Some people spend a lifetime saving and obtaining assets. When you boil it down, estate planning is about retaining control over your assets even after you pass away. For many Arizona residents, this means figuring out a way to best provide those assets to loved ones so that they can enjoy those assets for a long time to come. The most thought of, and perhaps the simplest, estate planning tool is the will. In short, a will lays out to whom assets will be left upon death. These documents can be as intricate as needed, but most of the time they are short and straightforward so as to avoid confusion and challenge later down the road.
Yet, the mere creation of a will is not the end of dealing with that document. Individuals often see significant changes over the course of their lives, and these changes may justify modifications of an existing will. For example, if an individual has remarried or develops a relationship with a long-term partner subsequent to creating a will, then one may want to change the will to recognize that relationship and dictate the distribution of assets accordingly. The same holds true with divorce, the birth of a new child to the family, the taking in of step-children, when new assets are acquired, and when one changes his or her mind about who he or she wants to inherit certain assets.
Failing to make these changes can result in unwanted consequences. Assets may be left to individuals who a will creator no longer wished to receive them, or loved one’s can miss out on the distribution of assets with significant financial and sentimental value.
This is why many Arizona resident choose to work closely with an estate planning attorney. By doing so, they are able to make changes as needed to better ensure that the future they envision for their estate and their loved ones can become a reality. Those who want to learn more about wills and the important role they can play in estate planning should read our other blog posts on the topic.