although unpleasant, preparing for what happens after you die is necessary. You must establish a comprehensive plan to care for your family and inform them of your wishes after you’re gone. Otherwise, the state will make the decisions for you — making things much more difficult for the loved ones you leave behind.

At Pennington Law, PLLC, we understand the stress of drafting legal documents with confusing terms and language without the assistance of a lawyer. Let us help you every step of the way. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation with an estate planning attorney in Peoria, AZ.

Why You Need a Peoria Estate Planning Lawyer

You might like the DIY approach to many things in life. However, estate planning isn’t the place for drafting the documents yourself. You should always hire an estate planning attorney, whether you’re starting from scratch or modifying an existing estate plan.

You might need legal advice and guidance if any of these circumstances apply to you:

  • You have a blended family
  • You fear a relative contesting the validity of your will
  • You want to establish a trust for multiple beneficiaries
  • You have minor children or dependent family members
  • You worry whether your loved ones can afford inheritance or estate taxes
  • You own a business or have interests in investments
  • You have assets in other states or countries

Retaining legal representation is an excellent idea, even if your estate is small or contains low-value assets. Proceeding with the process on your own can lead to mistakes that negatively affect the people you’re trying to protect.

What’s the Importance of Having an Estate Plan?

A well-prepared estate plan can benefit anyone, even those with no significant assets. An estate plan is essential for numerous reasons, including the following:

Protecting Your Loved Ones

You might be the primary breadwinner in your family or have several children you want to provide for after you’re gone. Estate planning can accomplish that by naming beneficiaries to receive your property when you die.

Protecting Young Kids

As a parent, you want nothing more than for your children to be happy and not struggle. Planning for the future means preparing for the unthinkable and unexpected. With an estate plan, you can choose a guardian to take on the parenting role if you die before your kids turn 18. If you don’t select a guardian, the court can appoint someone, and it might be a person you don’t trust to raise your children as you would.

Reducing Tax Consequences

The tax implications can be a significant problem when someone receives an inheritance. There are ways to reduce or eliminate estate taxes by including the proper documents in your estate plan.

Preventing Family Disputes

Misunderstandings, confusion, and hurt feelings can lead to arguments within the family. By carefully designating specific assets for specific relatives and explaining your thought process, you can prevent disputes about your estate when you die.

What Are the Elements of a Successful Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a map for your family to follow to fulfill your final wishes. The documents you choose to include will instruct them on how you want specific matters to be handled. You should incorporate the elements that safeguard your property, outline your preferred medical care, and explain what to do if you can’t speak for yourself.

The most important documents in an estate plan include:

  • Last Will and Testament – Your last will and testament can do several things, including naming the beneficiaries for your assets and appointing someone to care for your children, a special needs adult, or your pets.
  • Living Trust – With a living trust, you transfer assets into the trust and control them while you’re alive. The person you choose as your successor trustee will manage the trust when you die and distribute the remaining assets to named beneficiaries.
  • Living Will – A living will differs from a last will and testament. Instead of defining your wishes for when you die, you communicate your wishes for end-of-life care if an accident or terminal illness causes incapacitation.
  • Power of Attorney – A power of attorney authorizes a person you choose to manage your affairs if you can’t make sound decisions yourself.
  • Parent Contingency Plan – You must plan who will take over your child’s care if you unexpectedly die or become incapacitated. With a parent contingency plan, you express your preference for who should be responsible for raising your kids.

What Is a Trust?

A trust is a fiduciary agreement between a grantor, who is the person who establishes the trust, and a trustee, who manages the trust. Typically, the grantor is also the trustee and appoints a successor trustee to take over upon death.

If you create a living trust, you have control over your own assets during your lifetime. You can transfer or remove property anytime and even revoke the document if it is a revocable living trust.

When you pass away, your successor trustee is authorized to manage the remaining assets held in the trust and transfer them to your beneficiaries according to your instructions.

One of the most significant benefits of a trust is that it avoids probate. That means your loved ones don’t have to wait for the court to validate your will to receive the property you want them to inherit.

What Is Probate Administration?

Probate is the process whereby a judge validates a will and approves the administration of the estate. The executor must enter the will into the probate court. Once the judge approves the will, the executor can fulfill their duties, including transferring property, paying estate taxes, and paying debts.

What Is a Guardianship?

If you have minor children, appointing a guardian is crucial. The guardian is responsible for raising your children after your death. You can name one or multiple guardians to share in the responsibility or designate a primary and secondary guardian if the primary guardian is unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties.

You should pick someone you trust to raise your child as you would. They should be a person who understands your parenting style, values, religious beliefs, and other essential aspects of your life.

You can leave behind documentation to explain how you want to handle specific decisions, such as education and medical treatment. You also might consider creating a trust the guardian can use to pay for essential expenses such as housing, food, and clothing.

You could also arrange for a guardianship for an adult who is dependent upon you and incapable of making decisions for themselves. A guardianship under these circumstances could be granted to the person who will make decisions regarding the ward’s daily care, living arrangements, and health matters.

What Is a Conservatorship?

Although similar to guardianship, conservatorship serves a different purpose. If you are deemed incapacitated and unable to manage your finances, a court can rule on conservatorship. That means someone else can manage your assets, buy or sell property, and handle financial transactions on your behalf.

What Is Estate Litigation?

Estate litigation is the procedure whereby disputes about someone’s estate are decided. Any will contests or lawsuits brought against the estate or the executor of the estate will be decided by a court.

What Does an Estate Planning Lawyer Do?

An estate planning lawyer drafts the documents in a client’s estate plan to prepare for unforeseen circumstances. The assistance they provide will depend on your unique situation but might involve:

  • Identifying your beneficiaries
  • Creating trusts to protect your assets and ensure the appropriate beneficiaries receive them upon your death
  • Preparing a last will and testament
  • Determining which elements to incorporate into your estate plan to suit your needs
  • Establishing powers of attorney for your medical and financial affairs
  • Creating advance directives to outline your medical treatment and end-of-life care preferences
  • Advising about options for avoiding probate
  • Working with a financial advisor for solutions to minimize estate taxes for your heirs

How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost?

Estate planning costs vary depending on different factors, including:

  • The size of your estate
  • The value of your assets
  • Whether you own property in another state or country
  • The number of elements incorporated into your estate plan
  • Whether a certified financial planner or tax expert is required

When you hire your estate planning attorney, they should be able to advise you about what crafting an estate plan for someone in your situation should cost.

How Can a Peoria, AZ, Estate Planning Lawyer Help?

A Peoria, AZ, estate planning attorney can ensure the documents you execute are valid and legally enforceable to prevent someone from questioning your decisions or taking a family member to court over a specific asset.

When you hire Pennington Law, PLLC, you will receive guidance during every step of the estate planning process, such as:

  • Making a plan customized to your interests
  • Confirming your estate documents meet federal and state laws
  • Advising you on your options and the decisions that can protect you and your family
  • Explaining the tax consequences of specific estate planning documents
  • Advising about your choice of executor, successor trustee, agent, and other individuals with authorization to control the most sensitive aspects of your estate plan

Types of Estate Planning Services

At Pennington Law, PLLC, we can assist you with various types of services regarding estate plans, including:

Contact an Experienced Peoria Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you’re considering creating an estate plan or want to update a current one, we at Pennington Law, PLLC, are here to provide the legal assistance you need. Our team is known throughout Peoria, AZ, for the top-quality representation needed to meet clients’ goals and give them peace of mind.

Call for a free consultation to get started on your comprehensive estate plan today.