How Does Arizona’s Community Property Law Affect Your Estate Planning?
People make wills with the intent of controlling who will be beneficiaries of their estates and how much each beneficiary will receive. However, there are state laws that can take precedence over certain provisions of a will. Arizona’s community property law in particular can have a major impact on how estate assets are distributed. Understanding the law is vital to creating an estate plan that carries out your intended goals.
The application of community property law during probate of an estate can be particularly complicated for a couple that moves or retires to Arizona but previously lived in a common law state where community property does not apply. A spouse may have previously made a will or created a trust in that state and then moved to Arizona. If the couple divorces in Arizona, assets acquired during the marriage but prior to the move would be treated as “quasi-community property” and divided equally. However, there is no Arizona statute defining how quasi-community property is to be treated upon a spouse’s death, so the court’s analysis can be very fact-specific and may involve looking to the law of the couple’s prior state of residence.
Whether you currently have an estate plan or you are starting one, you need to be aware of how Arizona’s community property laws might impact you. An experienced estate planning attorney with knowledge of Arizona’s unique laws can help you to develop an estate plan that is best suited to carrying out your intentions for distribution of your assets.
At Jeffrey P. Hall, PLLC in Chandler, we assist people throughout Arizona in planning their estates. We can help you evaluate your existing estate plan or to develop a new one that better serves your goals. For a free initial consultation, please call 480-409-5174 or contact us online.