La Crosse, WI asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Arizona

Q: My father just passed, and we just realized that our step mom is not able to take care of her self.

What documents do we need to have her sign, so we can legaly take care of her estate if she were to pass and be able to pay her bills and any other issues regarding her.

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4 Lawyer Answers
Michael Gerity
Michael Gerity
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Hello. I am sorry to hear of your loss, please accept my condolences.

The answer to your question would depend, in part, on what kind of estate planning your father had done. Your father's estate may have to go through the court process called probate in order to transfer assets to his heirs, including your step mom. Unless your father set up a trust, or had "transfer on death" designations on certain types of property, the only way that property can get transferred is through the probate process.

Once you handle your father's estate, then there are a wide variety of estate planning tools that we can use to properly arrange your step mom's estate. Those include trusts, a will, powers of attorney (three different kinds), beneficiary deeds, payable on death accounts, etc. Which ones of those are appropriate for your step mom would depend upon what kinds of assets she has (which will also depend on how your father's estate gets resolved).

There are a lot of moving parts to all of this, so I hate to give the typical attorney answer, but it really depends on a lot of factors.

Michael Gerity

Ilene L McCauley agrees with this answer

Andre Lee Pennington
Andre Lee Pennington
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Surprise, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: It sounds like there is a questions on whether she is capable of making decisions for herself. If she cannot and has not designated someone as power of attorney to act for her in the past, the court has a process called conservatorship and guardianship that you may need to go through.

If she can make decisions for herself, she can talk with an estate planning attorney and make those types of elections, among others.

Andre Lee Pennington
Andre Lee Pennington
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Surprise, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: You may want to talk to a probate/trust administration attorney concenring your father's estate. This turns on a lot of facts that you have no disclosed.

Concerning your stepmother:

It sounds like there is a questions on whether she is capable of making decisions for herself. If she cannot and has not designated someone as power of attorney to act for her in the past, the court has a process called conservatorship and guardianship that you may need to go through.

If she can make decisions for herself, she can talk with an estate planning attorney and make those types of elections, among others.

I hope that helps!

Andre Lee Pennington
Andre Lee Pennington
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Surprise, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: You may want to talk to a probate/trust administration attorney concerning your father's estate. This turns on a lot of facts that you have no disclosed.

Concerning your stepmother:

It sounds like there is a questions on whether she is capable of making decisions for herself. If she cannot and has not designated someone as power of attorney to act for her in the past, the court has a process called conservatorship and guardianship that you may need to go through.

If she can make decisions for herself, she can talk with an estate planning attorney and make those types of elections, among others.

I hope that helps!

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