Bravo! You did it! You finally have an estate plan. After all these years of “waiting for the right time” and “talking it over” with your spouse, your estate plan is complete. It must feel nice to finally breathe that sigh of relief knowing that your present and your future is secure—talk about getting 2015 started off on the right foot.
Wait…what did you say? You haven’t established an estate plan yet? But of course you have! Didn’t you know that the government established an estate plan for you? That’s right—every American has an estate plan! Cue the celebratory music! There is no longer any need for customized estate planning or estate planning attorneys. This, my friends, will be my final blog. Sigh.
I sincerely hope that you recognize my levity. Of course you need a customized estate plan; of course there is a need for estate planning attorneys; of course this will not be my final blog (unless something unfortunate should occur); and, yes, of course the government established an estate plan for you.
Your government-sponsored estate plan is called “intestate succession.” Sounds special, right? These laws of intestacy govern where your assets will be distributed if you die without a will, trust, or beneficiary designation (on certain types of assets). These laws are often convoluted and may result in your estate not going where you want it to go. Arizona law for example, provides, in part, that without a valid will or trust in place, the intestate estate will be split as follows:
The following part of the intestate estate, as to both separate property and the one-half of community property that belongs to the decedent, passes to the surviving spouse:
If there is no surviving issue (child) or if there are surviving issues (children) all of whom are issues of the surviving spouse also, the entire intestate estate.
If there are surviving issues (children) one or more of whom are not issues (children) of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate separate property and no interest in the one-half of the community property that belonged to the decedent.
Clear as a bell, right? As you begin this New Year, please write to your state legislature to thank it for the gift that keeps on giving. Again, please indulge my levity. Actually, as you begin this New Year, make it your resolution to establish your own estate plan. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a plan that directs where and how your assets are to be distributed, free of government involvement? Wouldn’t it also be nice to have a plan that can help protect some of your assets while you’re living and maintain protections after you die? If this sounds appealing to you, please re-gift your government-sponsored estate plan back to the government and contact the attorneys at Morris Hall for a free estate planning consultation. Let us help you start 2015 off with a bang!
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren L. Richardson.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.