ESTATE PLANNING2021-01-21T13:37:18-07:00

Comprehensive 
Estate Planning

Ashley DeBoard is a co-founding attorney of the Flagstaff Law Group providing thoughtful and thorough estate planning services to families and individuals throughout northern Arizona.

Peace of Mind

The real asset when it comes to Estate Planning.

Ashley is a caring and experienced attorney serving Flagstaff, Sedona, and Prescott in Estate Planning. Her practice focuses on the protection of minor children, wealth preservation, and values-based planning, as well as planning for incapacity.

Planning for incapacity and death in a holistic and thoughtful way is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and your loved ones. An estate plan can help you legally direct who will care for your minor children if something happens to you, who will make important financial and health care decisions if you become incapacitated, and how your assets will be distributed upon your death. Planning can help keep you and your loved ones out of court proceedings. A plan can also pass on more than just your financial assets, it can protect and pass on your stories, values, and experiences. In short, a good estate plan delivers peace of mind that your plan will work when you need it most.

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What is Estate Planning?

Many people assume an estate plan is a specific document, such as a will or power of attorney, or having life insurance, or listing beneficiaries on certain assets.

In fact, an estate plan is a comprehensive plan that looks at what you want to happen to you if you become incapacitated or when you die.  The plan includes a series of decisions and legal and financial arrangements made during life to help manage the impacts of death and incapacity on you and your loved ones. It might include decisions about:

  • who cares for your children at home and how your children will be cared for
  • what you want to happen to your assets
  • how you will protect your assets for the benefit of your loved ones
  • who you want to make important healthcare or financial decisions for you
  • how to make sure your wishes are followed

An experienced attorney like Ashley DeBoard can review your specific circumstances and will help to educate and empower you to decide what type of plan best fits your values, priorities, and budget.

Estate Planning Services

Kids Protection Plan

Estate Planning

Minor Guardianship

Asset Protection Planning

Adult Guardianship & Conservatorship

Estate Tax Protection

Trust and Estate Administration

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Everyone Can Benefit from an Estate Plan.

Many people assume that estate planning is only for the ultra-wealthy. It isn’t.
In fact, everyone has an estate and everyone can benefit from having a plan. An “estate” simply refers to what you own at the time of your death. An estate plan is necessary for anyone who doesn’t want the “default” or “no-plan” plan under Arizona law. A “no plan” is the State’s plan, and it may not represent your own wishes for what happens to you, your loved ones, or your property.

Estate Planning You Can Trust

We are all unique. Your childhood experiences were different than your best friend, your job duties are different, your family situations are different, and so on. It turns out we aren’t all the same, that’s why estate planning is an individualized process and can’t be accomplished with the standardized DIY tools found on the internet.

You may be single, married, have children or not. The one common denominator is that you truly and deeply care about the people in your life and you want to make things as easy as possible for them, if and when something happens to you.

Your wealth isn’t measured just by the dollars in the bank, but by the well-being of the people you love.

Estate Planning You Can Trust

You have the primary responsibility for ensuring the well-being and care of your children. If something happens to you while they are minors, you want to ensure you’ve made the decision about who cares for them, and how.

In the most ideal scenario, your child’s other parent would be suitable to take custody of your child, if you cannot be there. But in many cases, that’s not possible, or desired.

And, even if it is, you may want the financial resources you are leaving behind cared for by someone other than your former spouse or partner.

No matter what the scenario, as a single parent (whether your child’s other parent is in the picture or not), you need to take the steps necessary to legally document who you would want raising your child, and how you would want your child raised, and how you want your assets handled for your child, in case anything happens to you.

We know you are busy and promise to make the process as simple and easy for you as possible. Click here to see just how easy it can be. 

Or, to get started right away, click here to schedule an appointment online​. You may also call our office at (928) 233-6800 to schedule an appointment.

