Tips for Creating a Living Trust in Arizona

By Renee Gerber , last updated December 7, 2011

A living trust is an important document that determines a legal title to property. One person controls the trust and is deemed as the trustee, and the property is meant to go to a beneficiary, who does not receive ownership of it until after the owner -- in some cases, you -- passes away. In Arizona, you will need a living trust to help your family avoid the issue of probate.

Generally speaking, the state of Arizona utilizes the Uniform Probate Code to simplify probate. However, with that being said, it will still benefit your family members and any other beneficiaries you may deem as inheritants of your property after your death. You will have to start preparing your living trust by first determining who will get what. If you have children, you will likely want to leave your property to them, in most cases in an equal amount. You may also choose to deem another individual as an alternate trustee so that they can take control of the property named in the trust after you die. It is a good idea to name at least two people as alternate trustees in the event that the first one passes away as well.

Keep in mind that, when you are creating a living trust in Arizona, you will also want to draft a will as well. This will keep your assets and property safe and ensure that everything goes exactly to whom you want it to. All in all, a will protects your beneficiaries by serving as a backup plan, especially when there are items mentioned in it that are not listed in the living trust. You may end up receiving a new property while still alive and then may forget to add it to your trust, so the better option is to have it mentioned in your will. Your will can be a good backup plan in addition to the living trust and will ensure that your beneficiaries will inherit the property or assets listed therein. without a will, according to Arizona state law, any property not listed in your living trust will be distributed among your closest relatives.

When you write a living trust, you can also on occasion reduce the estate tax in Arizona. However, this all depends on the type of trust you draft, and if you create one that is a simple probate avoidance, it will have no effect on taxes. On the flip side, if you make an AB trust, which is a far more complex living trust, the taxes will be reduced.

Actually creating a living trust in Arizona is quite simple and requires you to draft out the document itself, stating who will inherit what property after you die. You will also have to name the trustee or trustees who will be in charge of the trust and sign the document in the view of a notary public. Your property will then be transferred to your name or the name of your trustee into the living trust.

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