Elizabeth Estes – Estate Planning Attorney
The Importance of Having an Estate Plan in Place
Highlights from the interview:
Elizabeth Estes graduated from Arizona State University College of Law (now Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law) in 1998. Thereafter, she went on to private practice in a mid-sized Phoenix law firm and was a director at a large regional law firm, where she represented a wide range of clients, from individuals to large companies, in complex litigation.
Armed with the knowledge and experience gained while working in a large law firm, Elizabeth decided she wanted to tailor her own practice and provide more personalized attention so in 2012, she established Estes Law Firm, PLLC, in Ahwatukee, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Elizabeth’s practice is devoted to Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Administration as well as the related areas of Family Law, Business Law, and Real Estate Transactions. Her focus is on providing those services with empathy and an unwavering commitment to the best interests of her clients and their families.
Why is estate planning so important?
If you don’t have a plan in writing, each state has a plan for you called the intestate statutes. You may or may not like what their distribution and authorizations provide. Yet over half of Americans die without any estate documents in place. October is National Estate Planning Awareness Month to help Americans think about and plan for an inevitable part of life.
What is included in estate planning documents?
An estate plan refers to a total group of documents: a will, and sometimes a trust, as well as powers of attorney (POA) for financial and medical; Arizona also has a POA for mental health; a living will addresses end of life wishes; a HIPPA waiver allows the sharing of health care information with agents; a new document, a Dementia Directive, is also beginning to be used in some areas to specify wishes in dementia situations.
What are some common misconceptions related to estate planning?
- The importance of POA documents cannot be overstated.
- Intestate laws for those that die without documents in place.
- A Personal Property Disposition list can be compiled without notarization or an attorney but should name recipients specifically, not just say “granddaughter”, for example.
Any common mistakes that you see over and over again?
- Not having any documents in place.
- Not updating documents when a change is needed due to law or family changes.
- Not thinking through selection of the decision makers you name i.e. POA agents, successor trustee, etc.
Elizabeth can be reached at her website as well as on LinkedIn.
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