Archive | Wills & Trusts

Wills & trusts are each used to give your assets to other people. If, after your death, you do not have these important documents in place, a probate court will decide what happens with your estate and beneficiaries. Dying intestate (without having made a valid will) means that the probate process will take much longer to conclude and transfer property.

Although wills & trusts are related, that is the extent of their similarity—they are very different and serve different purposes:

  • A will names your beneficiaries, giving instructions on how to distribute your assets and property after you die. It also allows you to choose an executor and a guardian for your children.
  • A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. You can be your own trustee until you pass away.

The articles below cover specific cases where experienced legal document preparation and maintenance would have avoided misunderstandings, animosity among heirs, or problems with probate.


Choosing A Trustee You Can Trust

In a trust-based estate plan, you appoint successor trustees. The trustee is involved in just about every aspect of the trust administration, from taking care of you and your trust if you are incapacitated (“disability trustee”) to administering your trust upon death (“death trustee”). The successor trustee role carries great responsibility. Most people choose someone […]

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avoid probate, dangerous shortcuts

Don’t Create Dangerous Shortcuts to Avoid Probate Court

I recently received the following question from a reader of my Arizona Republic newspaper column: My mother recently passed away. She wrote a will, but to avoid probate she left her residence to my three siblings and me by a beneficiary deed, put her bank accounts into my name, and left a list for the distribution […]

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