Goodyear, Arizona, was named after the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1917. Goodyear became a city in 1985. Goodyear continues to grow and thrive as a city with new communities being built. According to the 2010 U. S. Census Bureau, 65,275 people already call Goodyear home, but it is still a developing residential suburb of Maricopa County. Goodyear’s farming history has brought many food companies to the city, such as Snyder’s of Hanover, Poore Brothers and Del Monte Foods. Cotton and vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and spinach are mainly grown on the farms. They also grow citrus fruits.
What is Probate?
Probate refers to the legal process of distributing a person’s estate at death. When someone dies, their property must be distributed to their named beneficiaries according to their will. If no will was left state law will determine the means of distribution. Either way, will or no will, the process of distribution is what “probate” refers to. Probate does have the ability to become costly, take a long time to get through (4 months minimum time but usually longer), and sometimes probate distributes the individual’s assets in ways that are not in line with their original wishes for their assets. That is why avoiding probate is desirable.
How Can I Avoid Probate?
One way a knowledgeable attorney may be able to avoid probate for you is to administer your estate in an informal way and successfully get around the court process. An informal proceeding is available when there is a will, it is uncontested (no one is claiming something in the will is wrong), and the will and execution have met certain requirements. Court may not be avoided if there is no will or the will is contested.
Another great way to avoid probate is to execute a revocable living trust. One large difference between a will and a trust is that a trust is able to hold onto property for much longer than a will because a will “speaks upon death” and is therefore limited to the lifetime of the testator (creator). A living trust is a great tool to maintain control over assets and distribution. There is an added bonus because courts try to stay as close as possible to the settlor’s intent. This means that if something unexpected happens to the trust property or beneficiaries, courts will do their best to determine the creator’s original wishes for their property and adhere to those wishes. It is important to understand that a will is still a powerful instrument that can act in ways a trust cannot. For example, a will is the only document that has the power to nominate a guardian for dependent children. In essence, a revocable living trust, a will, and power of attorney should be used together in estate planning as they complement each other and all have important uses.
Do I Need an Attorney?
An attorney protects you from making mistakes when attempting to “do it yourself” with canned legal documents. Yes, there are ways to handle these matters without hiring counsel but the cost up front becomes a fraction of what it ends up costing to rectify any mistakes. Additionally, most people never discover the problem and it is their loved ones who find themselves dealing with a much more costly issue upon probate. The truth is that probate, trusts, and wills are important and personal. The best way is to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Platt & Westby, P.C. are experienced and proficient probate attorneys. Platt & Westby, P.C. certainly know their craft as they have been in business for 40 years and have helped thousands of Arizonans in that time. Call 602-277-4441 for a free and confidential appointment today.