Who Needs a Living Trust?

How do you know if you need a living trust or maybe just a simple will? While the answer to this question can be somewhat arbitrary and depends on several issues, there are some guidelines that can be used to help determine what is best for your situation.

In Arizona, anyone with less than seventy-five thousand dollars in personal property, less any encumbrances may consider having a simple will. The state of Arizona allows for a beneficiary to use an Affidavit For Collection of Personal Property to collect the property without the necessity of probate. While this can be a simple process, it does come with some complications. For example, if there are several beneficiaries with a right to the personal property, all but one beneficiary will have to waive their right to the assets, in order to allow one beneficiary to collect the assets. If everyone does not agree, this may be more challenging than you might expect.  Further complications may arise when it comes to distributing the assets to those who may have waived their right to any claim. Additionally, what if a beneficiary is a minor? Who will have authority over the funds until the beneficiary is eighteen years of age?

Additionally, Arizona allows for an Affidavit for Transfer of Title to Real Property for real property that has a net value of less than one hundred thousand dollars. Again, there can be similar complications when collecting real property as is when collecting personal property, as well as a waiting period of six months to collect the asset.  This type of transfer should be used as a way of collecting real property that was inadvertently not planned for in a person’s estate planning documents, rather than using it as part of the plan for disposition of assets at a person’s death.

An Arizona living trust (aka revocable trust) can be a great vehicle to pass assets on to family members, while maintaining a certain amount of control over the distributions from the trust. While this may seem too complicated or expensive for a small estate, it can simplify the transfer for those with multiple beneficiaries and minor beneficiaries, avoiding the need and expense of court appointed conservators for minors.

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