Estate Planning

Taking the time to prepare for the future is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. If you suffer an injury or illness, become incapacitated or pass away and you don’t have a comprehensive plan in place, you may put your family in a difficult position; they may not know what you wanted and may even fight about your wishes.

Estate planning is a process where families draft a plan to protect their assets upon their death. Estate Planning is not just for rich people. Almost everyone who owns property can benefit from estate planning. Your estate includes everything you own: your house, car, household furnishings, checking account, etc.

New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. Most people are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In the absence of legal planning, their estate will be distributed after death according to Arizona’s laws of intestacy. Of course, this may not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the State’s estate plan with your own.

Dying without a will or trust may not work for you or your family and your estate may lead to a lawsuit to decide who gets your property.

Understand that a will has no legal authority until after death. So a will does not help manage a person’s affairs when they are incapacitated, whether by illness or injury. That is why it is important to have an experienced estate planning attorney craft a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney to fit your specific needs.


A health care power of attorney is also known as an Advance Directive. It is a document that specifies the type of medical and personal care you would want if you lose your ability to make and communicate your own decisions. Your advance directive can state who will make and communicate decisions for you, and it can set out the circumstances under which you would not like your life to be prolonged, if you were in a coma with no reasonable chance of recovery.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person (the attorney in fact) the legal right or powers to do certain things for you. All powers of attorney terminate upon the death of the person giving the power and some powers of attorney terminate upon the incapacity of the person giving the power. However, a power of attorney may be made durable, meaning it retains its validity even though the person becomes incapacitated. The durable power of attorney is valuable in that it can sometimes avoid the necessity of a time consuming and expensive guardianship and conservatorship.

Problems can arise when spouses have children from a previous marriage. One spouse’s children might get left out, or conflict may arise between step-spouse and the stepchildren, or between the children and the stepchildren.

At Ring Law Firm we help you avoid common mistakes in estate planning by getting it right the first time. This is the only way to avoid trouble down the road. One common mistake is when the loved one dies and there is no will. The family may not understand how the decedent wanted the property distributed. Another mistake is where there is a trust or a will, but it gives nothing to a certain family member, who then becomes upset. In other situations, the trust or will may leave everything to a mere acquaintance or someone the family suspects of wrongdoing.