Lack of a basic will can have a profound impact

Wills are usually the most basic form of estate planning. They can be relatively simple in nature and easy to create for Sun City residents. Yet, a 2017 survey found that 58 percent of Americans have not created any estate planning documents. This is a staggering number, especially considering the grim reality that the assets of many of these individuals may be passed down in a way that is counter to the deceased individuals’ wishes. This can cause significant financial hardship for those who may have been an intended heir but was not accounted for in an estate plan.

Just look at the case of one woman who may now lose her housing because her stepfather failed to create a basic will. There, the woman’s stepfather and her mother purchased the home in 1980 for $23,000. The residence was abandoned at the time. After multiple renovations, the home is now valued at over $1 million. Without a will, though, the home has passed to some of the stepfather’s estranged relatives who live in Barbados. This is even after the woman served as her father’s caretaker up until his death.

This may seem like an injustice, but most state laws require property to be passed to the closest blood relative when there is no will. Sadly, this could leave people like this woman in a position where they are left in dire financial straits.

Instances like this are far too common. The good news is that it is preventable. Arizonans can choose to sit down with their estate planning attorney to come up with an asset distribution plan that fits their needs. This can give peace of mind and set the next generation up for financial success. An adequate estate plan can also ensure that those assets with sentimental value are left to those who will truly appreciate and care for them. To learn more about wills and other critical estate planning vehicles, Arizonans should consider reaching out to their legal professional.