Milestones for Arizona Estate Planning

Some common misconceptions about estate planning leave many Arizona residents voiceless when an emergency or tragedy strikes. The truth is you can never start life and estate planning too soon. Here, a Scottsdale estate planning lawyer discusses three life milestones for Arizona estate planning. These are just a few of the times when you should consider starting—or revisiting—your estate plan.

Three Important Milestones for Arizona Estate Planning

You might think you don’t need to worry about estate planning because you are young and healthy. Or perhaps you feel there’s no point in planning what will happen to your property after you pass away because you don’t have a lot of assets. There are a multitude of reasons why people delay taking action to create or revise their life and estate plans.

Many don’t realize that estate planning—or failing to plan—can impact your life and your family while you are living and after you are gone. Being proactive, particularly when you experience milestone life events, will help protect you, your loved ones, and your wishes in the present and future.

Planning Ahead When You Buy Your First Home

Being a first-time homebuyer is such an exciting experience. After spending some time renting, you finally have a place to call your very own.

For most Arizonans, their home is the largest asset they own. It’s important to have a will or trust in place that says who will own your home if something were to happen.

When a homeowner passes away without a will in place, a judge decides who inherits their home, basing that determination on the complicated probate laws outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes § 14-3101 to § 14-3974. This makes it important for all homeowners to start working with a life and estate planning attorney after—or even before—purchasing a house. This step is especially crucial for homeowners in these circumstances:

  • Bought a home with someone to whom they are not married;
  • Have minor children with an ex-spouse or former partner; or
  • Have significant equity in their home.

Even though it may feel awkward to be thinking about your eventual passing at such a happy time in your life, you’ll rest easier knowing this important legal matter has been addressed. A Scottsdale life and estate planning attorney at Desert Rose Estate and Elder Law can advise you on the best steps to take to protect and preserve your new assets.

Naming a Guardian for Your Child at Birth

The birth of a child is a joyous time in a young parent’s life. You feel such immense love for your baby and have many hopes and dreams for your life together. With so much celebration in the air, it’s understandable that naming a guardian for your child may not be the first item on your to-do list when your child is born.

But the truth is, now that you’re a parent, it’s more important than ever that you start planning for the unexpected events that catch us all by surprise. Who would raise that bundle of joy if the unthinkable were to happen? How would you ensure that the assets you own—your house, your bank accounts, your retirement funds—would be used to benefit your child if you are no longer here?

All new parents should meet with an estate planning lawyer to carefully review their life circumstances and determine which estate planning tools make the most sense for them to execute.

Setting Up Power of Attorney Upon Reaching the Age of Majority

As teenagers are approaching the age of 18, they are commonly thinking about prom, high school graduation, and going away to college. These are the type of events in a young adult’s life to which all teens look forward.

One thing that’s often overlooked during a teen’s senior year of high school is that once they turn 18, their parents no longer have the authority to make medical decisions for them. Every year, Arizona families find themselves in the middle of chaos when their young adult child is in an accident, experiences a sudden illness, or suffers a medical emergency and needs life-saving medical care.

Without an enforceable medical power of attorney (POA)—a legal document authorizing a named individual or individuals to make medical decisions for an individual who becomes unable to express their wishes—parents are powerless as doctors use their own judgment to determine how to care for their incapacitated young adult. Those choices may not align with what the wishes of the affected individual.

It’s especially important that young adults who are going away to college have a medical power of attorney in place and on file with the local hospital near their university or place of work. This way, as family members travel to be by their loved one’s bedside, doctors can follow the incapacitated young adult’s wishes for their medical care immediately.

Scottsdale life and estate planning attorney Bernard Strass can help your family draft and execute medical powers of attorney that ensure you and your child’s wishes are upheld if tragedy strikes.

Get Ahead of These and Other Milestones for Arizona Estate Planning

These are just three examples of the many events in a person’s life at which point they need to have estate planning tools and documents in place. It is always so much better to be prepared for the unexpected than to be unprepared during an emergency or tragedy.

Give yourself the peace of mind of knowing that if something were to happen, your wishes will be followed. Contact attorney Bernard Strass at Desert Rose Estate and Elder Law to discuss these and additional milestones for Arizona estate planning and how to get started today by calling (602) 644-1406 or filling out our online contact form.