FREE KIDS PROTECTION PLAN

In 10 minutes, this FREE website will help you protect your kids if something unthinkable happens to you prior to creating your formal estate plan. Think of it as the first step to ensuring your kids are raised by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what.

Estate Planning You Can Trust

When you are married with children, you assume estate planning is usually pretty straightforward. You want your spouse making decisions for you if you are incapacitated, and you want to make sure your assets go to your spouse when you die, and then to your children after your spouse is gone.

Seems simple, right?  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. These assumptions often don’t account for many variables that can derail your plans.  The assumptions often don’t account for what a married couple might want to happen in the event that death and/or incapacity occurs for both spouses at the same time.

If only our probate courts weren’t clogged with the impact of the complexity of money and family. And, there wouldn’t be $58 Billion (with a B) of assets in the State Departments of Unclaimed Property across the United States.

There are many questions that need to be answered to ensure your family stays out of court, and out of conflict, in the event of your incapacity or death. And, some strategic planning needs to happen to ensure your assets don’t end up lost to the state’s Department of Unclaimed Property because your family overlooks something when you can’t be there to guide them.

For parents of minor children, it’s necessary to name appropriate guardians in a manner that ensures your children are raised by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what.  Parents need to plan for how they will fund the guardian’s care for their minor children and how to protect and control the manner in which children inherit property. Some protections for a child’s inheritance may include age-appropriate disbursements, or protection from creditors, lawsuits, bankruptcy, and divorce during that child’s lifetime. 

If you are in a second (or third or more) marriage situation with children from a prior marriage (we call this a “blended family”), it’s very likely that the people you love could end up in conflict if you don’t plan ahead.

Perhaps most importantly, your wealth isn’t measured just by the dollars in your bank account, but by the well-being of the people you love. You care enough to get your estate planning handled so your family will stay out of court and out of conflict, no matter what.

We know you are busy and promise to make the process as simple and easy for you as possible. Click here to see just how easy it can be. 

Or, to get started right away, click here to schedule an appointment online​. You may also call our office at (928) 233-6800 to schedule an appointment.

FREE KIDS PROTECTION PLAN

In 10 minutes, this FREE website will help you protect your kids if something unthinkable happens to you prior to creating your formal estate plan. Think of it as the first step to ensuring your kids are raised by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what.

Estate Planning You Can Trust

If you are in a second (or third or more) marriage, and you have children from a prior marriage, you must engage in estate planning that will keep the people you love out of conflict.

No matter how close or friendly you think your new spouse and your children are, there is simply an unavoidable, inherent conflict between them upon your death.

Having said that, this conflict can be mitigated and you can ensure that the people you love most — your new spouse and your children — will each be well-taken care of with the most ease possible.

You can even take actions to support your current spouse and your children to be on the same team with each other in a time of grief.

It does take planning though, and we are well-trained and highly skilled in planning for the needs of “blended families”, which is the term of art in the legal profession for people who are in second (or third or more) marriages with children from a prior marriage.

So, if you are in a second (or third or more) marriage, contact us for a Family Wealth Planning Session so we can look together at everything you own, and everyone you love, and what would happen to all of it, when something happens to you. Then, you can get informed, educated and empowered to make the right planning decisions for the people you love. 

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Estate Planning You Can Trust

In so many ways, estate planning is the very most important for you when you are not married, but have a life partner in your life. And, if you have children together, it’s especially important for you to get your estate planning handled right.

The law does not protect your love if you are not married, period.

You have to take action yourself to ensure you will have access to your loved one’s hospital bedside, and that your unmarried loved one will have access to you, if you are hospitalized.

If you do not take action, it’s very likely that the person you love most in the world could be blocked from being with you in an accident, or making health care decisions for you, or deciding what you are nourished with, or who gets to see you.

And, that’s just your healthcare. Without the protection of estate planning, the person you love most in the world could be thrown out of your house, ejected from your business, or locked out of your finances.

If you have children together, they could even be taken out of your partner’s care.

Estate planning when you are unmarried isn’t optional. It’s truly a necessity for the people you love most.

