The death of a loved one often brings families together, but it can have negative effects as well. In fact, if there are any underlying issues, they can often explode when families are dealing with the death of a loved one and the additional stress that brings. If there is a dispute over your will, it can cause rifts among the family that last for years, if not a lifetime. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening to your family is to complete proper estate planning before your time comes. This will give them something to follow with all of their best interests in mind.
Once you have passed away, there are some items that will be distributed before probate. However, those items that don’t qualify for this early distribution will be handled through the probate court based on the stipulations present in your will. Every individual you list as a beneficiary in your will can request a copy of your will to see for themselves what it includes. They are also able to challenge it if they feel something is unfair or incorrect. However, this can make the probate process take longer and can use up a larger portion of the estate. Before the money is distributed, all debts and taxes are paid by the probate court and the appointed representative.
What Happens Without a Will?
If you don’t go through the estate planning process and create a will before your death, you will be deemed as passed away intestate. In this situation, Arizona state law will determine how your estate is distributed among your spouse and any children you have. Even if you have made verbal requests regarding how your estate should be managed, it can’t be enforced. State guidelines will go into effect.
Because most people deviate from the state laws regarding the distribution of an estate, at least to some degree, it’s important to meet with an estate planning attorney. Although this isn’t always the most pleasant topic, it can protect your family and prevent any disputes that may arise, increasing the amount of stress your family feels.