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IN MY PERSONAL OPINION: LAST WILLS AND TESTAMENTS
Most people know that we have to prepare a last will and testament to explain to our loved ones how we want to distribute our assets, decide on a guardian for our minor children, appoint administrators and the like, but I believe that an important instruction is what we want to do with our body.
Each state and country has its own rules as to who can prepare and sign a last will. The basic requirement is that the person must be of age and be of sound mind – not to be under the influence of medications, drugs or alcohol. The requirements do not say that we have to have material assets, because our body is our main asset, and we must decide the future of the minor children in order to keep other people, or courts to do it for us.
The death of a person is a traumatic event, especially if the person dies unexpectedly. The loved ones do not know how to react, much less what to do with the body. Here it begins the emotional and economic stress, they want to give the deceased person an expensive burial as symbol of love, since those expenses are the last ones made for the deceased, therefore the debts and the hard feelings between the families begins, because some did not contribute enough to the funeral expenses, or did not contribute at all.
Although a last will does not avoid probate court, it is always important to have one prepared because this document will speak for us after our death. Although Arizona has laws that protect us under these circumstances, it’s called a default last will, this legal process is much more time consuming, spent between the lawyers and courts as compared to the fees for the preparation of a last will and testament.
Of course there are other documents that could be prepared to avoid probate court such as a trust, beneficiary deeds, life insurance policies, and so on, but those will not guarantee that relatives or people close to the deceased will “distribute” the properties to themselves, especially if those are of a personal nature – jewelry, paintings, documents, furniture, and so on, and that is why we should also prepare a list of the items we want to leave to our loved ones, after death.
There is no need to shed tears or to think one is going to die because the last will is going to be signed. As mentioned earlier, we will have to be sane, not being under the influence of altering mind medications, seeing that by then, no one will be willing to notarize the last will and testament.
As I learned from my relatives: “Life is a miracle, death is a certainty.”
D & D Accounting
648 N. Stone Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705