Experienced Mesa Wills Lawyer Helps You Plan Your Legacy
Well-drafted documents memorialize your intentions
A will is the traditional tool most often used to transfer assets to heirs and other beneficiaries upon death. While many people balk at discussing the subject, because it brings up unpleasant, end-of-life thoughts, executing a will is a true act of love and helps will-makers influence how they will be remembered. For more than 20 years, the Law Firm of Joseph M. Udall, PLC has helped Arizonans draft valid wills that accurately memorialize their wishes and direct assets to their intended recipients. As part of a comprehensive estate plan, a will helps ensure that your heirs receive their bequests in a timely manner without losses due to expenses and delays of probate.
Wills help ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes
A decedent’s estate usually must go through probate, a legal procedure that tests the validity of the will and directs an executor to carry out its instructions. If you die without a will, a court-appointed administrator distributes your assets under Arizona intestacy law, which gives rights of inheritance to certain heirs. A well-crafted will can also make the probate process quicker and less expensive by averting any ambiguities or uncertainties about who receives assets and in what amounts. This reduces the possibility of a contested probate proceeding.
Proper planning reduces the chance that your will might face a challenge
Would-be heirs often challenge wills when they’re disappointed in the size of their bequests. Grounds they can use to challenge a will include:
- Defect in execution — A will may fall short of Arizona law’s specific requirements for the necessary elements it must include.
- Undue influence — If a person close to the testator is found to have used pressure to shape the content of the will, whether or not to their own benefit, the will is invalid.
- Lack of capacity — If the testator is determined not to have been of sound mind when the will was executed, it is not valid.
- Fraud — A will is void if it does not reflect the testator’s true intentions, either due to forgery or because someone fooled the testator into making the will.
A will challenge can tie up your estate in probate, causing your heirs to wait needlessly and endure added expenses.
Avoiding the pitfalls of poor will draftsmanship
Too often a person making a will has provided the opportunity for a challenge through inadequate planning or by conduct that creates doubt or ambiguity. Examples include:
- Haste in drafting or amending — Wills written close in time to the testator’s death are often suspect. Wills drawn far in advance and then reviewed and amended at regular intervals carry a presumption of validity.
- Use of an attorney suspiciously close to a particular beneficiary — The attorney who drafts your will should appear to be your counsel, not the agent of someone who stands to benefit from the will.
- Lack of transparency with intended beneficiaries — It’s usually prudent to explain bequests that contradict an heir’s expectations. If the testator does not give an explanation, personally or as part of the will, the disappointed heir may suspect undue influence from another beneficiary.
An experienced estate planning lawyer will exercise caution in the drafting and execution of your will to avoid such defects and to ensure that it is ironclad and can survive any predictable challenge.
Contact a meticulous wills attorney in Mesa, Arizona
You can trust the Law Firm of Joseph M. Udall, PLC to draft a will that reflects your intentions and passes the scrutiny of the Arizona probate court. Call 480-500-1866 or contact us online. We provide free telephone consultations, and Saturday and evening appointments are available. We speak Spanish fluently.