As you begin the estate planning process in Arizona, it is important for you to be aware of how wills work, as they can have a major impact on your and your family’s future.
Most people are aware that wills are used to distribute your assets to certain people after you pass away. However, many do not know that they may also need a living will, which serves a different purpose altogether. A living will refers to an advance medical directive that instructs health care professionals how to proceed if you are ever terminally ill. As you approach the end of your life, your living will can specify when to withhold medical care. The main difference between a living will and a regular will is that a living will goes into effect when you are still alive, whereas a will goes into effect only after you pass away.
Once you create a will, you may be curious if there is a way to destroy it. As family dynamics change, you may change your mind with regards to who gets the family home or other precious family heirlooms once you pass away. The best way to revoke a will is to execute a new one that clearly states that all previous wills are no longer valid. If you choose not to create a new will, you can still revoke the original one by writing “revoked” on the will document and ripping it in half. You should do this in front of witnesses that have nothing to gain from the will itself and keep the destroyed document. If your attorney helped draft the will, you should contact them to let them know that you destroyed it. If you decide to destroy your will, it is important that you make that as clear as possible to avoid confusion later on.
When you start the estate planning process, it is easy to get lost in all the legal requirements and complex documentation. An estate planning attorney can help you with every step of the process and make sure that you are prepared for all scenarios.
Source: The Times, “Estate Planning: Even wills have some loopholes,” Christopher Yugo, Dec. 24, 2017