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Experienced Chandler Attorney Helps Clients Prepare Wills and Trusts

Caring Arizona lawyer develops thorough estate plans to secure legacies

A well-crafted estate plan can make the difference between peace of mind and uncertainty about the future. At Jeffrey P. Hall, PLLC, I prepare wills and trusts to help Arizona residents carry out their wishes for management of their assets during their lives and distribution of them after death. With offices located in Phoenix, Peoria and Chandler, I have served the community since 2010 and have gained a reputation for providing personalized and reliable legal counsel in all aspects of estate planning.

Attentive estate planning lawyer drafts comprehensive wills

A last will and testament gives the testator — the person who creates it — the power to provide clear wishes for how property will be distributed, debts paid and other matters handled after death. This includes naming a guardian for care of children or setting up trusts for loved ones with special needs or for charitable purposes. Importantly, a will names personal representative who, if appointed by the probate court, will be in charge of settling the deceased’s estate. A will can also be used to transfer property to a trust that already exists or a trust established in the will.

A last will and testament is distinguishable from a living will, which only addresses the medical care you would want to receive if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. A living will gives directions to your healthcare providers or healthcare proxy.

It may be wise to use a combination of legal documents to safeguard your estate, including a will, a trust and an advance directive. I am prepared to help you coordinate your estate planning using a full array of available tools.

Focused counselor makes certain that wills and revisions are enforceable

For a will to be valid, it must meet strict legal requirements. A testator must be of sound mind and not subject to fraud, duress or undue influence. Arizona requires a written will to be signed by the testator as well as by two witnesses. A holographic (handwritten) will may be valid without witness signatures, as long as it can be established that the will was written and signed by the testator. The law also makes allowances for electronic wills provided they can be authenticated.

It is recommended that people periodically review their wills and make revisions or new wills if it serves their purposes. If you created a valid will but want to change its terms, the revision or replacement must meet the same legal requirements as the original. It is often wise to destroy any existing wills to prevent confusion or suspicion about authenticity of the new one.

As your attorney, I will work with you one-on-one to determine what is most important to you before guiding you through the creation or revision of a will so that it is legally enforceable and can withstand challenge during the probate process.

Knowledgeable attorney advises clients on using trusts to protect assets

A trust can be an alternative or supplement to a will. It allows you to transfer assets into separate ownership during your lifetime, under the control of a trustee who follows the instructions set forth in the trust document. For the most common types of trusts, you can serve as the trustee. Upon your death, the successor trustee distributes assets to your designated beneficiaries or continues managing all or part of the trust for purposes you have specified. One benefit of a trust is that it allows assets to pass to a beneficiary without having to go through probate, a lengthy and often expensive legal proceeding.

Living trusts — those you create during your lifetime — are divided into two categories:

  • Revocable trusts —The person who creates the trust (known as the settlor) can transfer property into it with the ability to change the terms of the trust and what is included. When the settlor passes away, the assets are managed by the successor trustee who carries out the settlor’s instructions for disposition.
  • Irrevocable trusts — Once an irrevocable trust is created, its terms cannot be changed, nor can property be added or removed. An estate owner who transfers assets to an irrevocable trust relinquishes control of those assets, which may be advantageous for tax and other purposes.

Each type of trust comes with its own potential costs and benefits. As your attorney, I answer questions about the estate planning tools most appropriate considering your financial assets and projected late-in-life needs.

Contact a respected Arizona wills and trusts attorney to schedule a free consultation

At the estate planning law firm of Jeffrey P. Hall, PLLC, I maintain offices in Phoenix, Peoria and Chandler to assist people across Arizona with the creation of strong wills and trusts. To schedule your free initial consultation, call me at 480-409-5174 or contact me online.