NewsLet Joe Know


Coronavirus prompts thoughts of wills and trusts

How to prepare yours and is it enough?
Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2021-06-26 07:59:28-04

None of us want to think about having a will.

But COVID-19 has forced us to consider what happens if we become sick.

Experts will tell you virus or not, all of us should have a basic directive about what happens when we pass.

Attorney Nora L. Jones says "we tell people if you don't make a will, the state of Arizona makes one for you."

Jones is a probate and trust litigation attorney with Tiffany and Bosco.

She says your written directive must have at least two things: a healthcare power of attorney to make decisions about your health and a financial power of attorney to make decisions about where your assets will go.

If you don't put these in place, a family member could be appointed to make your health care decisions and probate court could decide where your assets go.

Traditional wills require two in person witnesses and a notarized signature.

But Jones says a newer Arizona Electric Will statute changes things.

Now, you can prepare a will online with electronic witnesses and signatures.

And a quick online search shows them starting as low as $20.

She's concerned somebody could take advantage of another person easier if everything is done online.

Jones wants safeguards in place to make sure the document the person signs is the document they were intending to sign.

And she's concerned online wills haven't been tested yet in Arizona courts.

"Sometimes people want to disinherit a family member. There are certain tools we have that we can use that make sure that's going to stick and they don't later have a claim in order to get a part of that estate," Jones tells me.

To lower costs of preparing a will, shop around.

Some attorneys have lower costs and flat fees.

Consider using a less expensive document preparer.

And for the basics, courts do offer free online forms.

Click here for information about those forms.

Attorney Jones also advises that you share information about your estate planning and explain reasoning if there's something that may look unfair.

Surprises later can be a problem.