No Estate Plan or Will – A Horror Beyond Prince

Many of us are familiar with the ongoing battles over the estate of the late pop singer Prince, who died without an estate plan. People came out of the woodwork claiming to be a relative or child. The matter will be tied up in the courts for years draining the estate of much of its worth.
In Arizona, in the absence of a will or relative of the decedent willing to commence a probate, any creditor can commence a probate 45 days after the decedent’s death and become the personal representative of the estate with power to pay off its debts. Oversight by the court is well-nigh non existent. Without a will you don’t have a say-so in who gets your money or possessions.
A recent news article from the Arizona Republic highlights the possible results of not having a will and leaving the choice of a personal representative (known in other states as an “executor” or “administrator”) to applicable law. A funeral home became the personal representative of a Navy veteran and was able to charge his estate over $30,000 when the typical cost of a funeral and burial is $7,300. The funeral home denied any wrongdoing.
To avoid these complications and expenses you should work with an experienced attorney on an estate plan. Carefully choose an appropriate person to serve as your personal representative or trustee. Select a backup in case your first choice is not available to serve. Keep your will in a safe place and don’t forget a catchall provision to designate who receives the remainder of an estate after all the specific gifts are made.
With vacations and out-of-state or out-of-the country plans coming up, now is an appropriate time to consider scheduling an appointment to create or update your plan. It’s just one more way Hymson Goldstein Pantiliat & Lohr, PLLC provides peace of mind to its valued clients, friends and acquaintances.
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