The Hohokam people were the first known settlers in Mesa, Arizona and built the original canal system. The canals were the most sophisticated canals in the prehistoric new world and many of them are still in use today. Mesa was originally called Jonesville and Fort Utah in 1877 because Daniel Webster Jones led an expedition to establish a Mormon Settlement. In 1883, Mesa City was incorporated with a population of 300 people. Today, over 439,041 people call Mesa home according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau.
What is Probate?
When a person dies, their property must be distributed. This process is called "probate." If there is a will, their property must be distributed to their named beneficiaries according to the will. If there is no will, state law will determine the means of distribution. Regardless of will or not, the property must be distributed and this process of probate can become very costly and time intensive. The minimum amount of time necessary is 4 months due to the notice that must be given to creditors. However the actual time it takes is usually much longer. This is primarily why people try to avoid probate.
How Can I Avoid Probate?
A revocable living trust is an excellent mechanism for avoiding probate. The nice thing about a living trust compared to a will is that a trust is capable of holding onto property for a much longer time than a will and allows for more control over property distribution. A will "speaks upon death" and is therefore limited to the lifetime of its creator. This is not to say that a will is not a powerful instrument, because it certainly is. For example, a will is the only document capable of granting the power to nominate a guardian for dependent children. It should be noted that a revocable living trust, a will, and powers of attorney should be used together in estate planning because they complement each other.
Do I Need an Attorney?
As with most things these days there are do-it-yourself "canned documents" available. However, the canned materials are rarely completed correctly without the help of an attorney. The problem is that it is too easy to make a mistake. That mistake is usually compounded and ends up costing a great deal more to hire an attorney to rectify the mistake than it would have been to draft the documents properly in the first place. Furthermore, most mistakes are not discovered until probate, which makes an already difficult time for family members even harder. Probate, trusts, and wills are highly important and personal. Anything that important deserves the best care one can provide. This is why hiring an attorney is so valuable.
Platt & Westby, P.C. have extensive experience as probate attorneys having been in business for 40 years. Platt & Westby, P.C. cater to the individual with honest advice focusing on your personal circumstances. Call 602-277-4441 today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your options.