Why do you need a legally executed Will?

Unless we have a valid Will, we are “intestate” and the statutory provisions for intestacy control the distribution of our property. The intestacy statute is in effect a default Will for those of us who have not already executed our own Wills. One of the problems with depending on the intestate provisions is when we want to leave property to someone to whom we are not legally related, for example a domestic partner to whom we are not married. Under the intestacy statute, that person would receive nothing of our personal property. Other important functions of even the simplest Will include provisions for appointing the person who will administer the estate, possibly without bond, for allowing us to have a “memorandum” to the Will that can give certain items to certain people, and for establishing our instructions as to the disposition of remains.

Types of Wills

Tuscon Will Preparation Wood Law FirmA simple Will is just that; it will not usually include itemized bequests or testamentary trust provisions. Rather, the simple will usually acts to distribute the deceased‚’s estate according to a straightforward fraction or formula. The simple will includes appointment of the personal representative, perhaps without bond, and may also include funeral and burial instructions. Relatively more complex wills may include testamentary trust provisions, which may be appropriate for an individual whose estate distribution requires assets to be held and administered on behalf of the devisees. Pour-over wills work with living trusts. Those who declare living “revocable” trusts usually have all their separate property that does not pass to a joint tenant or to beneficiary “pour-over” into the trust. In Arizona, as long as the pour-over will does not have to move at least $50,000 of either real estate or other kinds of separate property into the trust, the trust settlor’s estate probably will not need to go through probate. This is one of the advantages of having a living trust, and probably the most common reason people include living trusts in their estate plans. However, there are other less expensive ways to avoid probate. For that reason, Mr. Wood often advises against incurring the expense of a living trust, even for many prospective clients who come in already convinced they need one.

Benefits of a Legally Executed Will

When we pass away, if we have not legally executed a will we are “intestate” rather than “testate” and the state provides a default plan for the administration of our estates according to the intestacy statute. If our family situation and desires for the administration of our estate are relatively conventional, that may not be a problem because the default statutory scheme reflects the most common family preferences. However, families are coming in ever-increasing variety. What is conventional may not be best for your family. Some of the advantages of having a legally executed will are the following: Distribution of your estate according to your plan. Perhaps you would like your estate to be distributed in a particular way. Designation of a personal representative of your choice. Perhaps you would like your estate to be administered by a particular person. Nomination of guardians for disabled dependent persons. Perhaps you have minor children or disabled adult children for whom you want to nominate a guardian to serve after you have passed away.

Let Our Firm Help You

Tucson Estate Planning, Probate and Guardianship Attorney

At the Wood Law Firm, we are committed to providing affordable legal services including estate planning, wills, and probate to those in Tucson and the surrounding community.

We Deliver Timely and Reasonable Legal Services to Tucson and the Catalina Foothills Community

Attorney Henry Wood is a member of various Bar Associations.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Please note that the information and materials contained on this website are not, nor are they intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your specific situation.

The Firm does not guarantee that any information on this website is complete or up-to-date.  Transmission of the information contained in the Firm website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with the Firm or any of its individual attorneys.  The Firm cannot represent you until it confirms that such representation will not create a conflict of interest.  No attorney-client relationship is created with the Firm absent an express agreement between the Firm and the client.

Sending an Email will not make you a client of the Firm and information included in your Email will not be treated as privileged or confidential.  Do not send confidential information via Email unless you are a current client.

Tucson Probate & Estate Info Center

What is Probate in Arizona?


How Long Does the Probate Process Take in Arizona?


Do we need to have probate? Maybe not.


How does a family prepare for an elder's future?