​​​​​​​                 Telephone 520 792-2450        Facsimile 520 882-4408     2720 E Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85716       John@JStandifer.com

John J. Standifer Jr.   Attorney at Law

Common sense, results-driven legal counsel

What Should Your Estate Plan Look Like?

Estate plans can be simple or complex

.Estate plans can be designed to distribute huge fortunes, provide for care of children, protect assets, or even just to handle personal health directives.  The important thing to remember is that every person needs an estate plan that meets their own personal needs.


Most estate plans include a will

Most estate plans begin with a will, but a well thought out estate plan may also include other legal documents to make it work right for your situation.  An experienced attorney can help you decide which pieces should be in your own estate plan.

Tucson attorney John Standifer offers this list of items to consider for your estate plan:

•    Instructions for distribution of your assets to family or other beneficiaries – usually handled through your will.

•    A list of personal property that you wish to pass to specific individuals.  These items can be significant or merely sentimental.  They may include items like jewelry, grandpa’s favorite fishing pole, a special quilt or the family bible. 

•    The name of the person you wish to be your personal representative (executor) of your estate.  The personal representative pays final expenses and taxes and distributes any remaining assets according to your wishes.  Authority to act as personal representative is typically provided through a will.

•    The name of the guardian you have selected to care for any minor children.  Authority to act as guardian will also be provided in your will.

•    The name of the person or entity you want to take care of financial affairs for you if you are disabled or unable to make your own decisions.  That person is named through a Durable Power of Attorney that gives another person the power to act on your behalf, including the power to sell, invest and spend your assets, if you desire. 

•    Living Will.  Your wishes regarding use of measures to prolong or sustain life in the event of terminal illness are in a document called a living will and lays out what you want to happen but does not authorize anyone to speak for you.  You may also want to write a letter to your spouse or family regarding your wishes should you need to be removed from life support. A personal letter included in the estate plan helps your family understand that this is your personal wish and can help them make difficult decisions more easily. 

•    Dealing with any tax issues.  This is particularly important if you have retirement assets such as IRAs, etc.

•    The name of the person you will trust to make health and medical decisions for you if you are unable to take care of yourself. That person will be named in a Healthcare Power of Attorney and will have the legal responsibility to carry out your wishes as listed in the living will.

•    Whether you wish to make your organs or tissue available for use after your death.

•    You may choose to manage and administer your affairs through a revocable living trust.  When you transfer assets into a properly set up revocable living trust, you manage your financial affairs during your lifetime and the trust specifies management if you become incapacitated. A revocable living trust lets trust assets avoid probate, keeps personal information private, and can designate the disposition of trust assets to future generations. Marital trusts, charitable trusts, generation-skipping trusts, bypass trusts, testamentary trusts, qualified terminable interest property trusts are all trusts that can be used for specific purpose.  Get an attorney involved to set up your trust properly.

See more about Estate Planning here

John Standifer, Attorney at Law, has been helping Tucson clients with tax and estate issues for more than 30 years.  

Contact John  at 520 792-2450 or by email at John@JStandifer.com.