Trusts

Trusts are a very important estate planning tool and are commonly used to avoid probate. A valid revocable living trust, for example, can help pass your property at your death to your intended beneficiaries without having to go through the cost and delay commonly associated with the probate process. And while you’re living, a revocable trust can allow you to maintain use and control of your trust assets.

Trusts have more benefits than simply avoiding probate. A trust can provide children or grandchildren support for education and other expenses while at the same time providing the benefit of asset protection by implementing a spend-thrift provision into the trust. The real advantage of trusts is that they allow the person who makes the trust to control the distribution of property according to her wishes, which can be done in a variety of creative ways.

If you decide a trust is right for you, there are a number of different trust forms from which to choose: irrevocable trust, revocable living trusts, charitable trusts, and so forth. The Arizona Trust Code governs trusts in Arizona. There are three required components to trust creation: a settlor, trust property, and a trustee. There can be no trust in Arizona without all three components. Furthermore, A.R.S. § 14-10402 requires that the settlor have both the capacity and intent to create a trust. Notice, therefore, that not every transfer of property will create a trust.

Additionally, there are three methods in which a trust may be created: (1) transfer of property by the settlor during his or her lifetime, by will or other disposition taking effect on the settlor’s death, to a person serving in the capacity as trustee; (2) the declaration of an owner of property that such property is held as trustee; and (3) the exercise of a power of appointment that is in favor of a trustee. See A.R.S. §14-10401. An experienced trusts and estates attorney in Arizona can help you create a valid trust under one of these methods.

Harlow Spanier & Heckele, PLLC, offers professional estate planning legal services throughout Arizona. Our attorneys provide estate planning services including, but not limited to, drafting, reviewing, or amending estate planning documents, and will work with you to help you meet your short- and long-term needs. Additionally, in the unfortunate event an estate dispute arises, our experienced litigation attorneys will similarly work with you to reach a result favorable to you. Call today for a consultation!