We know you are busy and promise to make the process as simple and easy for you as possible. Click here to see just how easy it can be. 

Or, to get started right away, click here to schedule an appointment online​. You may also call our office at (928) 233-6800 to schedule an appointment.

FREE KIDS PROTECTION PLAN

In 10 minutes, this FREE website will help you protect your kids if something unthinkable happens to you prior to creating your formal estate plan. Think of it as the first step to ensuring your kids are raised by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what.

Estate Planning You Can Trust

You don’t have children, but you do have a spouse, partner, pets, or other loved ones, and you want to ensure things are as easy for them as possible if and when something happens to you.

You want to pass on what you have worked so hard for your entire life, and do it in a way that helps your loved ones know and feel your love just when they’ll need to most.

On top of that, and maybe even more importantly, you want to choose who will receive what you’ve worked so hard to create, and also ensure that your “chosen family” will be able to care for and love you, in the event you are incapacitated and cannot make healthcare decisions for yourself.

Your wealth isn’t measured just by the dollars in your bank account, but by the well-being of the people you love. You care enough to get your estate planning handled so your loved ones will not get stuck in court or conflict, when you become incapacitated or die.

We know you are busy and promise to make the process as simple and easy for you as possible. Click here to see just how easy it can be to plan well for everyone you love and everything you own.

Or, to get started right away, click here to schedule an appointment online​. You may also call our office at (928) 233-6800 to schedule an appointment.

We look forward to getting to know you, and keeping your family out of Court and out of conflict.

Planning for end of life care or other healthcare crises can be one of the most significant reasons  people prepare an estate plan. An estate plan can put in place legal authority and direction to  permit someone to make financial and healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated and will help ensure your property is transferred according to your wishes after you are deceased.  Having a good estate plan that will work when you need it brings the peace of mind that allows  you to focus on the more important aspects of your life with your loved ones.

We know you are busy and promise to make the process as simple and easy for you as possible. Click here to see just how easy it can be to plan well for everyone you love and everything you own.

Or, to get started right away, click here to schedule an appointment online​. You may also call our office at (928) 233-6800 to schedule an appointment.

We look forward to getting to know you, and keeping your family out of Court and out of conflict.

Getting Started

It’s easier than you think.

Questions about estate planning in Arizona

Establishing a will, trust, or estate plan is one of the best steps you can take to ensure your loved ones are well cared for in the event of your death or incapacity, but it’s not easy to make an informed plan on your own. The answers below can provide helpful background information, but they cannot substitute for legal advice that takes into account your specific circumstances, needs, and priorities. For a more comprehensive review of your planning needs, schedule a consultation with Estate Planning Attorney Ashley DeBoard.

What is a will?

 A will is a legal document that generally tells the court who will serve as your personal representative of your estate, how your property in your estate will be disposed of, and for parents of minor children, who will serve as a guardian.  A will does not govern non-probate transfers or property transferred into a trust during one’s lifetime. 

Why update your will?

There are many reasons a person may wish to update their will.  Some good reasons to update your will or your general estate plan can include:

  • Changing the people named in your will in the event of a death, a birth of a child, marriage or divorce, and so forth
  • Changing a guardian named for minor children
  • Changes to your assets, such as large increases in wealth, receipt of a large inheritance, or if you simply have acquired new property that you would like to specifically leave to someone or if you no longer own property that you have left to someone in your will
  • Changing a beneficiary of a specific gift
  • Changes to burial or cremation wishes
  • Changes to support needs for people or pets in your life or new care responsibilities for an aging parent or a minor or adult child
  • Change of residence or move to a new state
  • Retirement

It’s generally good to review your will and your overall estate plan after any big life events and at least every few years to ensure your plan continues to work for your current circumstances. Big life events can include marriages, divorces, births, deaths, acquiring or losing significant property, experiencing big health issues, and so forth.

How to update your will?

