Scottsdale, Arizona was originally a Pima village where many indigenous Pima’s remained in their original dwellings well into the 20th century. In 1880, U. S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott bought 640 acres of land where the city is now located. George Washington Scott, Chaplain Scott’s brother, became the first resident of what was then called Orangedale but was renamed to Scottsdale in 1894. The brothers were known as farmers who cultivated citrus trees, figs, potatoes, peanuts and almonds. Today, Scottsdale caters to the tourism industry as its primary employer. Scottsdale has the highest number of destination spas in the country, and is third after New York City and Las Vegas as having the most AAA Five-Diamond hotels and resorts. Scottsdale was officially incorporated in 1951 with a total population of 2,000 people. Today, more than 217,385 people reside in Scottsdale, according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau.
What is Probate?
The legal process of distributing someone’s property when they die is “probate.” State law determines the distribution of the deceased’s estate unless there is a will. If the deceased left a will, then the will determines the manner of distribution. Often times people try to avoid probate because probate tends to become costly and take a considerable amount of time to complete.
How Can I Avoid Probate?
One way to avoid probate is through setting up a revocable living trust. A trust is able to hold onto property longer than a will because a will by definition “speaks upon death” and is therefore limited by the lifetime of its creator. A trust also is a great tool to use in order to maintain control over the property and its distribution. An added security is that in the event something unforeseeable occurs, the court will look to the intent of the trust’s creator to determine how to proceed instead of defaulting to state law. This is comforting for people because over the years anything could potentially happen to the property, named beneficiaries and so forth.
This is not to say that a will is not equally beneficial. A will is the only instrument, for example, that has the power to nominate a guardian for dependent children. But a will alone will not let you avoid probate. It is to your benefit to utilize a revocable living trust, a will, and power of attorney together in estate planning because they complement each other.
Do I Need an Attorney?
There is no written rule that says a person must hire an attorney for probate matters. However, it is strongly recommended because the nature of probate is so personal and has a lot of working parts that it is quite easy to make a mistake. Any mistake made will end up costing much more time and money to correct. It is well worth it to hire an experienced attorney.
Platt & Westby, P.C. has helped thousands over the last 40 years. Platt & Westby, P.C. boats proficient probate attorneys who will listen to your needs and care about your outcome. Call 602-277-4441 today for a free and confidential appointment.