What is the Difference Between a Will and Estate Planning

Health Care Power of Attorney  Both Wills and estate planning have the same goal: to ensure that loved ones receive the financial support they need to continue after the decedent has passed away. This support could come in the form of the family home, a car, jewelry, or even financial accounts. These essential legal documents serve a significant purpose in preventing our assets from being left in the wrong hands after we die. Dying intestate (without a will) in Arizona means your estate will be distributed according to state succession laws, which do not consider what your wishes may have been.

However, there are differences between Wills and other estate planning methods you should know about before choosing one to carry out your final directives.

The Difference Between Wills and Estate Plans

What is the Difference Between a Will and Estate PlanningA Will is a legally binding document that distributes your assets after death. But it does even more than that, you can specify guardians for other relatives that may have been dependent on your care and would have no other support network when you die. This document will let you take care of assets that don’t already have designated beneficiaries or co-owners. Wills must be kept updated regularly to reflect your current assets and wishes for distributing them. This will help you minimize or prevent financial hardships for your loved ones later.

On the other hand, estate planning is a broad term that describes the deliberate distribution of assets in a way that will create a maximum benefit for your beneficiaries. Certain types of estate distribution products can help minimize the amount of taxes paid on your assets, keep creditors from seizing significant percentages of your estate, and other benefits that a Will won’t be able to provide.

This approach to planning your estate will give you more power to address other matters that a Will typically doesn’t handle. Estate planning could include many of the following options:

  • Trusts (Living and Irrevocable)
  • Power of Attorney
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Property transfers
  • Transference of financial assets

The most significant difference is that Wills cannot guarantee that your loved ones will receive a maximized benefit from your estate assets’ proceeds. Estate planning makes it possible to use a combination of asset distribution strategies to ensure that your beneficiaries are financially protected, as well as create a smooth transfer of property.

Speak with a Qualified Arizona Estate Planning Attorney Today

Before you dismiss your need for a Will or estate plan, understand that protecting vast amounts of wealth and property is not their main purpose. Your primary motivation for creating one of these estate products is to ensure your loved ones are cared for once you die. If you own a house, business, vehicles, or bank accounts, you should take steps to determine who will be responsible for distributing these assets and who benefits from them.

Dana and Associates, LLC specializes in estate planning, Wills, and Trusts in Arizona and has multiple locations. Whether you’re new to estate planning or you want to update your current plan to avoid probate, call (480) 924-4424 today to schedule a free family legal session to make a custom estate plan for you!