Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Arizona

I currently do not have a will. I am engaged to be married in 6 months. I am 51 years old. I have investments and real property totaling approximately 1 million dollars. My fiancÚ does not have a will and has estimated investments worth 500K. I was considering doing separate trusts before our marriage to individually protect our assets. Someone told me to do a prenup then do a joint trust after the marriage. Which one would protect me more? I live in a community property state. Thank you!

Asked on 9/16/14, 2:23 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Leslie Spira Leslie Spira Attorney At Law

I would set up the trusts in advance that way you can avoid the prenup. If you keep your property separate in Arizona it does not become community property. If you want to leave no stone unturned you could do both, however the trust would suffice.

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Answered on 9/16/14, 2:27 pm
Donald Scher Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.

You are asking very important questions and it is timely to take action now. I recommend that you have a pre-nuptial agreement with your fiancÚ, it will be worth its weight in gold if there is a breakdown in the marriage and may well serve to help restore the marital relationship by taking money issues out of any dispute. You have 50 years ahead of you and many unforeseen things can happen within your family or outside of the family. This is essential if you each plan to maintain the separate property you now have before marriage.

A trust is not for asset protection, if you can get your hands on the trust assets, then so can your creditors. The trust is to protect your assets, in the case of accident, illness or disability that requires that someone step and make decisions for you, collect your income, pay your bills, buy/sell investments, etc.. You could have separate trusts if you plan to keep everything separate (which you can do in a community property state) and could have a joint trust for those assets jointly owned or considered to be community property.

You have not said what kind of protection you are looking for, and thus, I recommend that you consult with an experienced attorney to learn your options and various strategies that you could follow to achieve your goals.

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Answered on 9/16/14, 5:05 pm

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