Estate planning is a process that involves more than just having a will.

Estate planning is often overlooked or misunderstood, yet it plays a crucial role in ensuring your assets are handled as you wish when you're no longer here. In this series, we sit down with Ashley from the Flagstaff Law Group to address pressing questions related to estate planning. Ashley is offering a free 15-minute consultation on her website, making it easier than ever to get started with your estate planning journey.

Have you ever wondered what happens when you stumble upon a will that was created by someone who passed away many years ago? Ashley explains that the outcome depends on various factors. If the will is outdated or the assets have significantly changed, it might not align with the current situation. In such cases, the distribution of assets may not follow the will's directives.


"The well-being of your loved ones depends on your estate planning."

Moreover, it's a common misconception that having just a will is sufficient to avoid probate court. While a will is essential for outlining your wishes, it doesn't bypass the probate process entirely. Instead, it serves as a guide for the court to determine who's in charge and how assets should be distributed. To ensure a smoother transition of assets, comprehensive estate planning is essential.

When it comes to real estate, there are various ways to hold title. Ashley highlights some of the most common methods:

1. Joint tenancy or community property with right of survivorship.
These options allow the property to pass to the surviving joint owner automatically upon the death of one owner, avoiding probate. However, they may not be the most protective if one owner becomes incapacitated, and they won't help if both owners pass away simultaneously.


2. Tenancy in common. This approach offers more flexibility but doesn't provide the automatic transfer benefits of joint tenancy or community property.


3. Revocable living trust. Placing real estate in a trust can help avoid probate and streamline the transfer of assets. It can also provide protection in the event of incapacity.


4. Using an LLC or other business entity. Some individuals choose to hold real estate in an LLC or another business entity for liability protection and management purposes.

Ashley advises against simply adding an adult child as a joint owner to bypass probate, as this may impact the child's capital gains tax liability. It's crucial to consider the potential consequences before making such decisions.

To learn more and get started on your estate planning journey, don't hesitate to reach out to Ashley at Flagstaff Law Group for a free 15-minute consultation. If you have any other questions, you can reach us at (928) 606-6749. We're here to assist you on your estate planning and real estate journey.