Do you Need a Will?
Most adults should have a Will – which is generally
the first document considered in an individual’s
Estate Plan. If you die without a Will, the State will
decide how your property is distributed. Without a Will,
a judge could decide who raises your children. You can
also prevent your loved ones from getting into disputes
over your possessions by making your wishes clear in
Some of the following family situations probably apply
*Married With Minor Children –
If your spouse predeceases you, who do you want to have
custody of your minor children? A Guardian would be
responsible for raising and caring for them. Do you
want the same or a different person to be Conservator?
The roles of a Guardian and Conservator are very different.
Simply stated: a Guardian makes the day-to-day decisions
of raising the children, and the Conservator administers
and accounts for any property owned by or on behalf
of your minor children.
*Business Owner – Have
you thought through and discussed business succession
plans for your family-owned business? Your heirs could
lose a sizeable portion of your estate to settlement
costs; but you can lessen this shrinkage through trusts,
gifts, and other strategies.
*Modest Estate – Do you
think your estate is too small to warrant a Will? According
to Phoenix estate planning attorney Anthony R. Iniguez,
"Age or the size of your estate should not be the
primary factors in deciding whether or not to draw up
a Will. The question you really want to ask is, 'Do
I want a say in who receives my property?' If you do
not specify who gets your property, the State will."
*Sizeable Estate – Do
you have a net worth in excess of $2 million? If so,
estate planning can help you reduce your estate taxes
and leave more of your assets to your loved ones.
*Family Treasures – Who
gets Grandma’s plate? More often than not, if
there are disputes, it’s over the smaller items
that have sentimental value. These conflicts can often
be avoided by clearly outlining your wishes in a Will.
*Charitable Intent –
Would you like to support a worthy charity or school
after your death? There are several types of gifts which
can accomplish this objective as well as provide tax
and income benefits to you and your family.
*For Everyone – What if
you are incapacitated? If you cannot care for yourself,
who do you want to make decisions about your medical
care? If you cannot manage your financial affairs, who
should? These decisions can be outlined in Medical and
Financial Powers of Attorney. You may also want to consider
a Living Will which allows you to state exactly what
your desires are regarding medical life support.