Chandler Wills Lawyer

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A last will and testament is one of the essential components of an estate plan. Even if you do not have a comprehensive estate plan, a will is a necessary document to structure your wishes for your estate and beneficiaries. To ensure your will is valid and provides benefits for your loved ones, you need to work with a Chandler wills lawyer to create a comprehensible and legally valid will.

When you create a will, you state your wishes for your estate, which can help family members get through probate more quickly and lower the possibility of familial disputes about what you would have wanted. A will also ensures that you can choose who manages your estate, so you can select someone who has knowledge of your wishes, who is aware of the responsibility, and who will be able to administer your estate after your death.

CDM Law Firm Can Help You Create Your Will

At CDM Law Firm, we take pride in understanding the unique goals and interests of every client creating a will or estate plan. We help you determine what your needs are as you write your will and protect your loved one’s benefits and the interests of your estate. When you need to create a will that lists your wishes and is enforceable in court, we guide you through each step of the process. That way, you can feel confident in the validity of the document you’ve created to enact your goals.

C. David Martinez has 28 years of experience in legal work and knows how essential it is to understand each individual client’s needs and wishes. At CDM Law Firm, we help you create a basic or comprehensive estate plan, make a plan for keeping it updated, and determine how to provide essential information to your executor and beneficiaries. Let our team provide you with dedicated legal representation.

What Does a Will Do?

A will’s main function is to distribute the assets in the estate of the person who created the will, or the testator, after their death. A will serves several other functions, including:

  • Naming the executor, or personal representative, to manage the estate during administration
  • Naming a guardian for any minor children who can also serve as a conservator for the portion of the estate inherited by children
  • Listing how to handle funeral arrangements
  • Presenting an inventory of your assets
  • Naming beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries to receive assets in the estate

When a will is well-crafted, it also limits disputes during the probate process or limits the likelihood of succeeding. It clearly states your wishes for your heirs and beneficiaries, lowering arguments within your family. If anyone does try to contest the will on valid grounds, your will is more likely to hold up in the face of the contest.

A will cannot avoid the probate process by itself. If you want your estate to skip the probate process, additional estate planning techniques will be necessary.

What If You Do Not Have a Will?

If you die and do not have a will, or your will is invalid, you do not have control over who administers your estate and who receives the benefits of your estate. The court decides these things, and may name a representative or guardian that you would not.

During probate, the court will distribute your estate according to intestate inheritance laws. Even if this distribution matches how you would distribute the assets, it can be more frustrating and expensive for your loved ones to navigate probate without a will. Intestate probate can have additional costs that a valid will can avoid. A valid will can also prevent disputes, and avoiding probate litigation can save your loved ones thousands.

The Requirements for a Valid Will

The basic legal requirements that you, as the creator of a will or the testator, and your will must meet in Arizona include:

  • You are at least 18 years of age.
  • You have the testamentary capacity to create a will. This means you:
    • Are of sound mind;
    • Are intending to give these instructions;
    • Understand the extent and nature of the property you own;
    • Are aware of your relationships;
    • Are able to make reasonable decisions about the things in your will; and
    • Understand the consequences of creating the will.
  • You sign the will in the presence of two competent adult witnesses.
  • These witnesses also sign the document. For non-self-proving wills created after 2019, these witnesses cannot be a beneficiary named in your will or the relative of a beneficiary.
  • You are not coerced, influenced, or forced into creating or signing the will.
  • The will is in writing. This may be physical or electronic.

In Arizona, you are not required to have an attorney to have a valid will. However, working with an attorney or other professional can help the will be clearly understood by the court, ensuring your intentions are followed as you wish. An attorney can also help you meet the requirements of a valid will.

Things to Consider When Planning a Will

When you begin to plan a will, you will need several documents. Your attorney can help you gather this information and ensure you have documents unique to you. Some common information includes:

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Marriage and divorce certificates
  • Statements for bank accounts
  • Investment account numbers and information
  • Vehicle titles
  • Information for retirement accounts
  • Wishes for funeral arrangements, as well as burial or cremation arrangements

To draft a will, you also want to understand your personal goals and resources. This includes:

  • The family members, loved ones, and individuals you want to benefit from your estate’s assets, as well as contingent beneficiaries
  • Entities, organizations, and charities you want to benefit from your estate
  • An inventory of the assets held in your estate
  • How you’re going to create the will, including whether you select an estate planning kit that can be reviewed by an attorney or work directly with an attorney
  • A responsible and capable person you trust to be the executor of your estate
  • Guardians and conservators for your minor children or pets and the assets you leave to them
  • How debts and probate expenses will be paid
  • When to update and review your will to meet changes in your needs

There are many ways you can distribute your estate in a will, and this information can help you narrow down what your will can do. An attorney can help you navigate this information to understand the specific goals for your estate and your beneficiaries.

FAQs:

Q: How Much Do Most Lawyers Charge for a Will?

A: A lawyer could charge between $1000 to $2,500 as a flat fee or even higher for an individual’s will. Closer to $2,000 is most common, but the cost of a will relies on many factors. This includes:

  • The complexity of the will, including the number of assets and number of beneficiaries
  • The experience and skill of the attorney
  • Whether the attorney charges a flat fee or an hourly fee

Without the legal advice of an attorney, a will is more likely to be found invalid in court, which will end up being significantly more expensive.

Q: What Type of Lawyer Is Recommended for Wills?

Q: What Are the Legal Requirements for a Will in Arizona?

Q: Do All Wills Have to Go through Probate in Arizona?

Find a Skilled Estate Planning Attorney in Chandler

CDM Law Firm is a skilled team that wants to help you create or update your will so that your intentions are clear. If you need help with a will or a larger estate plan, contact CDM Law Firm.

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