A will can be updated in two ways, by codicil or by revoking your prior will and creating an entirely new will. 

A codicil is basically an amendment to your will.  A codicil generally works better for small changes to an existing will. 

A new will may be more appropriate if the changes are more numerous, larger, or more complicated.  In addition, when you have multiple codicils it can be more difficult to keep track of changes and it may be time to redo the document as a whole for greater clarity.  

What is a trust?

A trust is an agreement between a “settlor,” a “trustee,” and a “beneficiary” to hold property “in trust” for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. The settlor places property into a trust.  The trustee has special duties to protect and prudently manage the property in the trust. The beneficiaries are the individuals who benefit from the management of the property. For a revocable living trust, a couple or individual will often serve as settlor, trustee, and beneficiary all at the same time, retaining total control over their property during their lifetime.

What are the benefits of a trust?

There are a number of benefits provided by a trust, which may include:

  • Can allow your family to administer your estate outside of a court process. 
  • Provides for a prompt administration compared with the average 6-18 months of a probate court proceeding
  • Maintains privacy for the family and the details of your estate assets, which can protect family from being targets.
  • Trust makes it easy to protect assets in the event of incapacity by naming successor trustees who can step in immediately to manage assets in the trust. 
  • Can be used to protect children from themselves by preventing them from receiving property outright at too young an age while allowing for the trustee to still provide for their care, comfort, and education as needed. 
  • Can be used to protect assets and a beneficiary’s inheritance from creditors, lawsuits, bankruptcies, or divorce

A trust can be used as a vehicle to pass property to your beneficiaries promptly, privately, outside of court proceedings, and with minimal expense to your estate. It can also more easily protect for incapacity issues.  Some trusts can be used to accomplish other objectives such as tax planning, meeting needs of specific beneficiaries, or protecting a beneficiary’s inheritance from creditors, lawsuits, bankruptcies, imprudent financial management, or divorce.

What is a “fiduciary” or “agent”?

A fiduciary or agent is someone who has been given authority to act on your behalf for your benefit.

What is a healthcare directive?

A healthcare directive is generally made up of two documents – – a healthcare power of attorney and a living will. The healthcare power of attorney gives authority to a designated person to act as your agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. It may also include HIPPA releases to allow your agent to talk to your doctors or gather your health information from one medical provider to share with another provider.   A living will is a document that gives instructions to your health care agent and your medical providers about how you want certain healthcare decisions to be made under certain circumstances. For instance, it may provide for a Do Not Resuscitate direction.

What is probate?

A probate refers to the legal court process a decedent’s assets must pass through in order to be transferred after a person’s death.  It is essentially a lawsuit, usually filed by the family, for the benefit of the deceased person’s creditors.  It requires a personal representative to complete an inventory of the estate property, give notice to creditors, pay taxes, creditor claims and administration expenses, and then distribute what is left over to any legal heirs of the deceased person. Probate can be costly, public, and involve significant delay.  If an asset is not discovered during probate, it can also be lost to the Department of Unclaimed Property.

What is a durable financial power of attorney?

A durable financial power of attorney is a legal document giving authority to a designated person to act as your agent to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Powers of attorney can be “general” or “durable.”  A general power of attorney ends upon your death or when you become incapacitated, unless it rescinded by you before that time. A durable power of attorney remains in effect even when you become incapacitated, but ends upon your death. The power of attorney can be effective immediately upon signing, or “springing,” meaning it only takes effect upon a person’s incapacity.  The powers can also be limited in scope to only certain matters or can be very broad, depending on how the document is written. It is helpful to have the advice or help of a lawyer in preparing your power of attorney to make informed decisions about the powers you are giving and how you may want to limit the power in any way.

Let’s talk about your next step

We are here to help you navigate your questions about Estate Planning and support you to choose the best plan for your goals, values, and budget.

Contact attorney Ashley DeBoard for a free 15-minute consultation to take your next best step in getting the peace of mind you deserve.

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