For residents of Tucson and the nearby areas of Arizona, estate planning might not have been foremost on their minds prior to the current health situation. With other issues coming to the forefront and the speed at which a person’s life can be turned upside down, wills and other estate planning devices have taken on a greater relevance. When considering a will, there are important points to remember. As with any legal document, professional assistance is advisable.

There are many reasons to create a will and they go beyond a medical concern that is gripping the nation. A person’s property can be addressed in a will. That includes bank accounts, real estate, collectibles, items of sentimental value, vehicles and more. Those who do not have a will must consider its utility. When a person dies without a will (intestate), the property will automatically pass to the heirs. This can sow confusion and be the catalyst for dispute. The state makes the determination independent of what the person – the testator – might have wanted if there was a will. The will says where the property goes.

Even if there is a will, it is wise to understand properties that are not included. A life insurance policy is one example. This will have a designated beneficiary and even if the will says something different, the policy takes precedence. Factoring this in is critical for those who have a will. There are many ways to create a will. The will must also name an executor who will take the necessary steps such as paying off debts, liquidating accounts, selling property and distributing the assets. For many, a will is insufficient for the person’s situation and a trust can be preferable.

Some might want to create a will as simply as possible and consider using online resources. While that might seem simple, it can leave great room for confusion and mistakes. People with complex concerns such as young children who might need a guardianship, have had more than one marriage, have children with different parents, own a business and multiple properties likely need personalized service. There are reasons why a person might ignore a will including fear about the inevitable future, thinking there is time to get it done and it is not urgent, worries about cost, and not realizing the need to update an existing will. These are often mistakes. To grasp the vital nature of a will and other estate planning documents, consulting with an experienced legal professional may be helpful.