A Last Will and Testament makes your wishes known.  If someone dies without a Will there is an Arizona statute that outlines the specific order of who inherits the deceased person’s property.  When someone dies without a Will, that person’s wishes are unknown, so the statute must be applied and distribution of the assets are done according to law. 

There is a little known fact and a potentially huge problem for blended families! If a spouse dies without a Will, and he or she had children from a prior relationship, the surviving spouse could lose ½ of the marital property and possibly more! For example, Sam and Diane lived in Arizona and were married for 10 years but never found the time to do Wills.  They both assumed the surviving spouse would get everything anyway. Sam has an adult son from a prior relationship.  Without a Will, the son will have inheritance rights to a large part of Sam’s assets (including his share of the marital/community property) – which could leave the surviving wife in a horrible situation. Arizona’s intestate (without a Will) statutes can be viewed starting at: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/14/02102.htm&Title=14&DocType=ARS  PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO 14-2102 REGARDING THE SURVIVING SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED NOT OF THE MARRIAGE!

Having a Will or a Trust is VERY IMPORTANT – no one plans to die today!  Get it done and you will give a huge sigh of relief! For more information, please email sheila@arizonalegalease.com or call the office at (602) 523-0100.

Arizona Legal EASE and Arizona Probate Services are certified legal document preparers.  This post’s purpose is to provide general information about Arizona legal issues and process. However, legal information is not the same as legal advice, which is the application of the law to a specific situation. The information provided here is not intended or meant to provide a comprehensive picture of any particular situation.

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