Families often think to settle an estate in Arizona is simply closing a few accounts and dispersing money and other assets according to the wishes of the deceased. While that is true, the process can take longer than a few days or weeks. Often the executor is required to have a copy of the death certificate to even begin the process of liquidating assets.

Consider the following as part of the timeline to settle an estate:

• The names and account numbers of all bank and investment accounts

• Outstanding balance of the mortgage(s) and bank(s) who holds the loan(s)

• Life insurance policies and contact information

• Business assets and liabilities if deceased was self-employed

• Primary and secondary real estate including taxes, HOA or condo fees, and other associated costs or fees

• Time to value jewelry, art, coin, and other collections

In addition, the executor has to consider any expenses that will need to be covered related to the estate while it is being liquidated as well as terms of the estate settlement. The more complicated the estate plan, the longer it will take to settle. That’s not to say you should have a simple estate plan, only that your loved ones may have to wait longer for assets to be available. You can move this process along by making your account information readily available to the executor in the event of your death.

At Stuart and Blackwell we help individuals and families decide the best estate plan for their unique situation. You may, for example, choose a trust from which assets are distributed; then the question is the details — what kind of trust, who are the beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries, who is the executor, identify the assets, and how will the assets be distributed.

While it may sound complicated now, having an estate plan will help your family settle your estate and move forward in a reasonable amount of time after your death.

For more information about estate planning and other family law matters, please make an appointment for a FREE CONSULTATION today!