How can I avoid probate?
Under the new law, the Beneficiary Deed is a simple solution to the probate problem. The deed names a beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive the real property upon the death of the title holder (or the survivor of the title holder, if joint tenants). The beneficiary acquires no interest in the property until your death and you can change or revoke the selection of a beneficiary during your life with another deed. After you die, the beneficiary files a simple form and an original death certificate with the County Recorder and the property automatically transfers to the recipient. Under Arizona law, real property titled solely in the name of a decedent valued more than $75,000 must go through probate. Oftentimes, married couples intend to avoid probate by holding assets as joint tenants with right of survivorship or in community property with right of survivorship. However, these forms of ownership don't avoid probate after the second spouse dies.
If I have Pay on Death (P.O.D.) accounts, beneficiary designations on my IRAs, and a Beneficiary Deed on my home, do I still need a Will?
Even if you're sure that you've covered all of your current assets, you still need a will -- or even a trust -- to ensure all your assets (which may change form or interest) will be distributed as you want. In addition, everyone needs estate planning documents such as medical powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney, and living wills. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in determining what types of documents are best for you.