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General Information about Will and Trusts
If a person dies
without a valid will, Arizona law determines who inherits the estate. If a person
dies with a will, the will usually determines who gets the property of the person
who died. A will can also be used to say who should take care of children under
the age of 18, or someone who is disabled.
The requirements for a will are very technical. A will written in another state,
that is valid in that state, is usually valid in Arizona. A will that is written
in the handwriting of the person making the will is valid in Arizona if it is in
the handwriting of the person who died and was signed and dated by the person before
Once a will is written, the original should be kept in a safe place so it can be
found when the person who wrote the will dies. A will does NOT need to be recorded
with the County Recorder. The Court does not accept wills for safekeeping until
the person dies. The Court only accepts a will if a probate in court is required.
Trusts are estate planing tools that name a trustee to manage a person's assets
during his or her lifetime, and tells the trustee how to distribute those assets
when the person dies. Unlike a will, a trust can reduce or eliminate estate taxes,
and the need for probate court.
Wills and trusts are highly personalized estate planning tools. Anyone who is thinking
about making a will or trust should ask a lawyer or an accountant who is experienced
in estate planning to help determine the best way to set it up.